Barbara Loden


Actor, Director
Barbara Loden

About

Also Known As
Barbara Anne Loden
Birth Place
Marion, North Carolina, USA
Died
September 05, 1980
Cause of Death
Breast Cancer

Biography

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. Ka...

Family & Companions

Elia Kazan
Husband
Director. Married June 5, 1967; met when Kazan was auditioning actresses for "Wild River" (1960).

Notes

"I know 'Wanda' is crude but I wanted to make an antimovie, to present a story without manipulating the audience and telling them what their response should be. To do that you have to take chances and you can't depend on anyone else."I couldn't get anyone to direct it, so I had to do it myself. I didn't know anything about the camera. I only had three people in the crew. . . . There are only two professional actors in it, the rest are local people. My wardrobe cost $7 at Woolworth's, and Michael Higgins, who played the bank robber, wore Elia's old clothes. . . . I paid myself union scale [$200 in 1971]. The total budget came to $100,000 which may be cheap by Hollywood standards, but much too expensive by mine."--Barbara Loden (quoted in Rex Reed's "Poignant Study of a Girl Born to Lose" in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, February 21, 1971)

"Barbara Loden is Mrs. Elia Kazan, and the director of one film with a feeling for wayward, unordered lives, of the haphazard detracting from drama and of an off-centre, unsentimental pathos that are the characteristics missing from her husband's work. . . . A more strident, opinionated director, and one with less repect for the medium, might have made a revolutionary tract out of 'Wanda'. As it is, it shows a listless, none too bright woman on the point of a divorce who becomes the accomplice to a tetchy hold-up man....'Wanda' is bolder than Kazan's movies in granting that people do not control their own destinies."--David Thomson ("A Biographical Dictionary of Film", 1976)

Biography

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.

Life Events

1948

Moved to NY at age 16; worked as a model for detective stories and romance magazines and did some pinup modeling work; danced in chorus of Copacabana nightclub (date approximate)

1955

Stage debut in "Out of This World"

1956

Appeared on TV in "The Ernie Kovacs Show" and "The Tonight Show" (1956-57) when Kovacs hosted the show

1960

Feature film acting debut, "Wild River"

1962

Acted on TV in "Torment Him Much and Hold Him Long" episode of "Naked City"

1964

Starred as a Marilyn Monroe-like character in Lincoln Center Repertory Theater's premiere production of Arthur Miller's "After the Fall" under the direction of Elia Kazan; also appeared during first season in "But For Whom Charlie" and "The Changeling" both directed by Elia Kazan

1966

Starred as Laura Wingfield in TV adaptation of Tennessee Williams's "The Glass Menagerie" (directed by Michael Elliott)

1968

Final stage performances in "Winter Journey" and "The Country Girl"

1971

Directed, wrote, edited and starred in first feature film, "Wanda"

1975

Directed two short TV films, "The Boy Who Liked Deer" and "The Frontier Experience" for Learning Corporation of America

Videos

Movie Clip

Wild River (1960) - Rugged Individualism Joining the narration by Pat Hingle, after footage of 1930’s Tennessee River flooding, we meet Montgomery Clift as Tennessee Valley Authority official Glover, arriving at his new post, meeting Betty (Barbara Loden, wife of the director/producer Elia Kazan), opening Wild River, 1960.
Splendor In The Grass (1961) - They're Kind Of Dull Kansas, 1927 Stamper family Christmas photo, reckless Ginny (Barbara Loden, who would marry director Elia Kazan), introduces her bootlegger boyfriend to father (Pat Hingle) and brother Bud (Warren Beatty), in Splendor In The Grass, 1961.
Splendor In The Grass (1961) - Two Kinds Of Girls Self-made millionaire Ace Stamper (Pat Hingle) dismisses daughter Ginny (Barbara Loden) before his sexually repressed star athlete son Bud (Warren Beatty) tries to talk about his future, in Elia Kazan's Splendor In The Grass, 1961.
Wanda (1970) - He's Mad 'Cause I'm Here Writer, director, producer and star Barbara Loden places herself all-but in a coal mine, shooting near Carbondale, Pa, in the opening to her independent feature, with relatives who will not appear again, in the very naturalistic and widely acclaimed Wanda, 1970.
Wanda (1970) - You Have No Objection Writer, producer, director and star Barbara Loden, as the title character, taking public transport in her Central Pennsylvania mining town to her divorce hearing, husband (Jerome Thier) waiting, in Wanda, 1970.
Wanda (1970) - We're Closed Wandering after her divorce earlier that day Barbara Loden (writer, producer, director and title character) stumbles into a bar she doesn't realize "Mr. Dennis" (Michael Higgins) is robbing, in Wanda, 1970.

Trailer

Companions

Elia Kazan
Husband
Director. Married June 5, 1967; met when Kazan was auditioning actresses for "Wild River" (1960).

Bibliography

Notes

"I know 'Wanda' is crude but I wanted to make an antimovie, to present a story without manipulating the audience and telling them what their response should be. To do that you have to take chances and you can't depend on anyone else."I couldn't get anyone to direct it, so I had to do it myself. I didn't know anything about the camera. I only had three people in the crew. . . . There are only two professional actors in it, the rest are local people. My wardrobe cost $7 at Woolworth's, and Michael Higgins, who played the bank robber, wore Elia's old clothes. . . . I paid myself union scale [$200 in 1971]. The total budget came to $100,000 which may be cheap by Hollywood standards, but much too expensive by mine."--Barbara Loden (quoted in Rex Reed's "Poignant Study of a Girl Born to Lose" in the CHICAGO TRIBUNE, February 21, 1971)

"Barbara Loden is Mrs. Elia Kazan, and the director of one film with a feeling for wayward, unordered lives, of the haphazard detracting from drama and of an off-centre, unsentimental pathos that are the characteristics missing from her husband's work. . . . A more strident, opinionated director, and one with less repect for the medium, might have made a revolutionary tract out of 'Wanda'. As it is, it shows a listless, none too bright woman on the point of a divorce who becomes the accomplice to a tetchy hold-up man....'Wanda' is bolder than Kazan's movies in granting that people do not control their own destinies."--David Thomson ("A Biographical Dictionary of Film", 1976)