Lynn Bari

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Lynn Bari
Lynn Bari in the 1940s
Margaret Schuyler Fisher

(1919-12-18)December 18, 1919[1]
DiedNovember 20, 1989(1989-11-20) (aged 69)
Years active1933–1968
Walter Kane
(m. 1939; div. 1943)

(m. 1943; div. 1950)

Nathan Rickles
(m. 1955; div. 1972)

Lynn Bari (born Margaret Schuyler Fisher, December 18, 1919 – November 20, 1989) was a film actress who specialized in playing sultry, statuesque man-killers in roughly 150 movies for 20th Century Fox from the early 1930s through the 1940s.[2]

Early years[edit]

Bari was born in 1919 in Roanoke, Virginia to John Maynard Fisher, a native of Tennessee, and his wife Marjorie Halpen of New York. When her father died a year later her mother moved the family to Lynchburg. Here Bari's mother met and married the Reverend Robert Bitzer, a Religious Science minister. Assigned a position with his church in Boston, Bitzer moved the family to Massachusetts. Bari later recalled other children at school in Boston made life miserable for her brother and her, making constant fun of their obvious Southern accents. She determined to eliminate hers, becoming involved with amateur theatrics and taking elocution lessons. Bari was enthusiastic when at the age of 13 she was told her stepfather had been reassigned to Los Angeles, where he later became the head of the Institute of Religious Science.[3]

Her stage name, selected as Lynn Barrie while at dramatic school at 14, is a composite of theater actress Lynn Fontanne and author J.M. Barrie.[4] After reading a story about the Italian city of Bari, she decided to change the spelling.


Bari and Edward G. Robinson in Tampico (1944)
In the film Blood and Sand (1941)

Bari was one of 14 young women "launched on the trail of film stardom" August 6, 1935 when they each received a six-month contract with 20th Century Fox after spending 18 months in the company's training school. The contracts included a studio option for renewal for as long as seven years.[5]

In most of her early films, Bari had uncredited parts usually playing receptionists or chorus girls. She struggled to find starring roles in movies. Rare leading roles included China Girl (1942), Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943), and The Spiritualist (1948). In B movies, Bari was usually cast as a "man-killer", as in Orchestra Wives (1942), or a villainess, notably Shock and Nocturne (both 1946). An exception was the dramatic lead in The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944). During World War II, according to a survey taken of GIs, Bari was the second-most popular pinup girl after the much better-known Betty Grable.

Bari's film career fizzled out in the early 1950s when she was just in her early 30s, but she continued to work at a limited pace over the next two decades, playing matronly characters rather than temptresses. She portrayed the mother of a suicidal teenager in a 1951 drama On the Loose and a number of supporting parts.

Bari's last film appearance was as the mother of rebellious teenager Patty McCormack in The Young Runaways (1968).

She quickly took up the rising medium of television during the 1950s; she starred in the live television sitcom Detective's Wife, which ran during the summer of 1950.[6][7] In 1952, Bari starred in her own sitcom Boss Lady, a summer replacement for NBC's Fireside Theater. She portrayed Gwen F. Allen, the beautiful top executive of a construction firm.[8]

In 1955, Bari appeared in the episode "The Beautiful Miss X" of Rod Cameron's City Detective. In 1960, she played female bandit Belle Starr in the debut episode "Perilous Passage" of Overland Trail.[9]

Her final TV appearances were in episodes of The Girl From U.N.C.L.E. and The FBI.

Commenting on her "other woman" roles, Bari once said "I seem to be a woman always with a gun in her purse. I'm terrified of guns. I go from one set to the other shooting people and stealing husbands!"

Later years[edit]

In the 1960s, Bari toured in a production of Barefoot in the Park, playing the bride's mother.[10] After retiring from acting in the 1970s, Bari moved to Santa Barbara, California. In her last years, she suffered increasing problems with arthritis.

Personal life[edit]

Bari was a Republican who supported Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.[11]

In 2010, in an authorized biography by film historian Jeff Gordon titled Foxy Lady written from interviews completed shortly before Bari's death, she suggests that, despite a 35-year career with over 166 film and television roles, a more promising career was sabotaged by unresolved problems with her domineering, alcoholic mother and three marriages.[12][13]

Bari was married to agent Walter Kane, producer Sid Luft, and psychiatrist Dr. Nathan Rickles. Luft married Bari November 28, 1943.[14] They divorced December 26, 1950.[15] She and Rickles wed August 30, 1955;[16] they divorced in 1972. Bari's first child, a daughter with Luft, was born August 7, 1945 in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, but died the next day.[17] Two years later, she had a son, John Michael Luft (b. 1948). John Michael was the subject of "a bitter custody battle" between Luft and Bari.[18] A judge in Los Angeles ruled in Bari's favor in November 1958, ruling that the Luft household "was an improper place in which to rear the boy."[18]

On November 20, 1989, Bari was found dead in her home of an apparent heart attack.[19] She was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.[20]

Hollywood Walk of Fame[edit]

Bari has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for movies at 6116 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television at 6323 Hollywood Boulevard.[21]


Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
1947 Rexall Summer Theater Starred (with Pat O'Brien) in summer replacement for The Durante-Moore Show[22][23]


Suspense July 24, 1947 “Murder by an Expert”
1952 Screen Guild Theatre "Heaven Can Wait"[24]


  • Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari by Jeff Gordon (BearManor Media, 2010, 500 pp. ISBN 9781593935238)


  1. ^ Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari. BearManor Media. 2010.
  2. ^ "Lynn Bari - Movie and Film Biography and Filmography -". Archived from the original on August 7, 2011. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  3. ^ "Bari, Timid In Role, Is Adventurous Cook". The Lawton Constitution. October 27, 1965. p. 11. Retrieved July 18, 2015 – via open access
  4. ^ Room, Adrian (2011). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  5. ^ "The Hollywood Roundup". The Times. Indiana, Hammond. United Press. August 6, 1935. p. 35. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via open access
  6. ^ "Private Eye". Chicago Tribune. July 23, 1950. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  7. ^ "Flashback: Lynn Bari". Beaver County Times. January 10, 1993. p. 7. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  8. ^ "TV News". July 4, 1952. Cite journal requires |journal= (help)
  9. ^ Briggs, Colin. "A Much Titled Lady". Classic Images. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  10. ^ "Comedy Comes To Coliseum". Brownwood Bulletin. January 23, 1966. p. 21. Retrieved July 18, 2015 – via open access
  11. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers
  12. ^ Gordon, Jeff Adam (2010). Foxy lady : the authorized biography of Lynn Bari. Duncan, Okla.: BearManor Media. ISBN 978-1-59393-523-8. OCLC 700515526.
  13. ^ "Foxy Lady, The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari". Archived from the original on December 5, 2020. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  14. ^ "Marriages". Billboard. December 11, 1943. p. 31. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  15. ^ "Divorces". Billboard. January 6, 1951. p. 28. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  16. ^ "Actress Lynn Bari, Doctor Married". Toledo Blade. August 31, 1955. p. 5. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  17. ^ "Daughter Born Tuesday to Actress Lynn Bari Dies". Chicago Tribune. August 9, 1945. p. 25. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  18. ^ a b "Judge Rules Against Luft". The Victoria Advocate. November 23, 1958. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  19. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 978-1-4766-2599-7. OCLC 1124407501.
  20. ^ "Overview for Lynn Bari". February 25, 2016. Retrieved July 11, 2021.
  21. ^ "Lynn Bari". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  22. ^ "Durante-Moore Replacement". Billboard. March 29, 1947. p. 7. Retrieved July 19, 2015.
  23. ^ "Rex Keeps Schnoz; Acc't Shifts to NBC". Billboard. May 24, 1947. p. 5. Retrieved July 20, 2015.
  24. ^ Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 – via open access

Further reading[edit]

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Lynn Bari". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 26–29. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External links[edit]