Barbara Stanwyck (born Ruby Catherine Stevens; July 16, 1907 – January 20, 1990) was an American actress, model and dancer. When she was four, her mother died and her father abandoned her. Ruby and her brother were initially raised by their older sister, but went into a series of foster homes after Laura died. A stage, film and television star, Standwyck was known during her 60-year career as a consummate and versatile professional for her strong, realistic screen presence. She made 85 films in 38 years before turning to television. Stanwyck made her debut on stage in the chorus as a Ziegfeld girl in 1923, at age 16, and within a few years was acting in plays. Her first lead role, which was in the hit Burlesque (1927), gained praise and established her as a Broadway star. In 1929, she began acting in talking pictures, receiving her major break when Frank Capra chose her for his romantic drama Ladies of Leisure (1930), which led to additional leading roles. By 1944, Stanwyck had become the highest-paid woman in the United States.