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3.62  ·  Rating details ·  138 Ratings  ·  9 Reviews
In this fascinating portrait, Madsen reveals the complex, lonely woman behind Barbara Stanwyck's iron facade. He examines her Dickensian childhood, her violent first marriage, her painful estrangement from her son, and the troubled sexual dynamics of her marriage to Robert Taylor.
Hardcover, 434 pages
Published December 1st 1994 by HarperCollins Publishers (first published May 1994)
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Brent Calderwood
Mar 29, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: gay, art, hollywood
This is by far the most rigorously researched and unsalacious biography on Barbara Stanwyck. The few pulpy ones published during her lifetime avoid the dish about her lesbian leanings, and the ones that focus on her films have been poorly produced and/or written. Very sad, for one of the greatest actresses Hollywood has ever known. As Madsen remarks in his introduction (possibly the best chapter in the book, along with the first chapter about her childhood), Stanwyck was a trooper and a dogged w ...more
Dec 31, 2012 rated it liked it
Shelves: biography
Well, where to start? There about as many good things about this book as there are bad things. I have always enjoyed Barbara Stanwyck's acting and lately have been watching more and more of her films. I am a film bio fanatic so of course I wanted to add one about Ms. Stanwyck to my list. I received a ton of giftcards for my nook for Xmas so I purchased this book at a bargain price from Barnes and Noble. It's recent enough to be accurate and well researched and old enough to be cheap. I had a har ...more
May 19, 2013 rated it really liked it

Recommended for fans of this versatile actress or for those like me who can't get enough of the stories about the old studio system and Hollywood's golden era. This is a wide-ranging book that showcases the many producers, directors, co-stars, and Hollywood married friends (the Bennys the Macmurrays) that came to influence Stanwyck, usually at just the right time in her career. She was in just a ton of films in the thirties, mostly because she always wanted to work (regardless the quality of the
Jul 21, 2014 rated it really liked it
Stanwyck was not my favorite actress but she sure made a lot of really good movies. From Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve and Sorry Wrong Number, to things like Stella Dallas and A Night to Remember, she was a very very good actress. She played the villainess in a number of films but she did it well. I found her marriage to Robert Taylor to be a sad, frustrating affair but it in no way diminishes her life.
Mark Desrosiers
Sep 01, 2007 rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: cinerama
I was pretty bored with this one, which can't possibly be because Barbara Stanwyck herself was boring. Dull and thorough (and "objective" -- nothing worse than "objective") biographers are a dime a dozen.

I was fascinated to learn, though, that Barbara's sexual orientation was successfully kept under wraps for so many years because her lover was also her publicist!
Jul 22, 2010 rated it it was ok
Biography ok, not great. Hard to follow because it jumped around and repeated a lot. I liked that author was looking for facts to move her life forward, not dwelling on gossip and speculation, just showing them as a part of subject's total makeup while trying to report the facts.
Jan 02, 2015 rated it liked it
it was good for the most part... very long and had mini bios on everyone she ever knew. very little insight on who she was. it was informative of her movies
Annie Booker
May 03, 2014 rated it really liked it
I was hoping for a little more about her Big Valley days but despite that it was a very good insight into one of my favorite actresses.
Matt Merkl
Apr 30, 2014 rated it really liked it
Very interesting. Reads like a history of Hollywood.
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