Barry Dennen

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search
Barry Dennen
Barry dennen-1531403381.JPG
Dennen at a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar
Born(1938-02-22)February 22, 1938
DiedSeptember 26, 2017(2017-09-26) (aged 79)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
OccupationActor, singer, writer
Years active1968–2017

Barry Dennen (February 22, 1938 – September 26, 2017) was an American actor, singer and writer. He played Pontius Pilate on the original recording and later in the film of Jesus Christ Superstar.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Dennen was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938. In New York City from 1960 to 1963, he had a relationship with Barbra Streisand. They lived together for a year, during which time he helped her develop the nightclub act that began her successful career as a singer and actress.[2]

He moved to London for 15 years and in 1968 landed the starring role of the master of ceremonies in the London version of Cabaret. In 1970, he played Pontius Pilate on the album of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he played the same role in the Broadway production (1971). In the same year, he played Mendel in Norman Jewison's film of Fiddler on the Roof. According to Dennen's website, he suggested to Jewison that he direct a film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jewison did so, and Dennen played Pilate again (1973).

Dennen also played a variety of small parts on American television shows including: Batman, Galtar and the Golden Lance, Tales from the Darkside and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and films, such as Madhouse (1974), Brannigan (1975), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Shining (1980), Ragtime (1981), Trading Places (1983), Superman III (1983), Twin Sitters (1994) and Titanic (1997). He also played auto dealer Irwin Lapsey in Shock Treatment (1981), the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1982, Dennen played the role of Buddy in the TV adaptation of Beau Geste.

He was the voice actor who portrayed the Chamberlain SkekSil in The Dark Crystal (1982) as well as Tulku in The Shadow (1994). He also did voice work on cartoons such as DuckTales, Batman: The Animated Series, The Pirates of Dark Water, Animaniacs, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He also did voices for many video games, including Fatman in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Master Li in Jade Empire, Police Chief Bogen in Grim Fandango, Mimir in the video game Too Human, Dean Domino in Fallout: New Vegas expansion "Dead Money", The Dark One in The Mark of Kri, the Kangxi Emperor in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, Benedict Burgess Batteric III in Infinity Blade III, Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, and Rubick in Dota 2, and the venerable Odo and meister Glimmerheim in Dungeon Siege III.

He wrote the screenplay for an episode of Amazing Stories titled "The Secret Cinema" (1985) and cowrote an episode of The Comic Strip Presents... titled "Demonella" (1993). His autobiographical book, My Life With Barbra: A Love Story (1997), deals with their relationship and with his gradual realization that he was gay.[3]

In June 2017, Dennen suffered a fall in his Hollywood Heights, California, home and required hospital care. He never fully recovered and died on September 26.[4][5]



  1. ^ Donald P. McClarey. "Screen Pilates: Barry Dennen". The American Catholic. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. ^ William J. Mann (16 December 2012). "The Gays Behind Barbra (And Nearly Every Other Gay Icon)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  3. ^ Dennen, Barry (1997), My Life with Barbra: A Love Story, Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-57392-160-2
  4. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray; Gerard, Jeremy (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen Dies: 'Jesus Christ Superstar's Pilate And Barbra Streisand Mentor Was 79". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  5. ^ Geier, Thom (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Actor and Barbra Streisand Ex, Dies at 79". Retrieved September 27, 2017.

External links[edit]