Barbara Lang (film actress)
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Lang in 1958
|Born||Barbara Jean Bly
March 2, 1928
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Died||July 22, 1982
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||pneumonia|
|Spouse(s)||William McCorkle (1946-1952; divorced)
Alan Wells (1956-1958; annulled)
John George (1967-1972; divorced)
|This section requires expansion. (January 2011)|
She worked a number of jobs prior to breaking into the entertainment industry. She sold jewelry in a Los Angeles department store and was a part-time fashion model at the age of seventeen. She was also a pianist and singer for a time in a cocktail lounge.
Lang suffered an attack of poliomyelitis in late 1953. She spent three weeks in the polio ward of Los Angeles General Hospital. Another eight months were required to convalesce. Lang was told that she might never walk again. She turned to the Bible during this time and reportedly credited faith for performing a miracle. Shortly after being stricken, her legs and facial muscles were paralyzed, and she had difficulty speaking. The lingering effect she experienced most was tiring easily.
She first came to the attention of Hollywood producers with appearances in six Death Valley Days telefilms (1955–1956). Half a dozen motion picture studios vied to sign Lang after her telefilm performances. She inked a long-term contract with Metro Goldwyn Mayer and was assigned to dramatic school. As a new star for MGM Lang played the feminine lead in House of Numbers (1957), co-starring with Jack Palance. It was filmed inside San Quentin Prison and in Mill Valley, California.
Lang was at first named to star opposite Elvis Presley in Jailhouse Rock. Before being cast the movie was tentatively entitled Jailhouse Kid. In the Joe Pasternak production of Party Girl (1958), Lang played "Ginger D'Amour", a Chicago showgirl of the 1930s.
After surviving and recovering from polio, Lang went into television work. Her TV credits are numerous. She is in episodes of The Thin Man (1957), Maverick (1958), The Bob Cummings Show (1958), 77 Sunset Strip (1959), Lawman (1959), Tightrope (1959), The Outlaws (1960)
In November 1958 Lang won an annulment of her two-year marriage to actor Alan Wells. The decree was granted on grounds that Wells married Lang in Ensenada, Mexico, ten months before his divorce from actress Claudia Barrett was final. Lang and Wells met when she played in Death Valley Days.
She died at age 54, reportedly from pneumonia.
- Death Valley Days (1955–56) 3 appearances
- Hot Summer Night (1957) (uncredited)
- House of Numbers (1957)
- The Thin Man (1957) 1 episode
- Maverick (1958) 1 episode
- Party Girl (1958)
- The Bob Cummings Show (1958) 1 episode
- 77 Sunset Strip (1959) 1 episode
- Lawman (1959) 4 episodes
- Tightrope (1959) 1 episode
- Outlaws (1960) 1 episode
- Burlington, North Carolina Daily Times-News, "Polio Didn't Stop Barbara Lang", April 26, 1957, Page 4.
- Long Beach Press-Telegram, November 11, 1956, Page 170.
- Lowell Sun, "Barbara Lang Wins Annulment", November 4, 1958, p. 6
- Oakland Tribune, "San Quentin Drama On Fox Screen", Friday, October 18, 1957, p. E45
- Syracuse Herald Journal, Hollywood and TV Close-Ups, June 1, 1958, p. 98