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Ruby Stevens was born on July 16,1907 in Brooklyn, New York. At the age of sixteen, she went to work for the local telephone company for fourteen dollars a week. Her dream was to be in show business. On her days off, she tried out for dancing jobs. A year later, she was hired as a chorus girl at forty dollars a week. From there, she danced in nightclubs and touring dancing troupes before she was cast as a cabaret dancer in the Broadway play "The Noose" in 1926. Ruby Stevens changed her name to Barbara Stanwyck when she saw a theatric poster that read: "Jane Stanwyck in 'Barbara Freitchie'"

In 1927, she established herself as a professional actress in her first film "Burlesque", where she played the leading lady. This film launched her career and because she was a versatile actress, she was cast in both comedic and dramatic roles.

In 1928, she was married to Frank Fay and the couple divorced in 1935. Four years later, she married actor Robert Taylor and their marriage lasted until 1951.

In 1944, Miss Stanwyck listed her as the nation's highest- paid woman, earning $400,000.

In 1965, Miss Stanwyck started playing roles for television. She was cast as the family matriarch in the television series "The Big Valley" which also starred Lee Majors and Linda Evans. She also played in "Dynasty" and her television career lasted until 1986.

In 1983, she played in the mini series "The Thorn Birds" which also starred Richard Chamberlain.

Although Miss Stanwyck was nominated for awards for her outstanding roles, she never won while she was alive. After her death, she did receive an honorary Academy Award for the contributions she made in the acting profession. She made over ninety-three movies in her acting career.

She was very easy to work with on the set and never let her success affect her demeanor or attitude.

Miss Stanwyck died from congestive heart failure on January 20, 1990 in Santa Monica, California.