Wendy Barrie

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Wendy Barrie
Wendy Barrie 1950.JPG
Barrie in NBC publicity photo from her early television talk program The Wendy Barrie Show (1950)
Marguerite Wendy Jenkins

(1912-04-18)18 April 1912
Died2 February 1978(1978-02-02) (aged 65)
Resting placeKensico Cemetery, Valhalla, New York
Years active1932–1962
SpouseDavid L. Meyer
PartnerBugsy Siegel (1942–1943)

Wendy Barrie (born Marguerite Wendy Jenkins; 18 April 1912 – 2 February 1978) was a British-American film and television actress.

Early life[edit]

Barrie was born in London[1] to English parents. Her father, Francis Charles John Graigoe Jenkin KC (1883 – 1936), was an employee of Great Western (according to the 1901 census), who then joined the Royal Fusiliers in 1902. Her mother was Ellen McDonagh. Hollywood gave her a more exotic parentage with her father being a King's Counsel and her mother a Russian-Jewish actress who had performed in the world's first professional Yiddish-language theater troupe. She received her education at a convent school in England and a finishing school in Switzerland.[2]


With James Stewart in Speed (1936)

In 1932, Barrie made her screen debut in the film Threads, which was based upon a play. She went on to make a number of motion pictures for London Films under the Korda brothers, Alexander and Zoltan, the best known of which is 1933's The Private Life of Henry VIII, in which she portrayed Jane Seymour.

In 1934, she appeared in Freedom of the Seas and was contracted by Fox Film Corporation for a film directed by Scott Darling that was made in Britain. The following year, she moved to the United States and made her first Hollywood film for Fox opposite Spencer Tracy in the romantic comedy It's a Small World, followed by Under Your Spell with Lawrence Tibbett. Loaned to MGM, Barrie starred opposite James Stewart in the 1936 film Speed. In 1939 she starred with Richard Greene and Basil Rathbone in the 20th Century Fox version of The Hound of the Baskervilles, and with Lucille Ball in RKO's Five Came Back. During 1939 and the early 1940s, Barrie made several of The Saint and The Falcon mystery films with George Sanders. She made her final motion picture in 1954.


Barrie was a member of the cast of The Jack Haley Show on NBC (1937-1938) and CBS (1938-1939). She was an assistant on the Star for a Night program on the Blue Network (1943-1944), and she was one of the quizmasters on Detect and Collect on CBS (1945) and ABC (1945-1946).[3] In 1956, she had a disc jockey program, the Wendy Barrie Show, on WMGM in New York City.[4] She also hosted a widely syndicated radio interview show into the mid-1960s.[citation needed]


With the dawn of television, in the late 1940s, Barrie turned to roles in that medium. From November 17, 1948, to February 9, 1949, Barrie hosted Picture This on NBC.[5] During 1948 and 1949, she hosted a DuMont Television Network comedy for children featuring a cowboy puppet called The Adventures of Oky Doky.[6]

However, she is best remembered by U.S. audiences as host of one of the first television talk shows. The Wendy Barrie Show debuted in November 1948 on ABC, then ran on DuMont and NBC, ending its run in September 1950. (Another source says the program debuted on DuMont March 14, 1949.[5]: 674  Yet another source says that it debuted November 10, 1948, on NBC.)[7]: 902  That program was replaced by Through Wendy's Window in August 1950. The 15-minute NBC program had Barrie interviewing celebrities and talking about fashions.[8]

Barrie was hostess of the short-lived Stars in Khaki and Blue, a "prime-time talent show for members of the Armed Forces," which debuted on NBC September 13, 1952, and ended September 27, 1952.[7] She continued to appear on network television on panel shows and as a guest star in the early 1950s, and also as a spokesperson for commercial products, including a stint as the original Revlon saleswoman on The $64,000 Question during its first months on air. Her pitching of Living Lipstick saw that product being sold out across the country. Barrie continued on local TV in New York City.

Advertisement for the premiere of The Wendy Barrie Show

In 1953, three television stations owned by Taft Broadcasting Company and Cox Communications formed the short-lived "Tri-State Network" to compete with entertainment programming produced by Crosley Broadcasting Corporation on Crosley television stations in the Cincinnati, Columbus and Dayton, Ohio broadcast markets. On January 11, 1954, a new The Wendy Barrie Show premiered from the studios of WHIO-TV in Dayton, simulcast on Taft Broadcasting's WKRC-TV in Cincinnati and WTVN-TV (now WSYX) in Columbus.[9] Wendy Barrie's contract was terminated in October 1954.[10]


After appearances in more than 15 films in Britain and more than 30 in Hollywood, Barrie's contribution to the industry was recognized with a motion pictures star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 1708 Vine Street, near the corner of Hollywood and Vine. Her star was dedicated February 8, 1960.[11]

Personal life and death[edit]

Barrie became a naturalized American citizen in 1942.[12] She was reportedly engaged to and had a daughter named Carolyn with the infamous gangster Benjamin "Bugsy" Siegel, and at one time was married to textile manufacturer David L. Meyer.

She died in Englewood, New Jersey, in 1978, aged 65, following a stroke that had left her debilitated for several years. She was buried in the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.[13]



  1. ^ "Movie Stars in Color". Illinois, Chicago. The Chicago Tribune. March 15, 1942. p. 10. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  2. ^ Turner, Grace (June 26, 1938). "Follow Your Star ... to Dinner". The Spokesman Review (This Week Magazine). p. 14. Retrieved January 19, 2016.
  3. ^ Dunning, John. (1998). On the Air: The Encyclopedia of Old-Time Radio. Oxford University Press. ISBN 978-0-19-507678-3. Pp. 198, 364, 634.
  4. ^ Sies, Luther F. (2014). Encyclopedia of American Radio, 1920-1960, 2nd Edition, Volume 1. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-5149-4. P. 55.
  5. ^ a b Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1979). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25525-9. Pp. 495-496.
  6. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7. P. 15.
  7. ^ a b McNeil, Alex (1996). Total Television. Penguin Books USA, Inc. ISBN 0-14-02-4916-8. P. 788.
  8. ^ "This Week -- Debuts, Highlights, Changes". Ross Reports on Television including The Television Index. August 20, 1950. p. 1. Retrieved July 31, 2022.
  9. ^ "Form Regional Webs in 3 Wide TV Areas". Billboard. December 12, 1953. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  10. ^ "Form Regional Webs in 3 Wide TV Areas". Billboard. October 30, 1954. Retrieved January 20, 2017.
  11. ^ "Wendy Barrie". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved January 17, 2016.
  12. ^ "Daytona Beach Morning Journal – Google News Archive Search". News.google.com. Retrieved January 14, 2017.
  13. ^ Wilson, Scott. Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed.: 2 (Kindle Locations 25047-25048). McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. Kindle Edition.

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