Barbara Stanwyck, one of the most versatile, and perhaps influential, actresses of the past century. Born Ruby Catherine Stevens here in Brooklyn, she attended Erasmus Hall High School, and worked for a time at the telephone company before entering showbiz as a chorus girl in 1924. Four years later she went to Hollywood and began a career that lasted for nearly six decades. The film role for which she is perhaps best remembered is that of the villainous Phyllis Dietrichson, playing opposite Fred MacMurray in Double Indemnity:
In the 1960s she played Victoria, matriarch of the Barkley clan in the TV western The Big Valley, and twenty years later was Constance "Conny" Colby Patterson in The Colbys. Over the course of her movie career, she was nominated for four Oscars, but never won. She received an honorary Academy Award for "superlative creativity and unique contribution to the art of screen acting" in 1982. She died in 1990.