Adrienne Barbeau

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Adrienne Barbeau
AdrienneBarbeauJune2011.jpg
Barbeau in June 2011
Born Adrienne Jo Barbeau
(1945-06-11) June 11, 1945 (age 69)
Sacramento, California, U.S.
Occupation actress and writer
Years active 1972–present
Spouse(s) John Carpenter (1979–84)
Billy Van Zandt (1992–present)
Website
www.abarbeau.com

Adrienne Jo Barbeau (born June 11, 1945) is an American actress and the author of three books. Barbeau came to prominence in the 1970s as Broadway's original Rizzo in the musical Grease, and as Carol Traynor, the divorced daughter of Maude Findlay (played by Bea Arthur) in the sitcom Maude. In the early 1980s, Barbeau was a sex symbol, starring in several horror and science fiction films, including The Fog, Creepshow, Swamp Thing, and Escape from New York. During the 1990s, she became known for providing the voice of Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series and subsequent Batman cartoon series. In the 2000s (decade), she appeared in the HBO series Carnivàle as Ruthie the snake dancer.

Early life[edit]

Barbeau was born and raised in Sacramento, California,[1] the daughter of Armene (née Nalbandian) and Joseph Barbeau, who was a public relations executive for Mobil Oil.[2] Her mother was of Armenian descent and her father's ancestry included French-Canadian, Irish, and German.[3] She has a sister, Jocelyn, and a half brother on her father's side, Robert Barbeau, who still resides in the Sacramento area.[4] She attended Del Mar High School in San Jose, California. In her autobiography, Barbeau says that she first caught the show business bug while entertaining troops at army bases throughout Southeast Asia, touring with the San Jose Civic Light Opera.

Career[edit]

1960s to 1989[edit]

In the late 1960s, Barbeau moved to New York City and worked "for the mob"[4] as a go-go dancer. She made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof, and later took the role of Hodel, Tevye's daughter; Bette Midler played her sister. She left Fiddler in 1971 to play the leading role of Cookie Kovac in the off-Broadway nudie musical Stag Movie. Barbeau, as Cookie Kovac, and Brad Sullivan, as Rip Cord, were "quite jolly and deserve to be congratulated on the lack of embarrassment they show when, on occasion, they have to wander around stark naked. They may not be sexy but they certainly keep cheerful," wrote The New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes in an otherwise negative review.[5] Barbeau went on to star in more than 25 musicals and plays, including Women Behind Bars, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Grease. She received a Theater World Award and a 1972 Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of tough-girl Rizzo in Grease.

During the 1970s, Barbeau starred as Carol Traynor, the daughter of Bea Arthur's title character in the comedy series Maude, which ran from 1972 to 1978 (actress Marcia Rodd had originated the role of Carol in a 1972 episode of All in the Family, also titled "Maude", alongside Arthur). In her autobiography, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, Barbeau remarked: "What I didn't know is that when I said [my lines] I was usually walking down a flight of stairs and no one was even listening to me. They were just watching my breasts precede me." During the last season of Maude, Barbeau did not appear in the majority of the episodes. In a 2009 Entertainment Tonight TV interview, Barbeau mentioned that she had good on- and off-camera chemistry with Arthur; she said that the two stayed close until Arthur's death on April 25, 2009. Barbeau and Arthur reunited on camera during a 2007 taping of The View, reminiscing about their long-running friendship and their years as co-stars on Maude.

Regarding the character of Maude, Barbeau has said: "Thousands of people came up to me and said, 'I've got an aunt who's just like Maude, my mother is just like Maude.' I think many, many people related to Bea's character, in that way. There were others who found her too abrasive who didn't like the character, and that big woman with a low voice, saying those things." Regarding Bea Arthur's desire to entertain the audience of Maude, she said: "I at least was; and I'm sure that Bea was very proud of being something that was socially significant that was entertaining people, and making them laugh, at the same time, slipping her philosophy." Regarding Bea Arthur's decision to leave the show, Barbeau said: "I think she was tired, but I also knew she wanted to go out strong, yet, we were still in the Top 20, right through the sixth season, but I think she was probably feeling, 'How many more scripts are there'?, and you know, where we can be as good as we've been!" Of her overall experience on Maude, she said: "It was wonderful, all the way through, and so much of that was because of Bea, because, we had such a great group of people that we were working with, who, we were like a family." For more than 35 years, until Arthur's death in 2009, she and Barbeau continued to be good friends, long after the cancellation of Maude. The death of Arthur's mother in 1986 drew her and Barbeau even closer.

Barbeau was cast in numerous television films and shows such as The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Valentine Magic on Love Island, and Battle of the Network Stars. In her autobiography she claimed: "I actually thought CBS asked me to be on Battle of the Network Stars because they thought I was athletic. My husband clued me in: who cared if I won the race, as long as I bounced when I ran?"[4]

The popularity of Barbeau's 1978 cheesecake poster confirmed her status as a sex symbol. Barbeau's popularity stemmed partly from what critic Joe Bob Briggs referred to as the "two enormous talents on that woman",[6] and her typecasting as a "tough broad". Despite her initial success, she said at the time that she thought of Hollywood as a "flesh market", and that she would rather appear in films that "explore the human condition" and "deal with issues".[7]

Barbeau's then-husband, director John Carpenter, cast her in his 1980 horror film, The Fog, which was her first theatrical film appearance. The film was released in on February 1, 1980, and was a theatrical success, grossing over $21 million in the United States alone,[8] and establishing Barbeau as a genre film star. She subsequently appeared in a number of early-1980s horror and science fiction films, a number of which have now become cult film classics, including Escape from New York (also from Carpenter), Creepshow, and Swamp Thing. Of her screen work with Carpenter, Barbeau has stated: "John is a great director. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. It's simple and it's easy [working with him]."[9]

She also appeared in the high-grossing Burt Reynolds comedy The Cannonball Run (1981)—her character wins the race—and as the shrewish wife of Rodney Dangerfield in Back to School (1986). Barbeau also starred, alongside talk show host Bill Maher and Shannon Tweed, in the comedy Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1989).

1990s – present[edit]

In the 1990s, Barbeau mostly appeared in made-for-television films such as Scott Turow's The Burden of Proof in 1992, as well as playing Oswald's mother on The Drew Carey Show and gaining new fame among animation fans as Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series and Gotham Girls. Coincidentally, Barbeau's on-screen son on The Drew Carey Show, Diedrich Bader, would go on to perform the voice of Batman on the animated series Batman: The Brave and the Bold.

She also worked as a television talk show host and a weekly book reviewer for KABC talk radio in Los Angeles. In 1999, she guest starred in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" as Romulan Senator Kimara Cretak. In 1994, she also appeared in the Babylon 5 episode "Spider in the Web" as Amanda Carter.

In 1998, Barbeau released her debut album as a folk singer, the self-titled Adrienne Barbeau. She starred in the cartoon series Totally Spies! doing the voice of villainess Helga Von Guggen in seasons 1, 2 and 4.

From 2003 to 2005, she starred in the HBO series Carnivàle. From March to May 2006, she starred as Judy Garland in the off-Broadway play The Property Known as Garland.[10]

Barbeau played a cameo role in Rob Zombie's Halloween, a "reimagining" of the 1978 film of the same name, written and directed by her first husband, John Carpenter. Her scene was cut from the theatrical version of the film but is included in the DVD version.

In 2009, Barbeau was cast as "The Cat Lady" in the family comedy The Dog Who Saved Christmas, as Scooter's Mom in the 3D animated feature Fly Me to the Moon and as a hospice patient in the love-story "Reach For Me" .[citation needed]

Also in 2009, Barbeau had guest spots in the first episode of Showtime's hit series Dexter (season 4), as well as on Grey's Anatomy.

She voiced the Greek goddess Hera in the video game God of War III released for the PlayStation 3 in March 2010. In August 2010, she began a role on the long-running ABC daytime drama General Hospital. In 2012, she voiced UNSC scientist Dr. Tilson in the highly anticipated game Halo 4, released on the Xbox 360 in November 2012.

She reprised her role as Catwoman in an animated remake of the third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. This trailer was made to both celebrate the upcoming movie as well as to promote Hub's ten episode marathon of Batman: The Animated Series.

On October 22, 2013, she made a guest appearance on the FX series Sons of Anarchy.

Personal life[edit]

Barbeau was married to director John Carpenter from January 1, 1979 to 1984. The two met on the set of his 1978 TV movie, Someone's Watching Me!. The couple had a son, John Cody (born May 7, 1984) shortly before they separated. During their marriage, the couple remained "totally outside Hollywood's social circles".[7]

Barbeau married actor/playwright/producer Billy Van Zandt on December 31, 1992. The two met in 1991 when Barbeau was cast in the west coast premiere of his play, Drop Dead! Billy is the half-brother of musician/actor Steven Van Zandt. She gave birth to twin boys, Walker Steven and William Dalton Van Zandt, on March 17, 1997, at age 51, claiming she was the only one on the maternity ward who was also a member of AARP.[11]

Bibliography[edit]

Barbeau's autobiography There Are Worse Things I Could Do was published in 2006 by Carroll & Graf, rising to #11 on the Los Angeles Times best-sellers list. In July 2008, her first novel, Vampyres of Hollywood, was published by St. Martin's Press. The novel was co-written by Michael Scott. The sequel Love Bites was published in 2010.

  • Barbeau, Adrienne (2006). There Are Worse Things I Could Do. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 9780786716371. OCLC 65432367. 
  • Barbeau, Adrienne; Scott, Michael (2008). Vampyres of Hollywood. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312367220. OCLC 184822839. 
  • Barbeau, Adrienne (2010). Love Bites. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312367282. OCLC 526077059. 

Filmography[edit]

Film[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1980 Fog, TheThe Fog Stevie Wayne
1981 Escape from New York Maggie
1981 Cannonball Run, TheThe Cannonball Run Marcie
1982 Swamp Thing Alice Cable
1982 Creepshow Wilma Northrup Segment: "The Crate"
1984 Next One, TheThe Next One Andrea
1986 Back to School Vanessa
1987 Open House Lisa Grant
1990 Easter Story, TheThe Easter Story Mary Magdalene (voice) Video short
1990 Two Evil Eyes Jessica Valdemar Segment: "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar"
1993 Father Hood Celeste
1994 Silk Degrees Violet
1998 Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island Simone (voice) Video
1999 Walk in Providence, AA Walk in Providence Aunt Lidia
2000 Convent, TheThe Convent Adult Christine
2002 No Place Like Home Evie
2003 Ghost Rock Mattie Baker
2007 Unholy Martha
2008 Reach for Me Valerie
2009 Alice Jacobs Is Dead Alice Jacobs Short film
2012 Complacent Judy Sanderson
2012 Argo Nina / Serski
???? Bring Me the Head of Lance Henriksen Adrienne Post-production

Television[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1972–1978 Maude Carol Traynor Regular role (93 episodes)
1976 Great Houdini, TheThe Great Houdini Daisy White TV film
1976 Julie Farr, M.D. Allie Duggin TV film
1977 Eight Is Enough Jennifer Linden Episode: "Turnabout"
1977 Red Alert Judy Wyche TV film
1977 Quincy, M.E. Carol Bowen Episode: "Let Me Light the Way"
1977 Have I Got a Christmas for You Marcia Levine TV film
1978 Fighting Nightingales, TheThe Fighting Nightingales Maj. Kate Steele TV film
1978 Love Boat, TheThe Love Boat Cathy Randall 2 episodes
1978 Crash Veronica Daniels TV film
1978 Someone's Watching Me! Sophie TV film
1978 Fantasy Island Margo Dean 1 episode
1979 Fantasy Island Brenda Richards 1 episode
1979 Darker Side of Terror, TheThe Darker Side of Terror Margaret Corwin TV Film
1980 Top of the Hill Elizabeth Stone TV film
1980 Valentine Magic on Love Island Beverly McGraw TV film
1980 Tourist Barbara Huggins TV film
1981 Charlie and the Great Balloon Chase Susan O'Neill TV film
1983 Fantasy Island Adele Anthony 1 episode
1984 Hotel Barbara Harrington Episode: "Tomorrows"
1985 Seduced Barbara Orloff TV film
1985 Murder, She Wrote Kathryn Episode: "Jessica Behind Bars"
1985 Bridge Across Time Lynn Chandler TV film
1985 The Twilight Zone Miss Peters Episode: "Teacher's Aide"
1986 Hotel Ellie Episode: "Shadow Play"
1987 Murder, She Wrote Lynette Bryant Episode: "The Bottom Line Is Murder"
1987 Ultraman: The Adventure Begins Lt. Beth O'Brien (voice) TV film
1989 Head of the Class Gloria Episode: "The Little Sister"
1990 CBS Schoolbreak Special Mary Martelli Episode: "The Fourth Man"
1991 Blood River Georgina TV film
1991 Doublecrossed Debbie Seal TV film
1992 Burden of Proof, TheThe Burden of Proof Silvia Hartnell TV film
1992 Dream On Gloria Gantz Episode: "Bad Girls"
1992-1995 Batman: The Animated Series Catwoman / Selina Kyle / Martha Wayne (voice) Recurring role (8 episodes)
1993 FBI: The Untold Stories Marguerite Dobson Episode: "Dapper Drew"
1993 ABC Weekend Special Lucinda 'Lucy' Condraj Episode: "The Parsley Garden"
1993 Daddy Dearest Annette Episode: "You Bet Your Life"
1994 One West Waikiki Edna Jaynes Episode: "A Model for Murder"
1994 George Carlin Show, TheThe George Carlin Show Barbara Rossetti Episode: "George Gets Caught in the Middle"
1994 Babylon 5 Amanda Carter Episode: "Spider in the Web"
1996 Flipper Sydney Brewster Episodes: "Surf Gang", "The Girl Who Came to Dinner"
1996 Wayans Bros., TheThe Wayans Bros. Trish Neidermeyer Episode: "New Lease on Life"
1997 Weird Science Lily Episode: "Show Chett"
1997 New Batman Adventures, TheThe New Batman Adventures Catwoman / Selina Kyle (voice) Episode: "You Scratch My Back"
1998 New Batman Adventures, TheThe New Batman Adventures Catwoman / Selina Kyle (voice) Episode: "Cult of the Cat"
1998 Champion's Fight, AA Champion's Fight Nancy Muldenhower TV film
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Vivien Sanderson Episode: "Rain of Terror"
1998 Angry Beavers, TheThe Angry Beavers Toluca Lake Episode: "The Day the Earth Got Really Screwed Up"
1998–2004 Drew Carey Show, TheThe Drew Carey Show Kim Harvey Recurring role (6 episodes)
1999 Love Boat: The Next Wave Grace Brooks Episode: "Three Stages of Love"
1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Cretak Episode: "Inter Arma Silent Leges"
2000–2002 Gotham Girls Selina Kyle / Catwoman / Det. Renee Montoya (voice) Main role (19 episodes)
2001 Nash Bridges Annie Corell Episode; "Something Borrowed"
2002 Totally Spies! Helga Von Guggen (voice) Episode: "Wild Styles"
2002 Chronicle, TheThe Chronicle Evelyn Hall Episode: "Tears of a Clone"
2002 Santa Trap, TheThe Santa Trap Alice TV film
2003–2005 Carnivàle Ruthie Regular role (24 episodes)
2004 Ring of Darkness Alex TV film
2004 Totally Spies! Helga Von Guggen (voice) Episode: "Fashion Faux Pas"
2006 Deceit Kathleen Darrow TV film
2006 Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Sif (voice) Video game
2006 Christmas Do-Over Trudi TV film
2007 K-Ville Marquetta Dinovi Episode: "Bedfellows"
2008 Cold Case Helen McCormick Episode: "Wings"
2009 War Wolves Gail Cash TV film
2009 Dexter Suzanna Coffey Episode: "Living the Dream"
2009 Grey's Anatomy Jodie Crawley Episode: "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me"
2010 Proposition 8 Trial Re-Enactment Dr. Letitia Peplau TV documentary
2010 God of War III Hera (voice) Video game
2010 Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation, TheThe Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation Mildred TV film
2010–2011 General Hospital Suzanne Stanwyck Regular role
2011 CSI: NY Dr. Theola Kumi Episode: "Smooth Criminal"
2012 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Clara Sydamus (voice) Video game
2012 Halo 4 Dr. Tillson (voice) Video game
2012 Revenge Marion Harper Episode: "Lineage"
2013 God of War: Ascension Aletheia, the Oracle of Delphi (voice) Video game
2013 Sons of Anarchy Alice Episode: "Sweet and Vaded"
2014 Criminal Minds Cissy Howard Episode: "Blood Relations"

Popular culture references[edit]

Captain Murphy, a character from the animated television series Sealab 2021, has an obsession with Barbeau and mentions her in several episodes. In the episode "I Robot" he ponders becoming an "Adrienne Barbeaubot" with laser beam eyes and "D-Cups Full of Justice". In the episode "I Robot Really" Captain Murphy succeeds in having his brain placed inside a robot body which he calls The Barbeau-bot. The Barbeau-bot not only has "D-Cups of Justice" but also chainsaw hands with laser targeting. Barbeau was mentioned in Adult Swim cartoons by the same people as far back as Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode 32.

Also, an episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (season 6, episode 5) includes a storyline in which Miles is obsessed with Adrienne Barbeau. He buys a cardboard cut-out of her, and she guest stars at the end of the episode. Upon meeting her, Sabrina compliments Barbeau for her performance as Senator Cretak in the aforementioned Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode.

In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the movie "The Thing That Couldn't Die" Mike Nelson is being sent people he's thinking of by a race of omnipotent beings in one of the "host segments". The person appears and begins to beat up Mike in a manner similar to Finnegan in the classic Star Trek episode "Shore Leave". Mike thinks of Adrienne Barbeau at the insistence of one of his robot companions. Adrienne is played by Mike Nelson's real-life wife Bridget Jones Nelson.

See also[edit]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Adrienne, Barbeau (March 25, 2010). Michael Stever interviews Adrienne Barbeau. Interview with Stever, Michael. Landmark Jersey City Loews Movie Palace. 01:32-01:40 minutes in. 1st Annual Saturday Nightmare's Horror Expo!. Retrieved July 20, 2013. "…although I was born in Sacramento and I actually took my first acting class in third grade at the Sacrament Music Circus." 
  2. ^ "ADRIENNE BARBEAU PUTS "BEST' FOOT FORWARD". The Sacramento Bee. July 18, 1993. Retrieved December 10, 2007. 
  3. ^ "Adrienne Barbeau Biography". Yahoo! Movies. Retrieved October 29, 2006. 
  4. ^ a b c Barbeau, Adrienne (April 15, 2006). There Are Worse Things I Could Do. New York: Carroll & Graf. p. 33. ISBN 0-7867-1637-1. 
  5. ^ Barnes, Clive (January 4, 1971). "Stage: '71 Is Off to a Lamentable Start; 'Stag Movie,' a Musical, Opens at the Gate". The New York Times. p. 39. Retrieved June 15, 2012. 
  6. ^ Briggs, Joe Bob. ""The Fog" Intro". Archived from the original on March 7, 2006. Retrieved April 6, 2006. 
  7. ^ a b Roger Ebert (February 3, 1980). "Interview with Adrienne Barbeau". Chicago Sun-Times. Retrieved March 9, 2006. 
  8. ^ "The Fog (1980)". Box Office Mojo. Archived from the original on February 13, 2006. Retrieved March 9, 2006. 
  9. ^ "Terror and the Dame: An Interview with Adrienne Barbeau". The Terror Trap. February 2006. 
  10. ^ Isherwood, Charles (March 24, 2006). "At the Actors' Playhouse, Adrienne Barbeau Is Judy Garland". The New York Times. Retrieved December 30, 2007. 
  11. ^ "Adrienne Barbeau Biography". IMDb. Retrieved July 29, 2007. 

External links[edit]

Interviews