One hundred years ago today, Barbara Stanwyck was born. While her professional life flowed with vigor and success, she was also a fighter, who overcame a heck of a lot to get to the top and stay there. Stanwyck lost her mother at two, was abandoned by her father at four and spent the rest of her childhood in various foster homes and with an older sister. She began working at the fresh age of 13, and it would be six years before she discovered acting. While a number of hardships continued to befall Stanwyck, from marital issues to a run-in with a robber, the success she found on the silver screen continues to impact, even 17 years after her death.

Funnily enough, I first discovered Stanwyck because of Grease 2 -- Maxwell Caulfield had piqued my interest, so I would slip my young butt down in front of the television and watch The Colbys -- Stanwyck's last work. Lucky for me, what introduced me to the actress was nowhere near the caliber of what she accomplished. Her work was known for its range, and she managed to nab four Oscar nominations for her performances in Stella Dallas, Ball of Fire, Double Indemnity and Sorry, Wrong Number. Yet it wasn't until 1982 that she got a statue for herself, under the mouthful: "for superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting." But we've also seen her board the doomed Titanic, flash pistols as sharp-shooter Annie Oakley and even wear Boots when the whim overtook her.

As Anne Thompson outlines in her blog, everyone seems to be taken right now with her memory, from Anthony Lane at the New yorker, to Kenneth Turan at the L.A. Times. But beyond the written word, the actress is also being remembered on Turner Classic Movies today, and according to Thompson: "the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts & Sciences has mounted its largest-ever exhibition dedicated to one star, featuring more than 70 posters and lobby cards from Stanwyck's pics." In a world where Monroe and Dean have become epic figures beyond their body of work, its nice to see some solid praise for long-lasting, classic talent.
categories Movies, Cinematical