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Barber in Second Chorus, 1940
|Born||December 18, 1894|
New York City, New York, U.S.
|Died||May 24, 1976 (aged 81)|
Seal Beach, California, U.S.
Barber was often used by Bud Abbott and Lou Costello as a form of "court jester" on the set of their films. It was his job to keep the energy level up with pranks and practical jokes. Sometimes, he even suddenly appeared on camera during a take to break up the cast and crew. In Abbott and Costello Meet Frankenstein (1948), Costello answers a knock at the door expecting to see large actor Lon Chaney Jr. Instead, the very short Barber walks in wearing a funny hat with a feather. In another outtake from that film, Bela Lugosi, in full Dracula regalia, is solemnly descending a staircase to meet Abbott and Costello when all of a sudden the actors and crew burst out laughing. Lugosi, annoyed, turns around to see Barber following right behind him, mimicking his steps.
Barber also appeared in bit parts, such as a delivery boy, waiter, bellhop, or man on the street, often uncredited in movies, and in many of Abbott and Costello's films and about half their television shows. Sometimes his likeness was in a picture on a wall or a "wanted" poster in a post office. His final film appearance was in Lou Costello's last movie, The 30 Foot Bride of Candy Rock (1959). His film career included bit parts in over 100 (known) feature films.
Following the death of Lou Costello's father, Costello became very close with Barber, including him in various antics off set, such as going out for ice cream for breakfast. Barber died in 1976 in California, at age 81.
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