Today (20th January) marks the 30th anniversary of the death of Barbara Stanwyck. And I wanted to commemorate the occasion by sharing one of my all time favourite clips of her work – a tough call but it is a seriously beautiful, truthful and layered scene. Watch out for the eyes and for how she doesn’t try to control her voice near the end, but lets the gulping moment happen then reigns herself in. Utter mastery 😍 Shot in one take, it left the entire crew applauding at the end.

If you don’t know her work, I practically guarantee you have actually seen her in something. She was an oscar nominated actress working from 1929 to 1986 in movies, radio and television. You’re probably likely to have seen her luminously dark Phyllis in quintessential film noir ‘Double Indemnity’; or perhaps the film that is said to have been so risqué it lead to introduction of movie censorship in the Hayes Code ‘Baby Face’; maybe it’s the heart wrenching ‘Stella Dallas’; or sparring with Henry Fonda in the sassy RomCom ‘The Lady Eve’; or as the pioneering matriarch in the classic TV western series ‘The Big Valley’ (and yes she did all her own stunts); your introduction to her may even have been the 1980s smash hit ‘The Thorn Birds’. And if you still don’t think you’ve seen her, what are you waiting for? Go watch something great.

From The Writer’s Almanac for today, 8th December.   It was on this day in 1660 that a female actress appeared on stage in the role of Desdemona in Othello, probably the first appearance by a professional actress in England. For many years, the parts of women were played by boys or men. The British […]

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