February 16, 1938|
New York City
|Occupation||Actor, director, and writer|
Primus is primarily an actor, but he has also doubled and tripled as writer and director. He worked on stage for the first decade of his career. He gained some experience on TV in shows like The Defenders, East Side/West Side and The Virginian. He then made his screen bow in the Manhattan-filmed The Brotherhood (1968). Additional films include Boxcar Bertha (1972), Autopsy (1975), Heartland (1979), Night Games (1980), Absence of Malice (1981), and Guilty by Suspicion (1991). He had a recurring role on the CBS TV series Cagney and Lacey (1982 — 1988) as Christine Cagney's (Sharon Gless) boyfriend Sergeant Dory McKenna, whose drug problem compromises his value as a police officer. He also guest starred in Murder, She Wrote. 
After working as director Mark Rydell's assistant on The Rose (1979), Primus increased his behind-the-camera activities; in 1992, he directed his first theatrical feature, the "inside" Hollywood comedy/drama Mistress.
A member of the Actors Studio, Primus has taught acting and directing classes at the American Film Institute, The Lee Strasberg Theatre Institute, the UCLA campus, and at The Maine Media Workshops in Maine.
Most notable films:
- The Brotherhood (1968)
- Puzzle of a Downfall Child (1970)
- Von Richthofen and Brown (1971)
- Been Down So Long It Looks Like Up to Me (1971)
- Boxcar Bertha (1972)
- The Gravy Train (1974)
- Autopsy (1975)
- New York, New York (1977)
- Avalanche (1978)
- Heartland (1979)
- The Rose (1979)
- Les Uns et les Autres (1981)
- Absence of Malice (1981)
- Down and Out in Beverly Hills (1986)
- Jake Speed (1986)
- SpaceCamp (1986)
- The Stranger (1987)
- Big Business (1988)
- Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1989)
- Guilty by Suspicion (1991)
- Mistress (1992, writer, director, producer)
- The Legend (2012)
- Memoirs (2013)
- American Hustle (2013)
- Grudge Match (2013)
- The Next Cassavetes (2013)
- Redemption (2013)
Primus has been married to choreographer Julie Arenal for over 50 years. He is of no relation to the rock band Primus (band).
- "Barry Primus biography". New York Times. Retrieved December 13, 2014.
- Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of the Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 279. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
- "Archived copy". Archived from the original on 2010-02-17. Retrieved 2010-04-15.