Tags: Hollywood | barbara stanwyck on TV | star power | big screen

Barbara Stanwyck on TV: How Her Star Power Went Beyond the Big Screen

By    |   Wednesday, 13 May 2015 11:13 AM

Although Barbara Stanwyck got her start on the silver screen and appeared in more than 80 movies over her lifetime, it was on television that the actress won awards, collecting both Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe awards in three different TV programs.

Born as Ruby Stevens on July 16, 1907, Stanwyck (who changed her name after becoming an actress) was orphaned at just 4-years-old after her mother was pushed off a moving streetcar and killed. Her father abandoned her and her four siblings after her mother's death.

Despite a troubled childhood, Stanwyck managed to make her way into the entertainment industry first as a Broadway chorus girl, and then in the late-1920s as an actress transitioning into the movie business. Her first film was "Broadway Nights" in 1927 and she continued at a fast pace for the next quarter century.

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Stanwyck did not begin acting on television until much later in her career. She made her first TV appearance on the Jack Benny Program in 1952 and as the decades progressed, began to appear in more television shows than movies.

During the late 1950s and early 1960s, she began appearing steadily on the small screen working on series like "Goodyear Theater," "Zane Grey Theater," and hosting "The Barbara Stanwyck Show" in 1960 and 1961, for which she won a Primetime Emmy Award.

Her most important TV actress role of the '60s, however, playing the lead role of Victoria Barkley in the show "Big Valley" (1965 to 1969), for which she was nominated three times for a Golden Globe without winning, but taking home a Primetime Emmy Award in 1966.

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It was during the last decade of her life, however, that Stanwyck, who died in 1990, did her most famous television work when she played the strong-willed grandmother in the miniseries adaption of the popular Australian novel "The Thorn Birds" in 1983.

Co-starring with Richard Chamberlain and Rachel Ward, she won both Golden Globe and Emmy awards for this role. During the same decade the actress also had a role on the hit TV show "Dynasty" and its popular spin-off "The Colby's."

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Although Barbara Stanwyck got her start on the silver screen and appeared in more than 80 movies over her lifetime, it was on television that the actress won awards, collecting both Primetime Emmy and Golden Globe awards in three different TV programs.
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