Barbara Harris (1935 - 2018)

Barbara Harris
1935 - 2018
updated September 14, 2019
Barbara Harris was born on July 25, 1935 in Evanston, Illinois. She died on August 21, 2018 in Scottsdale, Arizona at 83 years old.

I met her when she was in THE APPLE TREE. We waited for her inside the stage door. The WE was Barbra Streisand and me. Barbra was not communicative. This was the third time I experienced Barbra. But Barbara Harris was warm and sweet and friendly.

Barbara Harris (actress)
Born Barbara Densmoor Harris July 25, 1935
Evanston, Illinois, U.S.
Died August 21, 2018 (aged 83) Scottsdale, Arizona, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1959–1997
Spouse(s) Paul Sills (m. 1955; div. 1958)
Harris performed numbers from the show with John Cullum on The Bell Telephone Hour ("The Lyrics of Alan Jay Lerner", broadcast on February 27, 1966).[citation needed] She had previously appeared on Broadway with Anne Bancroft in a 1963 production of Bertolt Brecht's Mother Courage, staged by Jerome Robbins, at the Martin Beck Theater; the production received five Tony Award nominations.
Harris gave another well-received performance in The Apple Tree, another Broadway musical created for her, this time by the team of composer Jerry Bock and lyricist Sheldon Harnick. The show, in which Harris co-starred with Alan Alda and Larry Blyden and was directed by Mike Nichols, opened at the Shubert Theater on October 5, 1966 and closed on November 25, 1967. The show was based on three tales by Mark Twain, Frank R. Stockton, and Jules Feiffer and Harris starred in all three. She played Eve in Twain's The Diary of Adam and Eve, a melodramatically campy temptress in The Lady and the Tiger, and two roles in Jules Feiffer's Passionella. She was the forlorn, soot-stained nasal-congested chimney-sweep who wants only to be "a beautiful glamorous movie star, for its own sake", and, by virtue of an instantaneous costume-change, the huge-bosomed, gold-gowned, blonde bombshell of a movie star she always dreamed she'd be. Richard Watts Jr. of the New York Post wrote "[t]here are many high triumphs of the imagination in the vastly original musical comedy ... [b]ut it is Miss Harris who provides it with the extra touch of magic." Walter Kerr called her "the square root of noisy sex" and "sweetness carried well into infinity". Harris captured the 1967 Tony for Best Actress in a Musical as well as Cue Magazine's "Entertainer of the Year" award. Of her friend and colleague Mike Nichols, she said in 2002, "Mike Nichols was a toughie. He could be very kind, but if you weren't first-rate, watch out. He'd let you know."
Harris stopped appearing on stage after The Apple Tree, except for the off-Broadway first American production of Brecht and Weill's Mahagonny in 1970, in which she played the role of Jenny, originally created by Lotte Lenya. In the 2002 interview, Harris said, "Who wants to be up on the stage all the time? It isn't easy. You have to be awfully invested in the fame aspect, and I really never was. What I cared about was the discipline of acting, whether I did well or not."
From 1961 through 1964, she appeared as a guest star on such popular television series as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Naked City, Channing and The Defenders. In 1965, she made an auspicious feature film debut as social worker Sandra Markowitz in the screen version of A Thousand Clowns. She co-starred opposite Jason Robards Jr., who played the freewheeling, eternally optimistic guardian of his teenage nephew, the custody of whom is threatened by authorities' dim view of his bohemian lifestyle. The New York Times critic wrote on December 9, 1965 that the movie "has the new and sensational Barbara Harris playing the appropriately light-headed girl". Harris and Robards won Golden Globe nominations. In Neil Simon's Plaza Suite with Walter Matthau, the British entertainment magazine Time Out called the "delightful" Harris' gifts "wasted". She had only slightly better opportunities in The War Between Men and Women with Jack Lemmon, and the screen version of Arthur Kopit's darkly comic Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad with Rosalind Russell as the monstrous mother of Robert Morse who takes the stuffed corpse of her dead husband along on trips. Reviewing the latter film for The New York Times on February 16, 1967, critic Bosley Crowther wrote, "Barbara Harris from the original play cast is as wacky as she was on the stage — casual and direct and totally blasé about the boisterous business of sex. Her tussle to accomplish her purpose, with the corpse falling out into the room every time she is about to score a field goal, is still the funniest scene." She earned an Oscar nomination for the 1971 film (which co-starred Dustin Hoffman) Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?, about a rich, successful, womanizing pop songwriter suffering a debilitating but oddly liberating mental crisis. The script was by Herb Gardner, who also wrote A Thousand Clowns. In 1975, Harris appeared in one of her signature film roles in Robert Altman's masterpiece Nashville, playing Albuquerque, a ditzy, scantily clad country singing hopeful who may be far more opportunistic and calculating than she would first appear. Accounts of the film's chaotic and inspired production, particularly in Jan Stuart's book The Nashville Chronicles: The Making of Robert Altman's Masterpiece, indicate a clash between actress and director. Harris earned a Golden Globe nomination (one of 11 for the film); as Oscar-nominated co-star Lily Tomlin put it, "I was the hugest of Barbara Harris fans; I thought she was so stunning and original." Although the two were set to reunite with Altman in a sequel, that film was never made. The following year, Alfred Hitchcock cast her in Family Plot as a bogus spiritualist who searches for a missing heir and a family fortune with her cab driver boyfriend. Among a cast that included Bruce Dern, William Devane, and Karen Black, Hitchcock was particularly delighted by Harris' quirkiness, skill and intelligence. She received praise from critics as well as a Golden Globe nomination for the film, which was based on the novel The Rainbird Pattern by Victor Canning, and which marked a reunion of Hitchcock with Ernest Lehman, who had created the original screenplay for North by Northwest. In her 2002 Phoenix New Times interview, she admitted that she "turned down Alfred Hitchcock when he first asked me to be in one of his movies". After agreeing to star in Family Plot, she recalled that "Hitchcock was a wonderful man." The film was Hitchcock's last and inasmuch as Harris appears by herself in its final shot (in which she winks at the audience), she has the distinction of being the actor who, so to speak, ended Alfred Hitchcock's long and illustrious career.
Harris continued to appear in films of the 1970s-80s, including Freaky Friday with a young Jodie Foster, Movie Movie for director Stanley Donen, and The North Avenue Irregulars with Edward Herrmann and Cloris Leachman. She co-starred in The Seduction of Joe Tynan with one of her former Broadway leading men, Alan Alda (who also wrote the screenplay), a tale of a liberal Washington Senator caught in an affair with a younger woman, played by Meryl Streep. In 1981, she starred in Second-Hand Hearts for esteemed director Hal Ashby as "Dinette Dusty", a recently widowed waitress and would-be singer who marries a boozy carwash worker named "Loyal", played by Robert Blake to get back her children from their paternal grandparents. The film, based on a highly sought-after "road movie" screenplay by Charles Eastman, was a disaster that tarnished the careers of all concerned. Critic Vincent Canby in his negative New York Times review on May 8, 1981 opined, "[t]he film's one bright spot is Barbara Harris, who plays Dinette as sincerely as possible under awful conditions. She looks great even when she's supposed to be tacky, and is genuinely funny as she tries to make sense out of Loyal's muddled philosophizing, which, of course, the screenplay requires her to match." Harris was offscreen until 1986 when she played the mother of Kathleen Turner in Peggy Sue Got Married. Her last films were Dirty Rotten Scoundrels and Grosse Pointe Blank. Harris retired from acting and began teaching. When asked in 2002 if she would resume her acting career, she said, "Well, if someone handed me something fantastic for $10 million, I'd work again. But I haven't worked in a long time as an actor. I don't miss it. I think the only thing that drew me to acting in the first place was the group of people I was working with: Ed Asner, Paul Sills, Mike Nichols, Elaine May. And all I really wanted to do back then was rehearsal. I was in it for the process, and I really resented having to go out and do a performance for an audience, because the process stopped; it had to freeze and be the same every night. It wasn't as interesting." In 2005, she briefly resurfaced, guest starring as The Queen and as Spunky Brandburn on Anne Manx on Amazonia, an audio drama by the Radio Repertory Company of America, which aired on XM
Harris died of lung cancer in Scottsdale, Arizona on August 21, 2018, aged 83.
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Barbara Harris Biography

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Most Commonly Known Name

Barbara Harris

First name

Barbara

Middle name

Unknown.

Maiden name

Unknown.

Last Name(s)

Nickname(s) or aliases

Barbara Densmoor Harris

Gender

Female

Birth

Barbara Harris was born on in Evanston, Cook County, Illinois United States

Death

Barbara Harris died on in Scottsdale, Maricopa County, Arizona United States

Cause of death

lung cancer

Burial / Funeral

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Obituary

Ethnicity & Lineage

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Nationality & Locations Lived

Unknown.

Religion

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Last Known Residence

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Education

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Professions

Actress

Filmography
Year Title Role Notes
1965 A Thousand Clowns Dr. Sandra Markowitz Nominated—Golden Globe for Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
1967 Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad Rosalie
1971 Plaza Suite Muriel Tate
Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Allison Densmore Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1972 The War Between Men and Women Theresa Alice Kozlenko
1974 Mixed Company Kathy Morrison
1975 The Manchu Eagle Murder Caper Mystery Miss Helen Fredericks
Nashville Albuquerque Nominated—Golden Globe for Best Supporting Actress
1976 Family Plot Blanche Tyler Nominated—Golden Globe for Best Actress – Musical/Comedy
Freaky Friday Ellen Andrews
1978 Movie Movie Trixie Lane Segment: Baxter's Beauties of 1933
1979 The North Avenue Irregulars Vickie Simms
The Seduction of Joe Tynan Ellie Tynan
1981 Second-Hand Hearts Dinette Dusty
1986 Peggy Sue Got Married Evelyn Kelcher
1987 Nice Girls Don't Explode Mom
1988 Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Fanny Eubanks
1997 Grosse Pointe Blank Mary Blank
Television
Year Title Role Notes
1961 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Beth Episode: "Beta Delta Gamma"
1962 Naked City Helga Royd Episode: "Daughter Am I In My Father's House"
1963 Channing Sophie Kannakos Episode: "No Wild Games For Sophie"
1964 The Defenders Margit Wolsung Episode: "Claire Cheval Died in Boston"
1964 The Doctors and the Nurses Anna Faye
Elaine Radnitz Episode: "White on White"
Episode: "So Some Girls Play the Cello"
1977 A Doonesbury Special Joanie Caucus Voice only (animated)
1992 Middle Ages Jean Episode: "Night Moves"
Theater
Year Title Role Notes
1961 From the Second City Broadway debut
Nominated - Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical
1962 Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad Rosalie Won - Obie Award for Best Actress
1963 Mother Courage and Her Children Yvette Pottier
1965 On a Clear Day You Can See Forever Daisy Gamble Nominated - Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical
1966 The Apple Tree Eve - The Diary of Adam and Eve
Passionella - Passionella
Princess Barbara - The Lady or the Tiger Won - Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical
1970 Mahagonny Jenny Off-Broadway production

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Barbara Harris Family Tree

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Barbara Densmoor Harris (July 25, 1935 – August 21, 2018) was an American actress. She appeared in such movies as A Thousand Clowns, Plaza Suite, Nashville, Family Plot, Freaky Friday, Peggy Sue Got Married, and Grosse Pointe Blank. Harris won a Tony Award and was nominated for an Academy Award. She also received four Golden Globe Award nominations.
Harris was born in Evanston, Illinois, the daughter of Natalie (née Densmoor), a pianist, and Oscar Graham Harris, an arborist who later became a businessman.
In her youth, Harris attended Wilbur Wright College. She began her stage career as a teenager at the Playwrights Theatre in Chicago. Her fellow players included Edward Asner, Elaine May and Mike Nichols. She was also a member of the Compass Players, the first ongoing improvisational theatre troupe in the United States, directed by Paul Sills, to whom she was married at this time. Though the Compass Players closed in disarray, a second theatre directed by Sills called The Second City opened in Chicago in 1959 and attracted national attention. Despite Sills and Harris having divorced by this time, Sills cast her in this company and brought her to New York to play in a Broadway edition at the Royale Theatre, opening on September 26, 1961. She was nominated for the 1962 Tony Award, Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance. A life member of the Actors Studio, Harris received a Tony Award nomination in 1962 for Outstanding Featured Actress in a Musical for her Broadway debut in the original musical revue production From the Second City, which ran at the Royale Theatre from September 26, 1961 to December 9, 1961. The revue also featured the young Alan Arkin and Paul Sand. Produced by Max Liebman (among others) and directed by Paul Sills, the production presented Harris in such sketches as Caesar's Wife, First Affair, Museum Piece, and The Bergman Film.
In a 2002 interview with the Phoenix New Times, Harris recalled her ambivalence about even bringing the troupe to New York from Chicago. She said, "When I was at Second City, there was a vote about whether we should take our show to Broadway or not. Andrew Duncan and I voted no. I stayed in New York, but only because Richard Rodgers and Alan Jay Lerner came and said, 'We want to write a musical for you!' Well, I wasn't big on musical theater. I had seen part of South Pacific in Chicago and I walked out. But it was Richard Rodgers calling!" While Rodgers and Lerner were busy working on their original musical for her, she won the Theatre World Award for her role in playwright Arthur Kopit's dark comedic farce, Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad. She earned a nomination for the 1966 Tony for Best Actress in a Musical for On a Clear Day You Can See Forever (1965), a Broadway musical created for her by Alan Jay Lerner and Burton Lane. She starred as Daisy Gamble, a New Yorker who seeks out the help of a psychiatrist to stop smoking. Under hypnosis, the apparently kooky, brash, and quirky character reveals unexpected hidden depths. During her hypnotic trances, she becomes fascinating to the psychiatrist as she reveals herself as a woman who has lived many past lives, one of them ending tragically. While critics were divided over the merits of the show, they praised Harris's performance.[citation needed] The show opened on October 14, 1965 at the Mark Hellinger Theater and ran for 280 performances, earning a total of three Tony nominations.

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1935 - 2018 World Events

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In 1935, in the year that Barbara Harris was born, on August 14, the Social Security Act was signed into law. The purpose was to "provide federal assistance to those unable to work". The law established the Social Security Administration whose primary focus was to "provide aid for the elderly, the unemployed, and children". The Act survived many Supreme Court challenges and the Administration continues until today.

In 1955, by the time she was 20 years old, in January, President Eisenhower sent direct aid to South Vietnam. In February, U.S. advisors were sent to train troops.

In 1974, Barbara was 39 years old when on August 9th, Gerald R. Ford became the 38th President of the United States. He had been Vice President for 8 months when he became President due to the resignation of President Nixon.

In 1984, Barbara was 49 years old when on January 1, "Baby Bells" were created. AT&T had been the provider of telephone service (and equipment) in the United States. The company kept Western Electric, Bell Labs, and AT&T Long Distance. Seven new regional companies (the Baby Bells) covered local telephone service and were separately owned. AT&T lost 70% of its book value due to this move.

In 1998, she was 63 years old when on December 19th, the movie Titanic - based on the 1912 sinking of the ship and starring Leonardo DiCaprio and Kate Winslet - was released. Winning 11 Oscars, it was the first film to gross over a billion dollars and eventually grossed over $2 billion.

Other Biographies

Other Barbara Harrises

Unknown - Unknown
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around 1922 - Unknown
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1878 - 1965
Unknown - 1965
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - 1943
Unknown - 1902
Unknown - Unknown
Aug 24, 1947 - Mar 4, 2013
May 5, 1934 - Sep 1, 2012
Aug 8, 1937 - Nov 14, 2011
Dec 21, 1934 - Aug 20, 2009
Dec 31, 1926 - Feb 19, 2007
Jul 3, 1945 - Oct 7, 1998

Other Harrises

Unknown - Unknown
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Other Bios

May 12, 1919 - Feb 12, 1987
1873 - Unknown
Sep 20, 1805 - May 12, 1863
Jun 20, 1823 - Oct 15, 1863
Oct 31, 1825 - Nov 7, 1868
Mar 18, 1952 - Sep 24, 2002
around Sep 25, 1792 - around Nov 12, 1865
Aug 30 - around 2002
Apr 15, 1817 - Jun 27, 1892
Unknown - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
Aug 4, 1864 - Jun 27, 1931
Unknown - Unknown
1836 - 1866
Unknown - Unknown
1800 - around 1870
Unknown - Unknown
January 1848 - Unknown
Unknown - Unknown
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