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The Life and Loves of Barbara Stanwyck [Hardcover]

Jane Ellen Wayne
3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)

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Book Description

16 April 2009
Barbara Stanwyck swore like a sailor, chain smoked and was an alcoholic. And yet, she was one of Hollywood's biggest stars, indeed, number eleven on the American Film Institute's 100 Years of Greatest Screen Legends, and appeared in classic films such as Double Indemnity and Meet John Doe. In this fascinating biography, we follow the orphan who, by sheer determination, became a dancer in Hollywood and began her rise to the top. She auditioned for Frank Capra who called her a 'porcupine' and had an affair with her but after, made her a star. Barbara's first marriage was to comic Frank Fay, they adopted a son whom she later abandoned in the most extraordinary way. Her second husband was Robert Taylor, to whom she vowed revenge after their break-up for his affairs with Lana Turner and Ava Gardner. Until the day she died, she collected 15 per cent of his substantial earnings. Yet on her own deathbed, she swore he was by her bedside waiting for her. Full of tragedy, ambition, success and jealousy, Hollywood stars and stories that include new revelations of affairs with both leading actors and actresses, as well as details of her films, this is a must for Barbara fans and film fans alike. Jane Ellen Wayne, who was employed by The National Broadcasting Company for fifteen years, is the author of numerous biographies of Hollywood stars that include Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. Her most recent are The Golden Girls of MGM and The Golden Guys of MGM. She is listed in Who's Who of Women in the World and Contemporary Authors. Ms. Wayne resides in New York City.


Product details

  • Hardcover: 256 pages
  • Publisher: JR Books Ltd (16 April 2009)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 1906217947
  • ISBN-13: 978-1906217945
  • Product Dimensions: 16.7 x 24.2 cm
  • Average Customer Review: 3.2 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (4 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: 173,170 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Product Description

About the Author

Jane Ellen Wayne, who was employed by The National Broadcasting Company for fifteen years, is the author of numerous biographies of Hollywood stars that include Robert Taylor, Lana Turner, Clark Gable, Ava Gardner, Grace Kelly, Joan Crawford and Marilyn Monroe. Her most recent are The Golden Girls of MGM and The Golden Guys of MGM. She is listed in Who's Who of Women in the World and Contemporary Authors. Ms. Wayne resides in New York City.

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Front Cover | Copyright | Table of Contents | Excerpt | Index | Back Cover
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Customer Reviews

Most Helpful Customer Reviews
9 of 10 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Enjoyable read,but lacking real substance.... 24 Jun 2010
By Mark
Format:Hardcover
I enjoyed reading this book about the very wonderful Barbara Stanwyck...It has an easy style and contains a great deal of useful information about her movies...it simply tells a story,without resorting to the use of scandalous gossip or hearsay.
But as much as I found it believable,I also sadly found it somewhat slight,lacking in real substance and not very in-depth concerning her personal life,never really managing to become the total sum of all its parts...Despite this,it is interesting enough stuff to hold the readers attention for the short time it takes to read it...but ultimately it left me wanting more than it has to offer...it still makes a good worthwhile bedtime read nonetheless.
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2 of 2 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars Style but no substance 22 May 2013
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I like Barbara Stanwyck. Charlton Heston did too, so I'm in good company. He called her 'a good ol' broad'. This book implies she was - a woman confident in herself, lacking some social graces, but ultimately in charge of her destiny.

Despite some incredible highs, there were of course some downs but these appeared not to jade her. Her work was her life and she lived to work. This book, although generalist at best and reliant heavily on 'quotes from the day', shows a woman who wanted success, got it and held on to it for decades.

The early years were interesting and I enjoyed some of the commentary over her movies but the book falls over when trying to define her relationship with her 'one true love' Robert Taylor. There just isn't enough detail or substance to actually make the relationship feel the passion that it was. Also, there is a distinct lack of reference to her aging, her friends and general view of life (except work, work, work).

I enjoyed some of the later stories, relating specifically to her time on The Thorn Birds and The Colby's, during which the tall-tales give an impression of her humour and dedication to her craft. Ultimately though the book completely lacks the substance of a proper biography. In saying that though, if all you want is a 'top level' look at one of the Queen's of Cinema, then this bio will probably fulfill your needs nicely.
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10 of 12 people found the following review helpful
5.0 out of 5 stars Barbara the Evergreen 8 Mar 2010
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I wanted to read a good biography of Ms.Barbara Stanwyck after watching some twenty films of her. I liked this biography because it is free from aggressive gossip,gives a balanced overview of Ms. Stanwyck's life and loves. The book reads very easily. Once I started reading,it was difficult to put down. The book also gives extensive filmography of Ms.Stanwyck's very long film career. I would strongly recommend this book to anyone who wants to know more about her,especially after watching her evergreen films like Double Indemnity,The Lady Eve,Golden Boy,just to name a few.
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1.0 out of 5 stars Brief... very, very brief! 20 July 2012
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
This is not a great biography by any stretch of the imagination. It pulls in at barely 200 pages which would not be worthy of comment if those pages were full of information and detail, but they aren't. This book crashes through the great Ms Stanwyck's life and career at an alarming rate of knots and spits you out the other side with the barest skeleton of her story.

This book merely served to whet my appetite for the main course that is 'Stanwyck' by Axel Madsen. I bought it straight after finishing this book and to say it is a far superior biography is a huge understatement.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on Amazon.com (beta)
Amazon.com: 2.6 out of 5 stars  5 reviews
19 of 21 people found the following review helpful
1.0 out of 5 stars Jane Ellen Wayne is a Hack!! 7 April 2009
By a viewer - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
Why would anyone want anything by this hack writer who is obssessed with Robert Taylor?? She wrote a book on Stanwyck back in the 1980s and it was schlock, full of errors and obviously meant to degrade and besmirch Stanwyck's name. Jane Ellen Wayne has no shame and if she can dare ask how one can review a book one hasn't read, well, the answer to that is: Just read ANY book by this hack and you will know how one can review a book without having read it. She gets all her sources from the tabloids, she doesn't have any primary sources to back up her ridiculous tabloid style of writing. Avoid anything by this woman at all costs. The GREAT BARBARA STANWYCK deserves better than anything by this evil, demented woman. The definitive STANWYCK biography has yet to be written and when and if it is written, it will NOT be Jane Ellen Wayne who wrote it!!
4 of 4 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Not an objective read 7 Mar 2013
By toby - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I enjoyed the book (sometimes). I always thought a biographer/author were to be unbiased and objective. This author provided snippy comments and opinions as to Miss Stanwyck's behavior or actions. Author's comments almost sounded like she was personally involved and offended at times. Am not likely to purchase other books author has written.
9 of 13 people found the following review helpful
4.0 out of 5 stars Interesting But Not Comprehensive 13 Aug 2010
By Crabigail Cassidy - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I've read a couple of books on Barbara Stanwyk many years ago, so the basics based on my recollections seem consistent with the information this book supplies. That said, there were a few revelations in this account of Stanwyck's life pertaining to her first husband Frank Fay, her adopted son Dion Anthony Fay, and second husband Robert Taylor. Additionally, author Wayne attempts to debunk the myth that Robert Taylor was gay or had gay tendencies. Wayne also tends to approach the subject of Stanwyk's long alluded to lebian tendencies as inconclusive.
So why read this book/why did I like it? I thought it gave a pretty good rundown of Stanwyk's personal background, her career, and her personality. If you haven't read anything about Stanwyk before it's interesting and informative and provides some revelations. She was in many ways an uber-private person and quite an enigma as an actress who never had an acting lesson, wasn't particularly beautiful based on common perceptions of beauty, and was largely uneducated. This book is an essential primer for Stanwyk fans twenty years after her death.
1.0 out of 5 stars no no no no no 23 May 2014
By hannah artherhults - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover
I implore you, DO NOT waste time and money on this garbage. It's full of crap and is NOT what Barbara deserves!!!
If you're looking for a great bio, PLEASE instead pick up "Steel True, Vol. 1"!!!!!!!!!!
1 of 4 people found the following review helpful
3.0 out of 5 stars another mommie dearest 3 Jan 2012
By Linda K. Walker - Published on Amazon.com
Format:Hardcover|Verified Purchase
I have always admired Barbara Stanwyck's work in the movies though I was not a fan of the Big Valley. The book gives a good synopsis of her movies in cronological order while telling the story of her life. What I was surprised about was what a truely terrible mother she was. She did not abuse her adopted son, she just abandonded him at boarding schools and had no emothinal connection to him at all. Stella Dallas really was some great acting. Good photos.
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