A stress gradient was induced in two directions (through the plane of the beam and along its length) to produce a beam deflection of specific curvature. The stress gradient was produced by altering the conditions during electroplating. The pull-down characteristics of four electrostatic actuators were measured. Stressed, hard gold was patterned in a triangular shape on top of stress-free soft gold. This stress gradient along the length of the beams significantly improved the tuning range compared with devices containing spatially uniform stress. The tuning range of the variably stressed gold devices improved by 30 percent for the double-hinged square devices, by 45 percent for the double-hinged elliptical devices, and by 35 percent for the double-hinged rectangular device. Voltage cycling and temperature variation has no significant impact on the pull-down characteristics of the actuator.