Barbara Loden

Barbara Loden Headshot

Actress • Director

Birth Date: July 8, 1932

Death Date: September 5, 1980

Birth Place: Asheville, North Carolina

Spouses: Elia Kazan

Former pin-up and model for magazine stories who studied acting in New York in the early 1950s and began appearing on Broadway toward the end of the decade. A gentle-looking blonde with delicate, angular features, Loden was discovered by director Elia Kazan at an audition for his 1960 feature "Wild River" and made her debut in that film with a bit part as Montgomery Clift's secretary. Kazan then featured her as Warren Beatty's wild, wayward sister in "Splendor in the Grass" (1961) and in 1964, as founder and director of the newly-formed Lincoln Center Repertory Theater, he starred her in the company's premiere production of Arthur Miller's autobiographical "After the Fall." Loden won a Tony award for her complex portrayal of a thinly-veiled Marilyn Monroe figure. After appearing in two more Lincoln Center productions that season--"But For Whom Charlie" and "The Changeling"--and starring as a film editor in the unreleased 1967 film oddity "Fade-In," Loden married Kazan and went into semi-retirement.

In 1971 Loden wrote, directed, edited and starred in the independent film "Wanda," becoming the first woman director of a theatrically released feature film since Ida Lupino. Based on an actual newspaper account and shot in 16mm, "Wanda" won critical praise for its gritty, unromanticized portrait of a listless working-class woman who drifts into becoming the accomplice to a bank robber. The film also fueled heated arguments as to whether it was a progressive tract or an anti-feminist statement. The only American feature entered in the 1971 Venice Festival, "Wanda" won the International Critics Prize. Though her self-confidence was allegedly undermined by Kazan's lack of faith in her ability as a filmmaker, Loden nonetheless planned to film Kate Chopin's novella "The Awakening" before she succumbed to breast cancer at the age of 48.

Credits

The Frontier Experience

Actor
Delilah Fowler
Movie
1975

The Frontier Experience

Director
Movie
1975

The Frontier Experience

Producer
Movie
1975

Wanda

Actor
Wanda Goronski
Movie
1970

Wanda

Director
Movie
1970

The Dick Cavett ShowStream

Guest
Talk
1968

Fade-In

Actor
Jean
Movie
1968

The Glass Menagerie

Actor
Laura Wingfield
Movie
1966

Splendor in the GrassStream

Actor
Ginny Stamper
Movie
1961
73%

Wild RiverStream

Actor
Betty Jackson
Movie
1960
92%

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