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Barnard Hughes

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Barnard Hughes
Hughes as Dr. Joe Bogert on Doc (1975)
Bernard Aloysius Kiernan Hughes

(1915-07-16)July 16, 1915
DiedJuly 11, 2006(2006-07-11) (aged 90)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Years active1939–2000
(m. 1950)
With cast of Doc. Standing, L–R: Irwin Corey and Mary Wickes. Seated: Elizabeth Wilson and Barnard Hughes (1975)

Bernard “Barnard” Aloysius Kiernan Hughes (July 16, 1915 – July 11, 2006), was an American actor of television, theater and film. Hughes became famous for a variety of roles; his most notable roles came after middle age, and he was often cast as a dithering authority figure or grandfatherly elder.



Hughes was born in Bedford Hills, New York, the son of Irish immigrants Marcella "Madge" (née Kiernan) and Owen Hughes.[1][2] He attended La Salle Academy and Manhattan College in New York City. Hughes served in the United States Army during World War II. He married actress Helen Stenborg on April 19, 1950, and remained married until his death. They had two children, the theatre director Doug Hughes, and a daughter, Laura. Hughes and his wife are interred at Church of the Transfiguration, Episcopal (Manhattan) in New York City.

Hughes spoke to Dick Cavett on his show, revealing that he was inspired by seeing actor Dennis King on Broadway as Richard II in the play Richard of Bordeaux by Gordon Daviot (Elizabeth Mackintosh). Hughes changed the "e" in his first name to an "a" to help his acting career on the advice of a numerologist. Through high school and college, Hughes worked a series of odd jobs, including a stint as a dockworker and as a salesman at Macy's. He auditioned for the Shakespeare Fellowship Repertory company in New York City on the advice of a friend, and ended up joining the company for two years.

Hughes played more than 400 theatre roles. He won Broadway's 1978 Best Actor Tony Award for his performance as the title character in Hugh Leonard's Da.[3] In 1988 he recreated the role for the film Da.

On screen, he appeared in the film transcription of Hamlet (1964), and also appeared in such films as Midnight Cowboy (1969), Where's Poppa? (1970), Cold Turkey (1971) The Hospital (1971), Tron (1982), Maxie (1985), The Lost Boys (1987), Da (1988) - the screen reprise of his most successful stage-role, Doc Hollywood (1991) and the big success Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit (1993). He also played the old man who gave a ride to Felix and Oscar in The Odd Couple II (1998) and was featured in The Fantasticks (1995).[4]

Hughes appeared on TV in such series as Naked City, The Secret Storm, Dark Shadows, Love Story, Blossom, and Homicide: Life on the Street.[4] In 1973, he had a notable recurring role on All in the Family as a Roman Catholic priest, Father John Majeski, doing battle with Archie Bunker, and won an Emmy for his portrayal of a senile judge on Lou Grant.[3] Hughes made three appearances in The Bob Newhart Show as the father of Dr. Robert Hartley. He was the central character in three sitcoms: Doc, in which he played a physician; Mr. Merlin, in which he played Merlin, a magician mentoring a 20th-century teenager; and The Cavanaughs, co-starring Christine Ebersole, in which he played the family patriarch (Art Carney played his brother, and Glynis Johns made guest appearances). Hughes sang "Danny Boy" in one episode of the latter series. He also made a memorable appearance as The King (with Jim Dale as The Duke) in the PBS mini-series Adventures of Huckleberry Finn.

Hughes also made recurring appearances on daytime dramas including Guiding Light, The Secret Storm and As the World Turns as well as a brief appearance as a private investigator in an early episode of Dark Shadows. He also did many voice-overs for various television commercials including Kix cereal.



Hughes died of natural causes on July 11 2006, just 5 days before his 91st anniversary.[5]

Selected filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1954 Playgirl Durkin Uncredited
1961 The Young Doctors Dr. Kent O'Donnell
1964 Hamlet Marcellus / Priest
1967 The Borgia Stick Doctor Helm TV movie
1969 Midnight Cowboy Towny
1970 Where's Poppa? Colonel Warren J. Hendricks
1971 Dr. Cook's Garden Elias Hart TV movie
Cold Turkey Dr. Proctor
The Pursuit of Happiness Judge Vogel
The Hospital Edmund Drummond Also made an uncredited appearance as Dr. Mallory
All in the Family Father Majeski TV series
1972 Sisters Arthur McLennen
1973 Deadhead Miles Old Man Uncredited
1972 Rage Dr. Spencer
1975 Doc Dr. Joe "Doc" Bogert TV series
1975 The UFO Incident Dr. Benjamin Simon TV movie
1977 Hawaii Five-O Clinton Palmer TV series
1977 Oh, God! Judge Baker
1979 Sanctuary of Fear Father Brown TV movie, pilot for unmade series with Kay Lenz
1981 First Monday in October Chief Justice James Jefferson Crawford
1981 Mr. Merlin Merlin TV series
1982 Tron Dr. Walter Gibbs
Best Friends Tim McCullen
1985 Maxie Bishop Campbell
1986 Where Are the Children? Jonathan Knowles
1987 The Lost Boys Grandpa
1987 A Hobo's Christmas Chance Grover
1988 Da Nick Tynan
1989 Day One Secretary of War Henry Stimson
1991 Doc Hollywood Dr. Aurelius Hogue
1991-1994 Blossom Buzz Richman TV series, 52 episodes
1993 Sister Act 2: Back in the Habit Father Maurice
1994 Trick of the Eye Harry Pitt TV movie
1995 The Fantasticks Henry Albertson
1998 The Odd Couple II Beaumont
1999 Cradle Will Rock Frank Marvel

Stage productions



  1. ^ "Barnard Hughes Biography". filmreference. 2008. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  2. ^ "Barnard Hughes Dies at 90". Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Retrieved May 28, 2008.
  3. ^ a b "Barnard Hughes". Internet Broadway Database. May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  4. ^ a b "Barnard Hughes". IMDb. May 6, 2022. Retrieved May 6, 2022.
  5. ^ Robertson, Campbell (July 12, 2006). "Barnard Hughes, Character Actor, Dies at 90". The New York Times. Retrieved May 6, 2022.