20 January 2015

Remember me in your own way

Exactly 25 years ago today, on 20 January 1990, Barbara Stanwyck passed away. She was 82 years old. Years before her death, Barbara had indicated that she wanted no funeral or service of any kind. According to her good friend and publicist Larry Kleno "she had seen too many of what she termed Hollywood funerals, and she didn't want one. No elaborate eulogy." So five days after her death, Barbara was cremated and her ashes were scattered over Lone Pine, California, where she had made a few of her western films.

Barbara had made her last wishes known in a letter to her nephew Gene and his wife Barbara. She didn't have many relatives left and clearly wanted her remaining family to carry out her last wish. On 4 April 1977 (13 years prior to her death), this is what she wrote:

Image courtesy of profiles in history

Mr + Mrs Gene Vaslett. April 4/77

Dear Gene + Barbara-

These are my final instructions in the event of my death.
I do not want services of any kind. Cremation and ashes to be scattered over the mountains.
I would like you Gene to do this service for me. In the event you are unable to carry out my wishes, perhaps your daughter, my niece Kathleen would.
If neither of you can perform this favor for me I have asked my dear friend Larry Kleno to do so; he said he would and he also said he would assist Kathleen.
I would not like a stranger to do this- as for the rest---
"for those who care, remember me in your own way."

Barbara Stanwyck

Barbara Stanwyck in some of her greatest roles (clockwise from top left): "Stella Dallas" (1937), "Baby Face" (1933), "The Lady Eve" (1941), "Double Indemnity" (1944), "Meet John Doe"(1941) and "Ball of Fire" (1941). And in the centre: Barbara holding her 1966 Emmy Award for her role in the television series "The Big Valley".


  1. "for those who care, remember me in your own way." We certainly do.

  2. She was one of a kind. Even her final wishes reflect that.