‘Unlike her contemporaries Katharine Hepburn and Bette Davis, Barbara Stanwyck never mythologized her own life. She never wrote a memoir and she was as reclusive as she could manage, even in the era of television talk shows in the latter part of her career. Over the course of fifty-six years in the public eye, however, she did drop a trail of tidbits to feed the publicity machine, and Dan Callahan is not the first to feed from them. This is the fourth biography of the star, and while it may be the most “heartfelt,” it is far from the most factual. Stanwyck was in the spotlight from 1927 to 1983, a spotlight she arguably attracted, in an industry to which she arguably contributed a great deal. Callahan nevertheless prefers a story of survival, and he finds this story mapped onto her many Hollywood roles in this critical biography that views her life through the prism of her films. “In her case,” he says, “she and her work are the same thing,” and his book is a curious conflation of Stanwyck’s personality with the many melodrama ensconced characters she played.’
Excerpt from Review of ‘The Miracle Woman.’
I am currently conducting research for a project on Barbara Stanwyck and her films.