Barbara Stanwyck (July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American actress. A film and television star, known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional with a strong screen presence, and a favorite of directors including Cecil B. DeMille, Fritz Lang and Frank Capra. After a short but notable career as a stage actress in the late 1920s, she made 85 films in 38 years in Hollywood, before turning to television.
Stanwyck was nominated for the Academy Award four times, and won three Emmy Awards and a Golden Globe. She was the recipient of honorary lifetime awards from the Motion Picture Academy, the Film Society of Lincoln Center, the Golden Globes, the Los Angeles Film Critics Association, and the Screen Actors Guild, has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and is ranked as the eleventh greatest female star of all time by the American Film Institute.
Barbara Stanwyck was born Ruby Catherine Stevens in Brooklyn, New York on July 16, 1907. She was the fifth and youngest child of Byron and Catherine (née McGee) Stevens; the couple were working-class natives of Chelsea, Massachusetts, of English and Irish extraction, respectively. When Ruby was four, her mother was killed when a drunken stranger pushed her off a moving streetcar. Two weeks after the funeral, Byron Stevens joined a work crew digging the Panama canal; and was never seen again. Ruby and her brother Byron were raised by their elder sister Mildred, five years Ruby's senior. When Mildred got a job as a John Cort showgirl, Ruby and Byron were placed in a series of foster homes (as many as four in a year), from which Ruby often ran away. Ruby attended various public schools in Brooklyn, where she received uniformly poor grades and routinely picked fights with the other students.