Lynn Bari

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Lynn Bari
Lynn Bari - 1939.jpg
Bari in 1939
Born Margaret Schuyler Fisher
(1913-12-18)December 18, 1913
Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
Died November 20, 1989(1989-11-20) (aged 75)
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
Cause of death
heart attack
Occupation Actress
Years active 1933–68
Spouse(s) Walter Kane (m. 1939–43)
Sidney Luft (m. 1943–50)
Nathan Rickles (m. 1955–72)
Children John Michael Luft (b. 1948)

Lynn Bari (December 18, 1913 – November 20, 1989), born Margaret Schuyler Fisher, was a movie actress who specialized in playing sultry, statuesque man-killers in roughly 150 20th Century Fox films from the early 1930s through the 1940s.[1]

Career[edit]

Edward G. Robinson and Bari in Tampico (1944)
William Bendix, Lynn Bari and Doug McClure in Overland Trail (1960)
In the film Blood and Sand (1941)

In most of her early films, Bari had uncredited parts usually playing receptionists or chorus girls. She struggled to find starring roles in films, but accepted any work she could get. Rare leading roles included China Girl (1942), Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943), and The Spiritualist (1948). In B movies, Lynn was usually cast as a villainess, notably Shock and Nocturne (both 1946). An exception was The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944). During WWII, according to a survey taken of GIs, Bari was the second most popular pinup girl after the much more well-known Betty Grable. Her film career fizzled out in the early 50s as she was approaching her 40th birthday although she continued to work at a more limited pace over the next two decades, now playing matronly characters rather than temptresses.

Lynn Bari's last film appearance was as the mother of rebellious teenager Patty McCormack in The Young Runaways (1968) and her final TV appearances were in episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The FBI.

She quickly took up the rising medium of television during the 50s, which began when she starred in the live television sitcom Detective's Wife which ran during the summer of 1950.

In 1955, Bari appeared in the episode "The Beautiful Miss X" of Rod Cameron's syndicated crime drama City Detective. In 1960, she played female bandit Belle Starr in the debut episode "Perilous Passage" of the NBC western series Overland Trail starring William Bendix and Doug McClure and with fellow guest star Robert J. Wilke as Cole Younger.[2]

From July-September 1952, Bari starred in her own situation comedy Boss Lady, a summer replacement for NBC's Fireside Theater. She portrayed Gwen F. Allen, the beautiful top executive of a construction firm. Not the least of her troubles in the role was being able to hire a general manager who didn't fall in love with her.[3][4]

Commenting on her "other woman" roles, Bari once said, "I seem to be a woman always with a gun in her purse. I'm terrified of guns. I go from one set to the other shooting people and stealing husbands!"

Personal life[edit]

Bari was the only daughter of John Maynard Fisher, a native of Tennessee, and his wife, Marjorie Halpen of New York. She had a younger brother, John. Fisher died in 1920, and his widow moved the family to Lynchburg, Virginia. Here Bari's mother met and married the Reverend Robert Bizer, a Religious Science minister. Assigned a position with his church in Boston, Bizer moved the family to Massachusetts. Bari later recalled other children at school in Boston made life miserable for her and her brother making constant fun of their obvious Southern accents. She determined to eliminate hers, becoming involved with amateur theatrics and taking elocution lessons. Bari was enthusiastic when at the age of 13 she was told her stepfather had been reassigned to Los Angeles, where he later became the head of the Institute of Religious Science.

Bari's promising career was sabotaged by unresolved problems with her domineering, alcoholic mother and three marriages.[5] Her first child, a daughter with second husband Sid Luft, was stillborn. Two years later she had a son John Michael Luft (b. 1948). Her stage name, selected as 'Lynn Barrie' while at dramatic school at 14, is a composite of theater actress Lynn Fontanne and author J. M. Barrie's. After reading a story about the Italian city of Bari, she decided to change the spelling. Bari's third husband was a doctor and psychiatrist and she often worked as his nursing assistant until they divorced in 1972.

A staunch Republican, Bari actively supported conservative causes, campaigned for Republican presidential candidates from Hoover to Reagan and was a regular attendee of GOP national conventions.

After retiring from acting in the 1970s, Bari moved to Santa Monica, California. In her last years, she suffered increasing problems with arthritis. On November 20, 1989, she was found dead in her home of an apparent heart attack. Bari was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.[6] In 2010, film historian Jeff Gordon published an authorized biography titled Foxy Lady written from interviews completed shortly before Bari's death.[7]

Filmography[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Screen Guild Theatre "Heaven Can Wait"[9]

References[edit]

  1. ^ Allmovie listing
  2. ^ Classic Images bio
  3. ^ "TV News". July 4, 1952. 
  4. ^ List of episodes at CTVA
  5. ^ Amazon listing - Foxy Lady authorized biography
  6. ^ TCM listing
  7. ^ Foxy Lady
  8. ^ IMDB listing
  9. ^ Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

External links[edit]