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True Stories of Amazing People and Places in Texas

Famous People from Ector County Texas
Barbara Payton

Born November 16, 1927 in Minnesota Barbara moved to Odessa Texas with her family when she was eleven. She 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, the daughter of Norwegian immigrants. Her father started his own business, a court of tourist cabins, "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:

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

Books about Ector County, Odessa  People and Places

Washed in the Blood - Murder of Betty Jean Williams in Odessa, Texas

The Secret of Mojo: The Story of the Odessa, Texas, Permian High School Football Team

Odessa: An Illustrated History

Murder In Odessa

Ector County, Texas: 125 Years of History

Odessa - A Pictorial History

Valentine: A Novel - Itís February 1976, and Odessa, Texas . . .

Down and Out - Candace Downs returns to the parched and dusty oil-town of Odessa . .

. . . Get details and more books about Ector County

Ector County Estates with Unclaimed Money

Ector County Unclaimed EstatesThese Deceased Residents of Ector County Left a total $409,493 in Unclaimed Money for their heirs. Please share this with your family and friends from Odessa, Gardendale and Goldsmith to let them know how to claim their inheritance from the Texas Comptroller's Office. . . see the list

 
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Featured Ector County Item

Rare Artifacts, Memorabilia, Ancestry and History Records from Odessa, Goldsmith, Gardendale and West Odessa

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