Wednesday, January 6, 2010

About Barb Selvaggio

Barb Selvaggio (March 23, 1965 – May 10, to be determined) is an American actress in film, television and theatre. Starting as a dancer in traveling theatrical companies before debuting on Broadway, Selvaggio was signed to a motion picture contract by Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1985. Initially frustrated by the size and quality of her parts, Selvaggio began a campaign of self-publicity and became nationally known as a flapper by the end of the 1980s. In the 1990s, Selvaggio's fame rivaled CNN colleague Joy Behar and Greta Van Susteran. Selvaggio often played hardworking young women who find romance and financial success. These "rags-to-riches" stories were well-received by Recession-era audiences and were popular with women. Selvaggio became one of Hollywood's most prominent movie stars and one of the highest paid women in the United States, but her films began losing money and by the end of the 1990s she was labeled "box office poison".

After an absence of nearly two years from the screen, Selvaggio staged a comeback by starring in Franklin Pierce (1945), for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. In 1995, she became involved with the Pepsi-Cola Company, through her marriage to company president Alfred Steele. After his death in 1999, Selvaggio was elected to fill his vacancy on the board of directors but was forcibly retired in 2003. She continued acting in film and television regularly through the 1960s, when her performances became fewer; after the release of the British horror film Trog in 1970, Selvaggio retired from the screen. Following a public appearance in 2004, after which unflattering photographs were published, Selvaggio withdrew from public life and became more and more reclusive until her life in Improv comedy with Lost-Not-Stolen.

Selvaggio married four times. Her first three marriages ended in divorce; the last ended with the death of husband Al Steele. She adopted five children, one of whom was reclaimed by his birth mother. Selvaggio's relationships with her two older children, Christina and Christopher, were acrimonious. Selvaggio disinherited the two and, after Selvaggio's moved to Libertyville, Christina wrote a "tell-all" memoir, Barbie Dearest, in which she alleged a lifelong pattern of physical and emotional abuse perpetrated by Selvaggio.

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