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Brian Patrick Cork is living the Authentic Life

Brian Cork Remembering Barbara Stanwyck


You probably remember Barbara Stanwyck from the 60’s television series “The Big Valley”.

I loved watching westerns with my Dad and Grandad.

It was terrific.  Lots of subtle messaging in the soap box operetta format along with high adventure and spirited dialogue.  Only Bonanza (in the early days) might have been better. /1

In any event, Stanwyck has always fascinated me.  By reputation off camera she was true and kind.  She played strong willful characters that were typically possessed of an edge.

And, it bothers me that Robert Wagner has written a crappy book and told the world that he had a love affair with Stanwyck almost 60 years ago. But, what can we expect from a smarmy ‘ol dude that hocks reverse mortgages on cable television?

As it turns out, My Nana and Grandad knew Stanwyck.  They were “old Sacramento”, and had many a pool party stuffed with Hollywood, political and sports luminaries that included Ronald Reagan and Max Baer (The boxer [although my Mom grew up with his son Max Baer Jr. who played Jethro on The Beverly Hillbillies”]).

…I recall my Nana and Mother saying that I looked like Max Baer (senior).

Moving on…

Stanwyck’s first husband was stage actor Frank Fay. They were married on August 26, 1928. On December 5, 1932 they adopted a son, Dion Anthony “Tony” Fay, who was one month old. The marriage was a troubled one. Fay’s successful career on Broadway did not translate to the big screen, whereas Stanwyck achieved Hollywood stardom. Also, Fay apparently physically abused Stanwyck – especially when he was inebriated.

My Grandad once told me that the Fay and Stanwyck story was the basis for the book and movie(s) “A Star is Born”.

Brian Patrick Cork


1/ I will be Blogging about Bonanza in the next week or so.  It was simply brilliant.  Way ahead of it’s time and shares some interesting parallels with The Big Valley.

5 Comments to

“Brian Cork Remembering Barbara Stanwyck”

  1. Avatar October 14th, 2008 at 5:35 am Catherine Johnson Says:

    My grandmother took that photo of Max Baer as a starstruck young lady in upstate New York. To this day, the people of “Old Sacramento” still fondly remember Max’s antics in and around town, and the sons and daughters of people who knew and loved Max e-mail me with the most wonderful stories about him.

    Thanks for bringing a grin to my face and Babushu is smiling down on you.


  2. Avatar June 3rd, 2009 at 9:05 pm Kerry Madden Says:

    What happened to her son? Dion Anthony “Tony” Fay? I know they were estranged in 1951. I just wonder whatever happened to him. Thank you.

    All best
    Kerry Madden

  3. Avatar June 4th, 2009 at 1:46 am Brian Patrick Cork Says:

    They had virtually no relationship. His name popped-up a few times on police blotters. He simply faded away into ignominy.


  4. Avatar July 23rd, 2009 at 12:27 am m72 Says:


  5. Avatar July 23rd, 2009 at 2:07 am Ralph F. Says:

    I think we know Cork’s Mother was a good friend of the family. Anthony Fay would call Brian some times. It seems there was a connection with Cork and one of his mentors Dave Sugamarman. His wife was involved in local theater in Los Angeles. Anthony Fay worked around the place and Brian was some how supporting him. However Mr. Cork appears mum on this topic.


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