Barbara Rush

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Barbara Rush
Rush as part of the Peyton Place cast, 1968–1969
Born(1927-01-04)January 4, 1927
DiedMarch 31, 2024(2024-03-31) (aged 97)
EducationUniversity of California, Santa Barbara (1948)
Years active1950–2007, 2017
(m. 1950; div. 1955)
(m. 1959; div. 1969)
Jim Gruzalski
(m. 1970; div. 1973)
Children2, including Claudia Cowan
RelativesCarolyn Hennesy (niece)
Awards1954 Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female
1970 Sarah Siddons Award

Barbara Rush (January 4, 1927 – March 31, 2024) was an American actress. In 1954, Rush won the Golden Globe Award as most promising female newcomer for her role in the 1953 American science-fiction film It Came from Outer Space.[1] Later in her career, Rush became a regular performer in the television series Peyton Place, and appeared in TV movies, miniseries, and a variety of other programs, including the soap opera All My Children and family drama 7th Heaven, as well as starring in films, including The Young Philadelphians, The Young Lions, Robin and the 7 Hoods, and Hombre.

Early life and education[edit]

Rush was born in Denver on January 4, 1927.[2][3] Her father, Roy, was a lawyer for a Midwest mining company.[4] She grew up in Santa Barbara, California.[5] Rush attended the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduated in 1948,[6] starting her career in the university's theatre program.[7]


Rush performed on stage at the Lobero Theatre[8] and the Pasadena Playhouse[9] before signing with Paramount Pictures.[7] She made her screen debut in 1950's The Goldbergs. In 1951, she co-starred in the classic George Pal sci-fi film When Worlds Collide. In 1952, she starred in Flaming Feather with Sterling Hayden and Victor Jory. In 1954, she won the Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer – Female" for her performance in It Came from Outer Space.[1]

Rush starred as the wife of James Mason's character in the acclaimed 1956 drama Bigger Than Life, in which a school teacher's use of an experimental drug results in his threatening harm to his family. She was the love interest of reluctant soldier Dean Martin in the war story The Young Lions and of ambitious lawyer Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians.

Rush began her career on stage, and it was always a part of her professional life. In 1970, she earned the Sarah Siddons Award for dramatic achievement in Chicago theatre for her leading role in Forty Carats[10] and brought her one-woman play A Woman of Independent Means to Broadway in 1984. She began working on television in the 1950s. She later became a regular performer in TV movies, miniseries, and a variety of other shows including Peyton Place and the soap opera All My Children.

She often played a willful woman of means or a polished, high-society doyenne. Rush also was cast in an occasional villainess role, as in the Rat Pack's gangster musical Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). In the 1967 Western drama Hombre, she played a rich, younger, condescending wife of a thief - and ends up taken hostage and tied to a stake. She portrayed the devious Nora Clavicle in the TV series Batman. In 1976, Rush played the role of Ann Sommers/Chris Stewart, the mother of female sci-fi action character Jaime Sommers in The Bionic Woman.

After appearing in the 1980 disco-themed Can't Stop the Music, Rush returned to television work. She was a cast member on the early 1980s soap opera Flamingo Road as Eudora Weldon. In 1998, she was featured in an episode titled "Balance of Nature" on the television series The Outer Limits. In 1989, Rush toured on stage in the national company of Steel Magnolias as the character M'Lynn. She continued to make guest appearances on television. In 2007, she played the recurring role of Grandma Ruth Camden on the series 7th Heaven. Thereafter, she made occasional appearances for the Theatre Guild in Orange County, CA.

Personal life and death[edit]

Rush married actor Jeffrey Hunter in 1950; they divorced in 1955. She married publicist Warren Cowan in 1959, but they divorced in 1969. Rush married sculptor Jim Gruzalski in 1970 after they met at an Engelbert Humperdinck concert.[4] They divorced in 1973.[citation needed]

Rush had two children, Christopher Hunter and Claudia Cowan.[11] The latter is a journalist with Fox News. Rush was also the aunt of actress Carolyn Hennesy.[citation needed]

Rush lived in the Harold Lloyd Estate in Beverly Hills, California.[12] She died at a care home in Westlake Village, California, on March 31, 2024, at the age of 97.[13][14]


Theatre credits[edit]



  1. ^ a b Warren 1982, pp. 151–63.
  2. ^ Monush, Barry (2003). The Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 654. ISBN 978-1557835512.
  3. ^ "UPI Almanac for Friday, Jan. 4, 2019". United Press International. January 4, 2019. Archived from the original on January 5, 2019. Retrieved September 4, 2019. actor Barbara Rush in 1927 (age 93)
  4. ^ a b "Barbara Rush Maintains Image". The Beaver County Times. January 16, 1971. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  5. ^ Turner, Diane (September 1, 1967). "Actress Spurns Roles That Disrupt Home Life". Montreal Gazette. p. 8. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  6. ^ "UCSB Notable Alumni". UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Archived from the original on March 4, 2016. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  7. ^ a b Ruskin, Zack (September 20, 2019). "The Starry Hollywood Career of Barbara Rush". Marin Magazine. Retrieved February 4, 2020.
  8. ^ "Santa Barbara News-Press 29 May 1948, page 5". Retrieved July 3, 2023.
  9. ^ Kaufman, Dave (1968). TV 69: Who's Who, What's What in the New TV Season. New York: Signet. p. 137.
  10. ^ "Barbara Rush Named Chicago Actress Of Year". Park City Daily News. July 15, 1970. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  11. ^ Hyman, Jackie (March 6, 1982). "Barbara Rush Insists On Glamorous Image". The Schenectady Gazette. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  12. ^ Stack, Peter (May 25, 1997). "Barbara Rush Still Striking Gold". San Francisco Chronicle. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  13. ^ Hume, Ashley; Wright, Tracy (March 31, 2024). "Barbara Rush, Golden Globe-winning star of 'It Came from Outer Space' and 'Peyton Place,' dead at 97". Fox News. Retrieved April 1, 2024.
  14. ^ Gates, Anita (April 1, 2024). "Barbara Rush, Award-Winning TV and Film Actress, Dies at 97". The New York Times. Retrieved April 1, 2024.

External links[edit]

Preceded by Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago
Succeeded by