Adrienne Barbeau

Adrienne Barbeau

Birth name: Adrienne Jo Barbeau
Born: June 11, 1945
Age: 77
Birthplace: Sacramento, California, U.S.
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Adrienne Jo Barbeau (born June 11, 1945) is an American actress, singer and the author of three books. Barbeau came to prominence in the 1970s as Broadway's original Rizzo in the musical Grease, and as Carol Traynor, the divorced daughter of Maude Findlay (played by Beatrice Arthur) on the sitcom Maude (1972-1978). In 1980 began appearing in horror and science fiction films, including The Fog (1980), Creepshow (1982), Swamp Thing (1982) and Escape from New York (1981). Other films included: Back to School (1986) and Argo (2012). During the 1990s, she became known for providing the voice of Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series (1992-1995), and subsequent Batman cartoon series. In the 2000s, she appeared on the HBO series Carnivàle as Ruthie the snake dancer.

Barbeau was born in Sacramento, California,[1] in 1945,[2] the daughter of Armene (née Nalbandian) and Joseph Barbeau, who was a public relations executive for Mobil Oil.[3] Her mother was of Armenian descent and her father's ancestry included French-Canadian, Irish, and German.[4] She has a sister, Jocelyn, and a half brother on her father's side, Robert Barbeau, who still resides in the Sacramento area.[5] She attended Del Mar High School in San Jose, California. In her autobiography, Barbeau says that she first caught the show business bug while entertaining troops at army bases throughout Southeast Asia, touring with the San Jose Civic Light Opera.




In the late 1960s, Barbeau moved to New York City and worked "for the mob"[6] as a go-go dancer. She made her Broadway debut in the chorus of Fiddler on the Roof, and later took the role of Hodel, Tevye's daughter; Bette Midler played her character's sister. She left Fiddler in 1971 to play the leading role of Cookie Kovac in the off-Broadway nudie musical Stag Movie. Barbeau, as Cookie Kovac, and Brad Sullivan, as Rip Cord, were "quite jolly and deserve to be congratulated on the lack of embarrassment they show when, on occasion, they have to wander around stark naked. They may not be sexy but they certainly keep cheerful," wrote The New York Times theater critic Clive Barnes in an otherwise negative review.[7] Barbeau went on to star in more than 25 musicals and plays, including Women Behind Bars, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Grease. She received a Theater World Award and a 1972 Tony Award nomination for her portrayal of tough-girl Rizzo in Grease.

During the 1970s, Barbeau starred as Carol Traynor, the daughter of Bea Arthur's title character on the comedy series Maude, which ran from 1972 to 1978 (actress Marcia Rodd had originated the role of Carol in a 1972 episode of All in the Family, also titled "Maude", alongside Arthur). In her autobiography, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, Barbeau remarked: "What I didn't know is that when I said I was usually walking down a flight of stairs and no one was even listening to me. They were just watching my breasts precede me." During the last season of Maude, Barbeau did not appear in the majority of the episodes. In a 2009 Entertainment Tonight TV interview, Barbeau mentioned that she had good on- and off-camera chemistry with Arthur; she said that the two stayed close until Arthur's death on April 25, 2009.[citation needed] Barbeau and Arthur reunited on camera during a 2007 taping of The View, reminiscing about their long-running friendship and their years as co-stars on Maude.[episode needed] Then, just 9 years after her TV mother's death, Barbeau said in a 2018 interview with Brainwaves about her on- and off-screen chemistry with her TV mother was: "I was doing an interview for this 1-woman show that I am doing and the interviewer asked that... she asked 'What do people usually ask you,' and I said, 'They always want to know ... What It Was Like Working with Bea?' She was fantastic and you know, I realized years later, how much I took it for granted, because it was my first experience on television... I just assumed that everyone was as giving as she was, as professional a she was that everyone who was doing a TV show, showed up, knowing their lines and showed up on time and was willing to say to the writers: 'I think this line was funnier if Adie had said it, or Conrad had said it or Bill had said it,' I mean, she was just the best, she was the best, very funny, she was not 'Maude,' when she wasn't saying those lines. I don't know if I say she was quiet, she was a homebody. She had her sons, her dog and her cooking and she wasn't into the celebrity scene and she was a great lady. I loved her dearly, and we had a great cast and they were my family for 6 years that I loved each of them and all of them and it was the best experience anyone could've had, being introduced to television, like that!"[8]

Barbeau was cast in numerous television films and series such as The Love Boat, Fantasy Island, Valentine Magic on Love Island and Battle of the Network Stars. In her autobiography, she claimed: "I actually thought CBS asked me to be on Battle of the Network Stars because they thought I was athletic. My husband clued me in: who cared if I won the race, as long as I bounced when I ran?"[9]

The popularity of Barbeau's 1978 cheesecake poster confirmed her status as a sex symbol. Barbeau's popularity stemmed partly from what critic Joe Bob Briggs referred to as the "two enormous talents on that woman",[10] and her typecasting as a "tough broad". Despite her initial success, she said at the time that she thought of Hollywood as a "flesh market", and that she would rather appear in films that "explore the human condition" and "deal with issues".[11]

Barbeau's then-husband, director John Carpenter, cast her in his horror film, The Fog (1980), which was her first theatrical film appearance. The film was released on February 1, 1980, and was a theatrical success, grossing over $21 million in the United States alone,[12] and establishing Barbeau as a genre film star. She subsequently appeared in a number of early-1980s horror and science fiction films, a number of which have now become cult film classics, including Escape from New York (also from Carpenter), Creepshow and Swamp Thing. Of her screen work with Carpenter, Barbeau has stated: "John is a great director. He knows what he wants and he knows how to get it. It's simple and it's easy ."[13]

She also appeared in the high-grossing Burt Reynolds comedy The Cannonball Run (1981), and as the shrewish wife of Rodney Dangerfield's character in Back to School (1986). Barbeau also starred, alongside future talk show host Bill Maher and actress and model Shannon Tweed, in the comedy Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death (1989).


In the 1990s, Barbeau mostly appeared in made-for-television films such as Scott Turow's The Burden of Proof (1992), as well as playing Oswald's mother on The Drew Carey Show and gaining new fame among animation fans as Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series and Gotham Girls. She was also in the ABC show Revenge as Victoria's mother.

She also worked as a television talk show host and a weekly book reviewer for KABC talk radio in Los Angeles. In 1999, she guest starred in the Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges" as Romulan Senator Kimara Cretak. In 1994, she also appeared in the Babylon 5 episode "Spider in the Web" as Amanda Carter.

In 1998, Barbeau released her debut album as a folk singer, the self-titled Adrienne Barbeau. She starred in the cartoon series Totally Spies! doing the voice of villainess Helga Von Guggen in seasons 1, 2 and 4.

From 2003 to 2005, she starred on the HBO series Carnivàle. From March to May 2006, she starred as Judy Garland in the off-Broadway play The Property Known as Garland.[14]

Barbeau played a cameo role in Rob Zombie's Halloween, a "reimagining" of the 1978 film of the same name, written and directed by her first husband, John Carpenter. Her scene was cut from the theatrical version of the film but is included in the DVD version.

In 2009, Barbeau was cast as "The Cat Lady" in the family comedy The Dog Who Saved Christmas, as Scooter's Mom in the 3D animated feature Fly Me to the Moon and as a hospice patient in the love-story, Reach for Me .[citation needed]

Also in 2009, Barbeau had guest spots in the first episode of Showtime's hit series Dexter (Season 4), as well as on Grey's Anatomy.

She voiced the Greek goddess Hera in the video game God of War III released for the PlayStation 3 in March 2010. In August 2010, she began a role on the long-running ABC daytime drama General Hospital. In 2012, she voiced UNSC scientist Dr. Tilson in the highly anticipated game Halo 4, released on the Xbox 360 in November 2012. She voiced characters in the Mad Max video game of the same name.[15]

She appears in Argo (2012), playing Alan Arkin's character's former wife.

She reprised her role as Catwoman in an animated remake of the third trailer for The Dark Knight Rises. This trailer was made to both celebrate the upcoming movie as well as to promote Hub's ten episode marathon of Batman: The Animated Series.

On October 22, 2013, she made a guest appearance on the FX series Sons of Anarchy.

In 2015, she assumed the role of Berthe in Pippin with the Broadway Touring Company of the renowned musical. In the same year she also began to provide the Descriptive Video Service track for visually-impaired individuals for some episodes of the Fox series Empire.

Barbeau appeared on Ken Reid's TV Guidance Counselor podcast on February 19, 2016.

Personal life

Barbeau was married to director John Carpenter from January 1, 1979, to 1984. The two met on the set of his television movie, Someone's Watching Me! (1978). The couple had a son, John Cody (born May 7, 1984) shortly before they separated. During their marriage, the couple lived in Hollywood Hills but according to Barbeau remained "totally outside Hollywood's social circles".[11]

Barbeau married actor/playwright/producer Billy Van Zandt, thirteen years her junior, on December 31, 1992. The two met in 1991 when Barbeau was cast in the west coast premiere of his play, Drop Dead! Billy is the half-brother of musician/actor Steven Van Zandt. She gave birth to twin boys, Walker Steven and William Dalton Van Zandt, on March 17, 1997, at age 51, claiming she was the only one on the maternity ward who was also a member of AARP.[16]

In popular culture

Captain Murphy, a character from the animated television series Sealab 2021, has an obsession with Barbeau and mentions her in several episodes. In the episode "I Robot", he ponders becoming an "Adrienne Barbeau-bot" with laser beam eyes and "D-Cups Full of Justice". In the episode "I Robot Really" Captain Murphy succeeds in having his brain placed inside a robot body which he calls The Barbeau-bot. The Barbeau-bot not only has "D-Cups of Justice" but also chainsaw hands with laser targeting. Barbeau was mentioned in Adult Swim cartoons by the same people as far back as Space Ghost Coast to Coast episode 32 "Jacksonville", in which George Lowe, voice of Space Ghost, is seen as a handyman who has finished caulking a window and is credited as "Adrienne Barbeau".

An episode of Sabrina, the Teenage Witch (season 6, episode 5) features a storyline in which Miles develops an obsession with Barbeau, going so far as to buy a cardboard cut-out of her. Barbeau herself makes a cameo appearance at the end of the episode. Upon meeting her, Sabrina compliments Barbeau for her performance as Senator Cretak in the aforementioned Star Trek: Deep Space Nine episode.

In the Mystery Science Theater 3000 episode featuring the movie The Thing That Couldn't Die, Mike Nelson is being sent people he is thinking of by a race of omnipotent beings in one of the "host segments". The person appears and begins to beat up Mike in a manner similar to Finnegan in the classic Star Trek episode "Shore Leave". Mike thinks of Adrienne Barbeau at the insistence of one of his robot companions. Barbeau is played by Mike Nelson's real-life wife Bridget Jones Nelson.


Barbeau's autobiography There Are Worse Things I Could Do was published in 2006 by Carroll & Graf, rising to #11 on the Los Angeles Times best-sellers list. In July 2008, her first novel, Vampyres of Hollywood, was published by St Martin's Press. The novel was co-written by Michael Scott. The first sequel Love Bites was published in 2010, and the second, Make Me Dead was published in 2015.

  • Barbeau, Adrienne (2006). There Are Worse Things I Could Do. New York: Carroll & Graf. ISBN 9780786716371. OCLC 65432367.
  • Barbeau, Adrienne; Scott, Michael (2008). Vampyres of Hollywood. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312367220. OCLC 184822839.
  • Barbeau, Adrienne (2010). Love Bites. New York: Thomas Dunne Books/St. Martin's Press. ISBN 9780312367282. OCLC 526077059.
  • Barbeau, Adrienne (2015). Make Me Dead. New Orleans, Louisiana: booksBnimble. ASIN B00ZD3K2S4.



Year Title Role Notes
1980 The Fog Stevie Wayne
1981 Escape from New York Maggie
1981 The Cannonball Run Marcie
1982 The Thing Computer voice
1982 Swamp Thing Alice Cable
1982 Creepshow Wilma Northrup Segment: "The Crate"
1984 The Next One Andrea
1984 Terror in the Aisles Stevie Wayne Archival footage
1986 Back to School Vanessa
1987 Open House Lisa Grant
1989 Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death Dr. Kurtz
1990 The Easter Story Mary Magdalene (voice) Direct-to-video short
1990 Two Evil Eyes Jessica Valdemar Segment: "The Facts in the Case of Mr. Valdemar"
1993 Father Hood Celeste
1994 Silk Degrees Violet
1998 Scooby-Doo on Zombie Island Simone Lenoir (voice) Direct-to-video
1999 A Wake in Providence Aunt Lidia
2000 Across the Line Mrs. Randall
2000 The Convent Adult Christine
2002 No Place Like Home Evie
2003 Ghost Rock Mattie Baker
2007 Halloween Her role was cut from the final finished film, but was later included on the DVD Special Edition
2007 Unholy Martha
2008 Reach for Me Valerie
2009 Alice Jacobs Is Dead Alice Jacobs Short film
2012 Complacent Judy Sanderson
2012 Argo Nina / Serski
2015 Divine Access Catherine
2016 ISRA 88 Dr. Withersford
2017 Death House Narrator
2018 Big Legend Rita Laird
2018 For the Love of Jessee Katharyn


Year Title Role Notes
1972-1978 Maude Carol Traynor Regular role (93 episodes)
1976 The Great Houdini Daisy White TV film
1976 Julie Farr, M.D. Allie Duggin TV film
1977 Eight Is Enough Jennifer Linden Episode: "Turnabout"
1977 Red Alert Judy Wyche TV film
1977 Quincy, M.E. Carol Bowen Episode: "Let Me Light the Way"
1977 Have I Got a Christmas for You Marcia Levine TV film
1978 The Fighting Nightingales Maj. Kate Steele TV film
1978 The Love Boat Cathy Randall 2 episodes
1978 Crash Veronica Daniels TV film
1978 Someone's Watching Me! Sophie TV film
1978 Fantasy Island Margo Dean 1 episode
1979 Fantasy Island Brenda Richards 1 episode
1979 The Darker Side of Terror Margaret Corwin TV film
1980 Top of the Hill Elizabeth Stone TV film
1980 Valentine Magic on Love Island Beverly McGraw TV film
1980 Tourist Barbara Huggins TV film
1981 Charlie and the Great Balloon Chase Susan O'Neill TV film
1983 Fantasy Island Adele Anthony 1 episode
1984 Hotel Barbara Harrington Episode: "Tomorrows"
1985 Seduced Barbara Orloff TV film
1985 Murder, She Wrote Kathryn Episode: "Jessica Behind Bars"
1985 Bridge Across Time Lynn Chandler TV film
1985 The Twilight Zone Miss Peters Episode: "Teacher's Aide"
1986 Hotel Ellie Episode: "Shadow Play"
1987 Murder, She Wrote Lynette Bryant Episode: "The Bottom Line Is Murder"
1987 Ultraman: The Adventure Begins Lt. Beth O'Brien (voice) TV film
1989 Head of the Class Gloria Episode: "The Little Sister"
1990 CBS Schoolbreak Special Mary Martelli Episode: "The Fourth Man"
1991 Blood River Georgina TV film
1991 Doublecrossed Debbie Seal TV film
1992 The Burden of Proof Silvia Hartnell TV film
1992 Dream On Gloria Gantz Episode: "Bad Girls"
1992-1995 Batman: The Animated Series Catwoman / Selina Kyle / Martha Wayne (voice) Recurring role (8 episodes)
1993 FBI: The Untold Stories Marguerite Dobson Episode: "Dapper Drew"
1993 ABC Weekend Special Lucinda 'Lucy' Condraj Episode: "The Parsley Garden"
1993 Daddy Dearest Annette Episode: "You Bet Your Life"
1994 One West Waikiki Edna Jaynes Episode: "A Model for Murder"
1994 The George Carlin Show Barbara Rossetti Episode: "George Gets Caught in the Middle"
1994 Babylon 5 Amanda Carter Episode: "Spider in the Web"
1994 Jailbreakers Mrs. Norton TV film
1996 Flipper Sydney Brewster Episodes: "Surf Gang", "The Girl Who Came to Dinner"
1996 The Wayans Bros. Trish Neidermeyer Episode: "New Lease on Life"
1997 Weird Science Lily Episode: "Show Chett"
1997 The New Batman Adventures Catwoman / Selina Kyle (voice) Episode: "You Scratch My Back"
1998 The New Batman Adventures Catwoman / Selina Kyle (voice) Episode: "Cult of the Cat"
1998 A Champion's Fight Nancy Muldenhower TV film
1998 Diagnosis: Murder Vivien Sanderson Episode: "Rain of Terror"
1998 The Angry Beavers Toluca Lake Episode: "The Day the Earth Got Really Screwed Up"
1998-2004 The Drew Carey Show Kim Harvey Recurring role (6 episodes)
1999 Love Boat: The Next Wave Grace Brooks Episode: "Three Stages of Love"
1999 Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Cretak Episode: "Inter Arma Enim Silent Leges"
2000-2002 Gotham Girls Selina Kyle / Catwoman / Det. Renee Montoya (voice) Main role (19 episodes)
2001 Nash Bridges Annie Corell Episode; "Something Borrowed"
2002 Totally Spies! Helga Von Guggen (voice) Episode: "Wild Styles"
2002 The Chronicle Evelyn Hall Episode: "Tears of a Clone"
2002 The Santa Trap Alice TV film
2003-2005 Carnivàle Ruthie Regular role (24 episodes)
2004 Ring of Darkness Alex TV film
2004 Totally Spies! Helga Von Guggen (voice) Episode: "Fashion Faux Pas"
2006 Deceit Kathleen Darrow TV film
2006 Christmas Do-Over Trudi TV film
2007 K-Ville Marquetta Dinovi Episode: "Bedfellows"
2008 Cold Case Helen McCormick Episode: "Wings"
2009 War Wolves Gail Cash TV film
2009 Dexter Suzanna Coffey Episode: "Living the Dream"
2009 Grey's Anatomy Jodie Crawley Episode: "I Always Feel Like Somebody's Watchin' Me"
2010 The New Adventures of Old Christine Herself Episode: "A Whale of a Tale"
2010 Proposition 8 Trial Re-Enactment Dr. Letitia Peplau TV documentary
2010 The Dog Who Saved Christmas Vacation Mildred TV film
2010-2011 General Hospital Suzanne Stanwyck Regular role
2011 CSI: NY Dr. Theola Kumi Episode: "Smooth Criminal"
2012 Revenge Marion Harper Episode: "Lineage"
2013 Sons of Anarchy Alice Episode: "Sweet and Vaded"
2014 Criminal Minds Cissy Howard Episode 221: "Blood Relations"
2015 Revenge Marion Harper Episode: "Two Graves"

Video games

Year Title Role Notes
2006 Marvel: Ultimate Alliance Sif
2009 Batman Arkham Asylum Dr. Gretchen Whistler
2010 God of War III Hera
2012 Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning Ciara Sydanus
2012 Halo 4 Dr. Tillson
2013 God of War: Ascension Aletheia, the Oracle of Delphi
2015 Mad Max Pink Eye

Awards and nominations

Year Association Category Nominated work Result
1976 Golden Globe Award Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Series, Miniseries or Television Film Maude Nominated
2003 Satellite Awards Satellite Award for Best Supporting Actress - Television Series Carnivàle Nominated

[ Source: Wikipedia ]

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