An Interview with Victoria Wilson, Author of A LIFE OF BARBARA STANWYCK: STEEL-TRUE (1907-1940)

I am very excited about this upcoming biography of my favorite actress. I’m glad someone finally took the time to write a more factual biography of Stanwyck’s life than has been written previously. The extreme fondness the author has for Tony Fay has me a bit concerned, though. I hope her fondness doesn’t cloud her judgement and her portrayal of the facts.


By Lara Gabrielle Fowler

The life of Barbara Stanwyck has fascinated film lovers for decades. Her particular combination of sex appeal, toughness, and grit makes for an intriguing character and was doubtless informed by a private life about which she was extremely reticent. This, along with innate intelligence and a seemingly natural instinct for acting, has made her one of the most enigmatic personalities of classic Hollywood.

Though it seems impossible to fathom, there has never been a major biography of Barbara Stanwyck.

Until now.

On November 12, Simon & Schuster will publish A Life of Barbara Stanwyck: Steel-True (1907-1940), volume 1 of the long-awaited first complete biography of Barbara Stanwyck. 15 years in the making and running a whopping 1,056 pages in length, author Victoria Wilson has created a colossal piece of literature covering the first 33 years of Barbara Stanwyck’s life. Comprised of tireless research and…

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3 thoughts on “An Interview with Victoria Wilson, Author of A LIFE OF BARBARA STANWYCK: STEEL-TRUE (1907-1940)”

  1. Hi there! Thank you for reblogging! I think Victoria Wilson’s interviews with Tony will bring a previously unseen part of Barbara Stanwyck’s life to the forefront. Stanwyck was the first to say that she was not a perfect person, and I think being a mother was very hard for her. She had no parents herself, no role models to look to when parenting Tony, and Tony grew up in a very difficult way–having been essentially completely ignored by his mother and cast out at an early age. He basically disappeared off the face of the earth, nobody knew where he was, until Victoria Wilson found him working at a motel not far from where he grew up in Los Angeles. He’s not like Christina Crawford or B.D. Hyman, who were out to make a buck on their scandalous stories and falsifications about their parents. Tony had no agenda, no desire to do anything except live his life, and if Victoria Wilson hadn’t found him we would never have heard from him again. I don’t think there is any reason for anything he says to be anything but the truth, and Victoria Wilson has been working on this biography for 15 years and at this point understands Stanwyck like the back of her hand. It’s not like he was her only interview and she has no other information to go on–she interviewed 200 people. Vicky may have had a personal fondness for Tony Fay, but he’s not dictating the entire book.

    1. That’s excellent to hear about Tony. I am a realist and do not deny the fact that Stanwyck probably was not a great mother given her lack of parental example to follow among other things. There has just been so much published about their relationship, most of which was just speculation rather than fact. I’m very eager to read a more accurate account of Stanwyck’s relationship and subsequent alienation from Tony. I just know that things I’ve read in the past regarding Tony have shown Stanwyck in a very negative light, making her out to be a terrible person–a fact I personally don’t believe to be true (even though I do believe she didn’t handle things appropriately with Tony). Bottom line, I’ve been looking forward to this book for a LONG time and can’t WAIT to read it!! I know Ms. Wilson has written something great considering how much of her time she devoted to the project. Thanks for the comment and the follow!

      1. You’re very welcome, my pleasure 🙂 I think it will be great to read what Tony has to say (or had to I mentioned in the interview he recently died), he can provide insight into many aspects of her life and contribute to a more holistic view of who his mother was. From everything I’ve read, Tony was much more understanding of his mother and why she might have treated him the way she did than, say, the Crawford kids. Stanwyck I think was completely in the dark about how to raise a child, realized that after she adopted Tony, and that’s probably why she never had any more kids. My guess.

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