Adrienne Barbeau

Adrienne Jo Barbeau (born June 11, 1945) is an American television, film, character and musical theater actress. A natural brunette, Barbeau came to prominence through her roles as Bea Arthur's divorced daughter, Carol Trainer, in the 1970s sitcom, Maude, and in several early 1980s horror and science fiction films--including Swamp Thing. A sex symbol in during that time, her more notable film work includes The Fog, Creepshow and Swamp Thing. Barbeau was born in Sacramento, California, the daughter of Arman and Joseph Barbeau, who was a public relations executive for Mobil Oil. Barbeau's father was French-Canadian and her mother Armenian-American. She attended Del Mar High School in San Jose, California. In her autobiography, Barbeau says that she first caught the showbiz 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" as a go-go dancer, as well as appearing Off-Broadway in a "nudie musical" called Stag Movie, before making her Broadway debut in Fiddler on the Roof, playing Tevye's daughter, Hodel. She has since starred in over 25 musicals and plays, among them Women Behind Bars, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Grease, as tough-girl Rizzo, for which she received a Theater Guild award and a 1972 Tony Award nomination. During the 1970s, Barbeau had a thriving career on television, first appearing as the daughter of Bea Arthur's character on the series, Maude, which ran from 1972 to 1978. On the series, more attention was given to her breasts than to her acting ability, earning her the vulgar nickname "Adrienne Barboobs" in the media. In her autobiography, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, she remarked: "What I didn't know is that when I said [my lines], 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." Barbeau was also cast in numerous made-for-television films and guest appearances on cleavage-propelled shows 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?" The popularity of Barbeau's 1978 cheesecake poster confirmed her status as a sex symbol. While reviewers have sometimes criticized her acting ability, Barbeau's popularity stemmed partly from what critic Joe Bob Briggs referred to as the "two enormous talents on that woman", and her typecasting as a "tough broad". Barbeau refused offers to appear topless in Playboy, although shots from an early nude shoot (in which she appeared topless) appeared in High Society in July 1980. In some Off-Broadway plays (early in her career), and in several movies, she has appeared topless as well. 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". Barbeau was cast by her then-husband, director John Carpenter, in his 1980 horror film, The Fog, which was her first theatrical film appearance. The film was released in on February 1, 1980 and was a theatrical success, grossing over $21 million in the United States alone, 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. She also appeared in the high-grossing comedy, The Cannonball Run in 1981. Throughout the remainder of the 1980s, Barbeau mostly starred in low-budget fare, like the spoof Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, co-starring Bill Maher. In 1986, she starred in Tomes & Talismans, a library skills series presented as a serialized science fiction story. Barbeau continues to expose her talents in new fields ranging from a one-woman Off-Broadway show, hosting a talk show, to releasing an album of folk songs. In the 1990s, Barbeau mostly appeared in made-for-television films, as well as playing Oswald's mother on The Drew Carey Show and Catwoman on Batman: The Animated Series and Gotham Girls. 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 Kimara Cretak. In 1998, Barbeau released her debut album as a folk singer, the self-titled Adrienne Barbeau. From 2003 to 2005, she starred on the HBO series Carnivàle. From March to May of 2006, she starred as Judy Garland in the off-Broadway play The Property Known as Garland. Barbeau played Barbara Florentine in Rob Zombie's Halloween, a "reimagining" of the 1978 classic 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 will be available when the movie is released on DVD. Adrienne'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-seller List. In August 2008 her first novel, "Vampyres of Hollywood", will be published with St. Martin's Press. Barbeau was married to the director John Carpenter from January 1, 1979 to 1984. The two met on the set of his 1978 TV movie, Someone's Watching Me!. The couple have a son, John Cody (born May 7, 1984) shortly before they separated. During their marriage, the couple remained "totally outside Hollywood's social circles". Barbeau married her current husband, actor/playwright Billy Van Zandt on December 31, 1992. He is the brother of musiciactor Steven Van Zandt, also known as Little Steven or Miami Steve. She gave birth to twin boys, Walker Steven and William Dalton Van Zandt, on March 17, 1997, aged 51.
Adrienne Barbeau Pictures


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