Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard is one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures.
She is remembered for her performances in some of the classic films of the 1930s and 1940s, such as Double Indemnity, The Lady Eve, and The Bitter Tea Of General Yen. She was also well-known for her roles in later decades, such as her Emmy winning performance in the TV show The Colbys.
In this article, we will take a comprehensive look at the life and career of Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard. We will delve into her early years in New York City, her rise to success in Hollywood, and her work up until her death in 1995. We will also explore what made her a star, from her unmatched acting talent to her fierce spirit and incredible drive.
Finally, we will discuss how she has been remembered by those who knew and worked with her, as well as those who continue to enjoy her performances today.
Film Career Overview
Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard is a legendary figure in Hollywood. With her vivacious spirit and winning smile, she has captivated audiences throughout the world. While Stanwyck is best known for her acting career, she was also an accomplished producer, director, and screenwriter.
Her film career began in 1926 with the silent film “Broadway Nights”. She quickly moved up the ranks to featured roles in many of Hollywood’s biggest productions, including “Night Nurse” (1931), “The Bitter Tea of General Yen” (1933), and “Double Indemnity” (1944). In 1941, she was nominated for an Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role for her performance in “Ball of Fire”.
By the 1950s, Stanwyck had become one of Hollywood’s most successful actresses. She worked alongside many of stardom’s brightest stars including Humphrey Bogart, Errol Flynn and Fredric March. Her films during this time include Academy Award-winning classics such as “Executive Suite” (1954) and “The Happiest Millionaire” (1967).
Stanwyck won four Emmy awards for her television roles and received an Honorary Academy Award for her prolific career in 1982. Until her death at the age of 82 in 1990 she continued to delight audiences with over 90 films and countless other TV appearances. Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard remains one of Hollywood’s most iconic figures whose legacy still lives on today.
Signature Roles and Awards
The legendary Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard has left an indelible mark on Hollywood with her award-winning performances throughout the years. She is best known for her role as Violet Smith in the classic film Double Indemnity, and went on to star in many other critically acclaimed films such as The Lady Eve, The File on Thelma Jordon, and Imitation of Life.
Her powerful presence as an actress won her various awards, among them four Academy Award nominations, with one win for best actress in a leading role for 1941’s Ball of Fire. She also won three Emmy awards, two Golden Globes, one New York Film Critics Circle Award and the first-ever Lifetime Achievement Award from the American Comedy Awards.
Although Barbara is primarily remembered for her acting prowess, she was also a star filmmaker, having co-produced the Academy Award winning film Gentleman’s Agreement and producing two other feature films. Her influence crossed multiple platforms and generations cementing her legacy in Hollywood as one of its most respected icons.
Personal Life and Family
Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard was married three times in her life, and is the mother of two children.
Stanwyck’s first marriage was to Frank Fay, an Irish-American actor. The two were married for 12 years, during which Stanwyck had her first child, Dion Anthony Fay. Stanwyck and Fay divorced in 1935.
Stanwyck’s second marriage was to actor Robert Taylor. They were married from 1939 until 1951 and had one child, a son named Christopher (a.k.a., “Bob”), who later became a physician. They divorced in 1951 due to Taylor’s alleged affair with fellow actress Lana Turner.
In 1953, Stanwyck married oil geologist and aviator Bill Gilyard Jr., whom she stayed with until her death in 1990 at the age of 82. She did not have any additional children with Gilyard, though she continued to remain close with both Dion and Bob until the end of her life.
Legacy on Screen and Stage
Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard will forever be remembered as one of Hollywood’s greatest icons. During her career, she starred in over 70 films, 25 television shows and a handful of Broadway productions.
Her most iconic roles include starring in the 1938 melodrama “Stella Dallas”, the 1940 western “The Westerner”, the 1945 noir “Sorry, Wrong Number” and the 1941 drama “The Lady Eve”. She also won an Emmy for her role as Victoria Barkley for the 1960s western series “The Big Valley”.
Stanwyck was a trailblazer for her time – not only was she one of the first women to play a starring role in big-budget Hollywood flicks, but she also commanded exceptional pay at a time when this was unheard of. She made history as the first woman to accept a nomination for a Best Actor Oscar – although she did not win – and became one of only two women to ever receive four consecutive Best Actress Oscar nominations (the other is Bette Davis).
Throughout her remarkable career, Stanwyck received several awards honoring her accomplishments and contributions to film, theater and television. She won two Golden Globes, an AFI Life Achievement Award and an honorary Academy Award. In 2004, nearly 30 years after her death, Hollywood memorialized Stanwyck with a posthumous star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Philanthropy and Charity Work
The late Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard had a lifelong commitment to philanthropic causes—something that was close to her heart and which she often expressed through her charity work.
In 1946, just six years after moving to Los Angeles, Stanwyck became the first actress to be named “Woman of the Year” by The Hollywood Citizen-News. She used her time in this role to push for an increase in philanthropic giving, particularly in regards to the support of children’s charities.
Throughout the years, Barbara Stanwyck Gilyard was involved with a number of different charities and organizations including:
- The United Way
- The California Youth Authority
- The Elizabeth Glaser Pediatric AIDS Foundation
- The William Wyler Children’s Hospital at Harbor-UCLA Medical Center
- The Juvenile Diabetes Foundation
- The Cerebal Palsy Foundation
- And many more
In addition to donations and financial support for these causes, Stanwyck also donated her time, appearing at events such as charity dinners and even performing on stage with local theater companies for fundraising performances of familiar plays like Arsenic and Old Lace—clearly demonstrating her strong commitment towards giving back to society throughout the course of her life and career.