Hollywood Actress: Barbara Payton

Carol RoachStarred Page By Carol Roach, 18th Feb 2015 | Follow this author | RSS Feed | Short URL http://nut.bz/27j8nt2t/
Posted in Wikinut>Celebrities>Hollywood

The celebrity I am writing about this time around is Barbara Payton who was a well known actress in days gone by.


There have been a few books such as Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye: The Barbara Payton Story (2007), by John O'Dowd, L.A. Despair: A Landscape of Crimes and Bad Times (2005), by John Gilmore, and B Movie. and a Play in Two Acts (2014), by Michael B. Druxman which highlight the life of Barbara Payton an actress who battled all her life with drug and alcohol addictions.

Early life

Barbara Lee Redfield was born on Nov 16, 1927 to Norwegian immigrant parents. Lee Redfield started his own business in Odessa, Texas. He was hard and indifferent towards his children. Both parents were alcoholics and the marriage was fraught with problems.

Barbara was a pretty girl

Barbara was a very pretty young girl and she knew she could persuade men with her looks and feminine charms. Barbara was only 16 when she eloped. Her parents had the marriage annulled. They also let her quit high school at that time as well.

Just a year later in Nov 1948, married for the second time. She moved to Los Angeles with her new husband and enrolled in USC under the GI Bill.


Barbara found married life quite boring so she decided to go into modeling. She started out working for Saba of California, and then went on to the Rita La Roy Agency where her face was seen on many magazines. In addition, she posed as the model for Studebaker cars.

At first Barbara did it all, she was a wife, mother, and career woman. However, the strain of doing it all played its toll on her marriage and the couple separated in 1947.

The divorce

After the separation in 1947, Barbara was even more determined to make her career a success. She flaunted her beauty and she got the name of a “party girl.”

She caught the eye of Universal Studios and signed a contract with them. But her party girl persona helped her career but ended her marriage.

The couple divorced in 1950 and her husband got sole rights for their son. He accused her of being an unfit mother.

Hollywood career

By 1949 Barbara appeared in several movies. Her starting salary had been $100.00 a week. Her rise to stardom started with the 1949 film noir Trapped, co-starring Lloyd Bridges. She also starred in The Asphalt Jungle. and also with James Cagney in the Film noir thriller Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye in 1950.

Cagney was smitten with her beauty. He got her a new contract with Warner Brothers and even though she was still a starlet she was getting $5,000 dollars a week. “Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye was the highpoint in Payton’s career, the moment in time she was christened as a player with bonafide star power.”

Her decline

By 1951 her career in acting began to decline. She was playing in lackluster movies and not showing her acting talent. Her constant drinking and partying helped destroy her career.

Two more marriages

She was married twice and divorced, she had numerous affairs with such people as Howard Hughes and Bob Hope.

She married Franchot Tone after he had been brutally attacked and left in a coma in her apartment by her other lover. Tom Neal was an actor who was once a college boxer. A year later Franchot Tone filed for divorced when he found out she had cheated on him.

That left Barbara free to marry Tom Neal. Only the couple broke up and in 1955 she married Tony" Provas and you guessed it they divorced in 1958.

Her demise

The years of drug and alcohol abuse had taken its toll. She also got in trouble with the law and was beaten badly now and then because of prostituting herself. She sleep on park benches and sometimes didn’t know where her next meal would come from.

She was ordered by the court to live with her family. Since her parents were alcoholics themselves now she could drink her life away and now that she at least had a roof over her head. Barbara Payton died in 1967 of heart and liver failure.

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Acrtress, Actresses, Celebrities, Celebrity Careers, Celebrity Life Stories

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author avatar Carol Roach
Retired therapist and author of two books, freelance writer, newsletter editor, and blogger. I write, health, mental health, women's issues, animal , celebrity, history, and SEO articles.

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