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Thread: Gene Barry, actor of TV, film and stage, dies at 90

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    Default Gene Barry, actor of TV, film and stage, dies at 90

    Source: New York Times


    Gene Barry, Actor of TV, Film and Stage, Dies at 90

    Gene Barry, who portrayed debonair lawmen on television but whose career
    of more than 60 years ranged from song and dance on Broadway to science
    fiction, died Wednesday in Woodland Hills, Calif. He was 90 and lived in
    Beverly Hills until about a year ago.

    His death, at an assisted-living facility, was confirmed by his daughter,
    Elizabeth.


    Gene Barry, center, who rotated starring roles with Robert Stack,
    left, and Anthony Franciosa in “The Name of the Game.”


    As the dapper star of “Bat Masterson” from 1958 to 1961, Mr. Barry sported
    a derby hat, gilt-tipped cane and spangled vest in the days, as the theme
    song said, “when the West was very young.” (The real Bat, whose full name
    was William Barclay Masterson, was a gambler, gunslinger and marshal who
    spent his later years as a New York newspaperman and died in 1921.)

    In “Burke’s Law” (1963-66), Mr. Barry played the equally insouciant Los
    Angeles police captain, Amos Burke, an independently wealthy crime
    fighter with a mansion, a chauffeur-driven Rolls-Royce and a stream of
    beautiful women. In its third and final season, Burke changed professions
    and the show was renamed “Amos Burke, Secret Agent.” A generation
    later, in the 1994-95 season, Mr. Barry reprised the role, this time as
    chief of detectives.

    Mr. Barry starred as a magazine tycoon in “The Name of the Game”
    (1968-71), in which he rotated starring roles with Anthony Franciosa and
    Robert Stack. He also starred as a wealthy movie celebrity and secret
    government agent in “The Adventurer” in 1972-73.

    He won a Tony nomination in 1984 for his performance as Georges, the
    less flamboyant half of a gay couple, in “La Cage Aux Folles,” the first
    Broadway musical in which the principal lovers were gay men. Mr. Barry
    “proves a most sensitive foil — far more sensitive than you’d ever guess
    from his starring roles on such television series as ‘Bat Masterson’ and
    ‘The Name of the Game,’ ” Frank Rich wrote in The New York Times,
    adding that Mr. Barry sang his love songs “with tender directness.”


    Mr. Barry mixed musical comedy and show-business memories in a show at the
    Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in 1999.


    Mr. Barry said at the time, “I’m not playing a homosexual — I’m playing
    a person who cares deeply about another person.”

    In 1999, the 78-year-old Mr. Barry combined musical comedy with show
    business reminiscences in the Oak Room at the Algonquin Hotel in
    Manhattan, in a show that included among other things a Maurice
    Chevalier impersonation. He had made his nightclub debut in the
    Latin Quarter in 1962.

    Gene Barry was born Eugene Klass on June 14, 1919, in New York to
    Martin Klass, a jeweler, and Eva Klass. He was attending New Utrecht
    High School in Brooklyn when he won a singing contest and a scholarship
    to the Chatham Square School of Music. While studying there, he began
    singing on the New York radio station WHN.

    He soon went from the Catskills to Manhattan bistros to Broadway
    productions, making his debut in the labor musical “Pins and Needles.”
    He also performed in a series of operettas at Carnegie Hall and in
    Broadway productions of “Rosalinda,” “The Merry Widow” and “The
    Would-Be Gentleman.”

    The impresario Mike Todd hired him to play opposite Mae West in
    “Catherine Was Great” (1944). Mr. Barry met his wife, Betty, who
    acted under the name Julie Carson, during rehearsals.

    He left “Catherine” for the musical “Glad to See You” and then moved
    on to straight acting roles, winning a Critic’s Circle Award for his leading
    role in an Equity Library production of “Idiot’s Delight.”

    Mr. Barry signed a Hollywood contract in 1951. Two years later he
    starred in perhaps his most famous movie role, the scientist Dr. Clayton
    Forrester, in the George Pal production of “War of the Worlds,” based on
    the H. G. Wells novel. He also had a role in 2005 as Tom Cruise’s ex-father-
    in-law in the Steven Spielberg remake. His more than 20 movies also
    included “Soldier of Fortune” (1955), with Clark Gable and Susan Hayward,
    and “Thunder Road” (1958), with Robert Mitchum.

    From the 1950s through the 1980s, Mr. Barry appeared in scores of
    television specials and series, including “Playhouse 90,” “General Electric
    Theater,” “The Twilight Zone,” “Fantasy Island,” “The Love Boat,”
    “Charlie’s Angels” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

    His wife of 58 years died in 2003. Besides his daughter, Elizabeth, of
    Los Angeles, he is survived by two sons, Michael L. and Frederick J.,
    both of Topanga, Calif., three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren.

    In an interview with Nan Jarrett for an Internet fan site in 2000, Mr.
    Barry recalled that he was appearing in the final season of the television
    comedy “Our Miss Brooks” when a producer asked him to play Bat Masterson.

    “The idea of playing a saddle-type cowboy was repulsive to me,” he said.
    “Then he told me about the derby hat and cane, and I went by the costume
    department and saw the outfit that Masterson would wear, and I couldn’t
    resist.”

    Warren Beatty: actor, director, writer, producer.

    ***** celeb

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    Elite Member Witchywoman's Avatar
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    AAAAAWWWWW I loved Burke's Law when I was a kid. He was a gentleman. RIP

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