Jump to content

 
Search In
  • More options...
Find results that contain...
Find results in...
kimbo3200

Barbara Stanwyck's son

Recommended Posts

Browsing through imdb.com today, I found something that surprised me. I always thought that Barbara Stanwyck had no children (she never had any children of her own, at least). But I was surprised to find out that she did adopt a son in 1932. Does anyone know anything about that? Even after seeing Stella Dallas, I could never picture her as a mother. Maybe it was all those hard-edged women she portrayed... If anyone has any info on this that would be great.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to the book Joan Crawford The Essential Biography by Lawrence J. Quirk, "Barbara Stanwyck adopted a boy who just seemed to fade out of her life when he reached adulthood -- discarded, almost as if he were a chair or a table Stanwyck no longer found appealing".

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi,

 

I believe she had a son called Dion and he was adopted. He was sent away to military school and by 1951 was estranged from her. I think I remember he joined the Navy that year and never bothered with her again.

Barbara had a house in Brentwood for many years and I heard that it burnt down at the end of her life. Not a happy ending for her.

 

Larry

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Vecchiolarry--Is that the way you spell Barbara's last name, if so then I've been goofing it up for quite awhile-using an i instead of a y--shame on me! And I never knew she had a son-too bad they couldn't maintain a relationship. To me, family is the most important part of my life JMHO. :) Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Hi Sue,

 

Yes, Stanwyck is spelled with a 'Y'.

It is too bad that some of these movie stars didn't have great family lives themselves and therefore couldn't forge relationships with their own children.

I know so many of them who wound up alone and lonely.

Unfortunate!

 

Larry

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

After Barbara Stanwyck married performer Frank Fay, and they settled in, like many childless couples, they decided to adopt a 10 month old infant boy in 1932, and rechristened him Dion.

Both happy and making a decent living, they planned on a homespun family life, which Stanwyck dreamed of, since her own childhood was shrouded with unhappiness.

 

The first few years with Dion went smooth and happy, until Fay's career began to wane and he began drinking, causing a turmoil in the household.

Under the circumstances, and eventually in 1936 Stanwyck divorced Fay. Stanwyck got custody of Dion and would remain at the home she once shared with Fay. Fay kept involved with his son but eventually drifted away.

 

In time Stanwyck enrolled Dion in Military school, where she felt he would get a good education. She didn't want a spoiled 'Hollywood' kid.

In 1939 Stanwyck married Robert Taylor. Dion liked Taylor although he felt pressured since Taylor was a sports nut and Dion just wasn't into it.

 

During his years at the Academy Dion wanted to add the name Anthony to his name and Stanwyck concurred. Perhaps he was teased with the name Dion and now he was 'Tony'.

At first, Dion would spend weekends with his mom, however poor grades prompted Stanwyck to send him to other schools, with the same poor results.

 

And when Stanwyck's career sky-rocketed, she found less time for her son, seldom seeing him on weekends. Just prior to Dion getting inducted into the service in 1951,

mother and son became estranged, in the same year that Stanwyck divorced Taylor.

 

A few years later, Dion was arrested for selling pornographic material, and in 1959, most likely in need of money, he told his story to Confidential Magazine, a rag sheet of the era. Knowing Stanwyck's penchant for privacy, he broke the golden rule. Thus the ties were completely broken.

If alive today, Dion would be in his early 70s.

 

Mongo

 

 

 

  • Like 2
  • Sad 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks for the whole story, Mongo. It answered a lot of questions and I feel very sorry for their family life--or should I say- a lack of family life. That's what happens too often when communications break down and no one talks with the others. It's sad. Sue

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Wow! I come back tonight and see a bunch of posts on my subject! Thanks everyone! Mongo, your information is amazing, where did you get all that from? For some reason, I find this to be an interesting topic. I wonder if Dion is still alive...

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Dear Kimbo3200

 

Here is a little extra information I have on Dion Anthony Fay. I remember reading about this stuff about the pornographic material. I also know he wrote a story for "Confidential" magazine, called "Why Does My Mother Hate Me?" This was around 1960 or so, and after that, Stanwyck wouldn't speak to him. By this time, Fay had a wife and son to support. That is why he wrote the article.

 

If I remember correctly, Frank Fay died around 1961, and he died intestate. As amazing as it may seem, he left a sizable estate. After a lot of legal wrangling, Dion inherited his father's money. It seems after all those early incidents, Dion settled down to lead a pretty conventional life. From what I understand, he became a successful businessman in later years. I did read he tried to reconcile several times with Barbara, although she would have none of it. However, she did leave him something in her will, provided he never talk about her.

 

Let's face it. Some people were not cut out to be parents. From what I understood, the Fays adopted the littel boy to save their marriage, always a disastrous move. I believe This was around 1932, when Dion was still a baby. However, by this time, Fay was a hopeless alcoholic as well as a bit psychotic. One story I read had him taking his hand off of the steering wheel and praying every time he saw a Catholic Church. Of course, one never knows how much one reads is true or not. He also, allegedly, threw the kid in the pool one time.

 

Well, in spite of all this, the judge gave Fay visitation rights, which Barbara refused to abide by. Eventually, Fay gave up trying to see the boy.

 

I have a great deal of respect for Ms. Stanwyck. She was a very talented actress, thorougly professional, and kind and helpful to her castmates and cruel. But, when you lose your mother at age four, and your father shortly thereafter due to drink, it does not really prepare you very well for parenthood. Added to the fact that she was a working actress and her career came first, she did not have that much time to spend with the boy.

 

I don't think she was ever cruel to the boy, per se, or anything like that. I did read a story about her and Taylor going to the racetrack on Christmas Day and leaving the kid alone. That is probably the worst thing I ever read, which is nothing compared to what some parents do to their kids. I just think she adopted the child for all of the wrong reasons. Moreover, with her working all the time, when did she have time to really mother the boy. She was like a little adult when she was very young. I don't think she knew how to relate to a very small child. Perhaps she expected him to be a young adult at that age, like she was.

 

I just think it was one of those unfortunate things. I guess Missy could never forgive her son for that article he wrote and some of his other early misdeeds. If he is still alive, he would be around 73. Missy was never mothered herself as a child; consequently, she had trouble mothering herself. Besides, it's different mothering crew members or young people (i.e., teenagers) than it is a small child.

 

This is about what I know about Dion Anthony Fay. I do have an article from one of the magazines on the Fays divorce, where they were talking about Dion. Missy was kind to Fay and just accused him of being morose in th divorce suit (something dear old Louealla P found a pure excuse for a divorce). However, I also understand that when drunk, Fay got mean and beat Missy a lot of the time. A lot of people knew about Fay's volatile temper; so, Louella's comment puzzled me.

 

Take care.

 

Deborah

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Thanks deborahwakid11! That's great information. This sounds like one of those typical Hollywood stories, but also interesting. Thanks everyone for responding!

 

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

^^^ Well THAT post is certainly off-topic!

I find those who have experienced poor parenting typically end up over-compensating with their own parenting. It's as if they feel "cheated" from not experiencing loving parents so they make SURE their child is unconditionally loved.

Not unlike the kids who were beaten by their parents grow up vowing to never strike their own children, since they know how it scarred themselves.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
On 6/14/2005 at 3:03 PM, fssbdgtsue59 said:

Hi Larry--thanks for the straigten me up info. I will remember it. And you are so right about the family part. Sue

:D

Looks as if the spelling of Stanwyck isn't the ONLY thing needs "straigtening" out!  ;) 

At any rate...... Any attempts to find any info on  DION FAY only turned up a link to an obituary of some other DION FAY, and NOT the adopted son of Barbara and Frank.

And I'd like to address this "prepared for parenthood" concept.

It's just that. A "concept" as I firmly believe that NOBODY is really ever prepared for what parenthood brings to anyone's life, as NO method, NO plan or any "system" of child rearing is iron-clad guaranteed or foolproof.  My Mother had an amusing take on an aspect of it......

"Don't be fooled," she once said, "Most of us consider our offspring becoming parents as their PAYBACK!"  :D  She WAS of course( and hopefully) being facetious, but I got what she meant.  And too, it goes a long way to explaining why grandparents SPOIL the grandkids so much.  ;)  Both love and GRATITUDE!  :D 

Sepiatone

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Shortly after I started posting here, I became friends with another poster whose name was Terry. He saw some of my comments on Barbara Stanwyck and could tell I was a fan. He started private messaging me and then after he stopped using the message boards, due to arguments he had with a few other people, he would email me. This went on for almost a year, then one day I just never heard from him anymore. I never knew his last name. And his stories could have been made up, but I don't think they were because his "inside" scoops always seemed plausible and helped explain some things about Barbara.

He told me he was her godson and that he stayed with her on and off in the 80s during the final years of her life. He said she was a godmother to several others, a role she cherished. According to Terry, she was also a godmother to one of the Reagan children (I think it was Maureen) and she was also a godmother to Tori Spelling; Barbara was very close with the Spellings for many years. But the relationship with the Spellings did hit a snag when Barbara abruptly quit The Colbys. He said she didn't like the writing and felt the plots were vulgar, and all the money in the world was not going to keep her on the series, which seems to have been corroborated by other sources. 

Supposedly Barbara had agreed to do another weekly series at her age, because she hoped there would be more crossovers between The Colbys and Dynasty allowing her to work occasionally with Linda Evans. Linda was like a daughter to her. But after the introductory episodes in which Barbara was a special guest star on Dynasty, there were no more crossovers for her and Linda never appeared on The Colbys. She wasn't too keen on working opposite Charlton Heston but the bigger problem she had on The Colbys was with Tracy Scoggins who played Heston's daughter. Barbara was a consummate professional and could not abide unprofessionalism. Apparently Tracy Scoggins was often late to the set and held up production. Barbara would chastise her about this and it caused Tracy to resent her and be even later to the set the next time. The two of them never got along.

During the course of our emails I would ask Terry about other things, including Barbara's son. He said Dion was a bad seed, his exact words, and that Barbara had no choice but to send him to a military school because he was basically a hellion. She used her brother as a buffer; it was her brother who would visit and check on him at school and arrange to send him to another school when he was about to get expelled. This led to them being estranged in the 50s, because Dion was an embarrassment to her. Plus he probably reminded her of that bad marriage to Frank Fay. After Dion wrote the article about her, she had her brother pay him off to prevent him from writing any more and to ensure that he never contact her again. She was done with him, though I think her brother still had a relationship with Dion and Dion's family.

I asked Terry about her marriage to Robert Taylor. He said that while she would discuss other personal things, she would never talk about Robert Taylor. They had remained friends after the divorce, but the marriage was a huge disappointment for her. So Taylor as a subject of conversation remained off limits. It might have been too difficult for her.

He also told me about a break-in at her home. A burglar had gotten in and locked her in a bedroom closet and made off with a lot of jewelry. It was a weekend when the servants were away. He said she was always sharp as a tack. When the burglar pushed her into the walk-in closet she quickly put her fingers over the latch as the burglar slammed the door on her. She was in agonizing pain because her hand was wedged in between the door and the door frame but did not make a sound. She waited till she heard the burglar drive off then she opened the closet door. With her knuckles bruised and her hand bleeding she dialed the police. She could have been locked in the closet all weekend. He said she became a bit paranoid of being alone after this incident, and that was one of the reasons he would stay with her. After The Colbys, she went out of the house less and became more of a recluse at the end. But her health was also failing.

He said there had been a fire on the set of The Thorn Birds in Australia. She had been there when the fire occurred and inhaled much of it. Apparently she had trouble breathing after this, plus she had been a lifelong smoker. You can hear how out of breath she is delivering some of her lines on The Colbys. Her breathing problems became worse in those final years. 

One other thing he told me was how loyal her circle of friends were to her, even after her death. At the time I was talking to Terry in these emails, he said a very aggressive author had been contacting him to get dirt on Barbara. The author was Victoria Wilson who was researching Barbara's life and would publish a biography in 2013. He said he declined all of Wilson's offers to speak with him, as did many of Barbara's other circle of friends, because they knew Wilson was trying to dig up dirt. He said Wilson was eager to find out from him if Barbara had lesbian affairs.

  • Like 4
  • Thanks 5

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 minutes ago, yanceycravat said:

I'd like to correct some of the math here.  If Dion is still alive he'd be in his 80's not 70's!

The thread was started in 2005, when he might have still been in his 70s.

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, TopBilled said:

The thread was started in 2005, when he might have still been in his 70s. 

Well, HOLY COW!  I didn't see that.  My god that's hilarious. Now we have to start a what's the oldest thread on here thread!

Thanks for the heads up!

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
Just now, yanceycravat said:

Well, HOLY COW!  I didn't see that.  My god that's hilarious. Now we have to start a what's the oldest thread on here thread!

Thanks for the heads up!

He would have been about 73 at that time. Now, if still alive, he'd be 86-ish.

This is one of our golden oldies threads. LOL

  • Like 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

all you hafta see to know she was a hoy-faloy is see the way she is credited in every episode of The Big Valley---

Miss Barbara Stanwyck well la dee dah.

:P

"dion, forgive me!"

Image result for barbara stanwyck the big valley

  • Haha 1

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Barbara Stanwyck's son?

Didn't he go down with the ship along side Clifton Webb???

;)

(...btw TB...nice write-up up there)

  • Thanks 1
  • Haha 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
3 hours ago, NipkowDisc said:

all you hafta see to know she was a hoy-faloy is see the way she is credited in every episode of The Big Valley---

Miss Barbara Stanwyck well la dee dah.

:P

"dion, forgive me!"

Image result for barbara stanwyck the big valley

She earned it.  She's one of the all-time greats.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

According to some insider reports, when Joan Crawford was married to Phillip Terry, he was having a very intimate affair with Robert Taylor.

Well, they were two very attractive men.   

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
11 minutes ago, rayban said:

According to some insider reports, when Joan Crawford was married to Phillip Terry, he was having a very intimate affair with Robert Taylor.

Well, they were two very attractive men.   

Never heard this before. Wasn't aware Terry and Taylor knew each other very well.

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites
13 minutes ago, rayban said:

According to some insider reports, when Joan Crawford was married to Phillip Terry, he was having a very intimate affair with Robert Taylor.

Well, they were two very attractive men.   

 Barbara Stanwyck's childhood was so horrible it's difficult to even discuss it.

Frank Fay was a Dreadful man too.

I imagine Barbara had more than her share of unfairness in life and I would also imagine that she was totally incapable on any level of being even a "go through the motions parent".

Sometimes you simply can't ask things of people who simply are incapable of doing them.

 

Ruby Stevens picked herself up from nothing and made something great of herself. Something that other actors and actresses could look up to and try to emulate.  She was also a generous and kind professional.  The Hollywood Insiders said she was the consummate professional. 

That's how I will always remember Barbara Stanwyck-- and that's really all I care to know about her.

  • Like 2

Share this post


Link to post
Share on other sites

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now

© 2020 Turner Classic Movies Inc. A Time Warner Company. All Rights Reserved Terms of Use | Privacy Policy
×
×
  • Create New...