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Davick Services recommends the Facebook Group "West Texas History & Memories" for history, famous people, old photos, stories, unclaimed estates and genealogy of the Western Half of Texas . . . Check it out and join the conversation

Amazing People from Ector County Texas
Barbara Payton

Born November 16, 1927 in Minnesota, she moved to Odessa Texas with her family when she was eleven. Barbara was a popular actress from 1949 to 1963 appearing opposite some of the greatest stars of the time including Lloyd Bridges, James Cagney, Gary Cooper and Gregory Peck.

 

Payton was the daughter of Erwin Lee ("Flip") and Mabel Irene (Todahl) Redfield. Her father started his own business, a court of tourist cabins called "Antlers Court", anticipating it would turn out to be a profitable enterprise in a city like Odessa, whose population was booming due to the oil business.

As Barbara was growing into maturity, her good looks were also blossoming, which garnered the attention of local men. This type of attention was valued, even encouraged by her mother. She was known as a lively girl, willing to please, and she learned early in life that she had a potent effect on the opposite sex.

In November 1943, the then sixteen-year-old eloped with high school boyfriend William Hodge. The marriage seemingly amounted to nothing more than an act of impulsive, teen-age rebellion, and Payton did not fight her parents' insistence that the marriage be annulled. A few months later, she quit high school in the eleventh grade. Her parents did not object to her leaving high school without a diploma.

In 1944, she met her second husband, decorated combat pilot John Payton, who at the time was stationed at Midland Army Airfield. The couple were married on February 10, 1945 and moved to Los Angeles.

 

She starred in her first film in 1949 and soon after took the lead role in Kiss Tomorrow Goodbye, co-starring James Cagney. When her acting career began to decline, Payton appeared in low-budget films and on the covers of tabloid magazines, and later became destitute and increasingly dependent on alcohol and pills. In 1961 she was evicted from her apartment, and she was arrested for solicitation in 1962. In 1963 she worked with the journalist Leo Guild on her memoir, I Am Not Ashamed. Four years later, Payton died May 8, 1967 from alcohol-related causes at the age of thirty-nine.
 

Resources:

West Texas History & Memories

Early Life in Texas County by County

Books about Texas People and Places

Amazing People from Texas County by County

Texas History in the 19th Century (Amazon)

Texas History by Category and Event

Remember in Odessa when...

Amazon

 

Famous Actors from West TexasFamous Celebrities from West Texas
 Famous People from Ector County (B)
Books about Ector County People and Places

Books about Ector County TexasFavorite Books about Ector County People, Places and Events

Life in Ector County Texas 1850 1950

Life in Ector County Texas 1850-1950Pictorial History of Ector County

Ector County Treasures

Rare Artifacts, Books, Memorabilia, Ancestry and History Records from Odessa, Goldsmith, Gardendale and West Odessa. See Ector County Treasures (eBay)
 

What's your Favorite Book about a Texas County, Town, Person or Place? Here's our best reads list County by County

 

Mysterious TexasTrue Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texcas
 Loneliest, Least Populated Counties in Texas
Texas Cowboy HistoryBooks about Texas People County by County