Barbara Stanwyck: July 16, 1907
I had just purchased a paperback biography of her from one of the many street book vendors in Bombay and was reading it in my hotel room — with the TV on, of course — when I got to the section about her career in Westerns. I laughed out loud when I read the name of the theme song from Forty Guns, "High Ridin' Woman with a Whip," when what did I hear clip-clopping euphoniously from the television...? Yes! The very same "High Ridin' Woman with a Whip" and the film Forty Guns. A cold chill ran from my left big toe up through my right eyeball. From that day forward, I felt a special connection to Barbara Stanwyck. Too bad neither the film nor the book was very good.
Born on this day in Brooklyn in 1907, Ruby Catherine Stevens would eventually become everyone's favorite actress to work with — from the crew on up. A swell collection of photos and a fine homage can be found on the fansite, Barbara Stanwyck — The Queen, a nice break from Wikipedia.
Some of my favorite films of hers:
** Baby Face (1933). Girl from the wretched side of the tracks sleeps her way to the top of a very tall building.
** Stella Dallas (1937). If you don't cry at this movie, you're dead inside.
** Remember the Night (1940) and Ball of Fire (1941). They're pretty much the same movie, but both are very good.
** Clash by Night (1952). Source of my favorite line: "You want my life story, Joe, I'll give to you in four words: Big ideas. Small results."
And I guess Double Indemnity (1944), but only the way Steve Hayes tells it:
Ginger Rogers: July 16, 1911
For my money, you can't beat her in:
** 42nd Street (1933). I love this picture. It's silly and she's hilarious.
** Stage Door (1937). Such a good movie, it should have been made in 1939.
** Vivacious Lady (1938). And may I just say, oh my god, the chemistry between her and Jimmy Stewart is fantastic. You have to know how I feel about Jimmy Stewart to appreciate what that means.
Sorry, I didn't care for Kitty Foyle, but it was nice she got an Oscar. Read the book; it's much better.
Happy Birthday, Virginia Katherine McMath. You'll always be four years younger than Barbara Stanwyck and she never got an Oscar for acting — which is a SCANDAL, but not your fault.
Here she is on "What's My Line?" for the second of six appearances.