That’s the bold contention of Dan Callahan‘s well written book Barbara Stanwyck, The Miracle Woman.
“Mighty as they were, Davis and Hepburn were actors who sometimes indicated emotions, or ran roughshod over them.
“Stanwyck only did that once, in Sorry, Wrong Number, her last Oscar bid.
“If the silent era Lillian Gish is the true progenitor of the American screen actress, Stanwyck, Davis, and Hepburn are the holy trinity for the classic studio era.
“Of the three, Stanwyck worked with the best directors and is the one whose style is the least dated and the most natural.”
She blazed a trail, he adds, and still shows the way for anyone who cares about the art of cinema acting!
Callahan also mentions Meryl Streep, saying she’s of the Bette Davis mold; Davis even sent her a fan letter.
But it’s Jennifer Jason Leigh who he feels represents the closest modern equivalent to Stanwyck’s “rugged integrity.”
But is Stanwyck really the best of the best? And is Jennifer the new her?
Or is this another case of “Sorry, wrong number”?