Barbara Rush

Barbara Rush

Rush as part of the Peyton Place cast, 1969
Born (1927-01-04) January 4, 1927
Denver, Colorado, U.S.
Residence Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Nationality American
Education University of California, Santa Barbara (1948)
Occupation Actress
Years active 1950–present
Home town Santa Barbara, California, United States
Spouse(s) Jeffrey Hunter (m. 1950–55)
Warren Cowan (m. 1959–70)
Jim Gruzalski (m. 1971–73)
Children 2; including Claudia Cowan
Awards 1954 Golden Globe Award for Most Promising Newcomer – Female
1970 Sarah Siddons Award

Barbara Rush (born January 4, 1927) is an American Golden Globe Award-winning movie and television actress. In 1954, Rush won the Golden Globe Award as most promising female newcomer for her role in the 1953 American black-and-white science fiction film, It Came From Outer Space.[1] In her movie and television career, Rush has co-starred opposite some of Hollywood's top leading males, such as James Mason, Montgomery Clift, Marlon Brando, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, Paul Newman, Richard Burton and Kirk Douglas. Later in her career, Rush became a regular performer in the television series Peyton Place, and appeared in television movies, miniseries, and a variety of other television shows, including the soap opera All My Children.

Early life and education

Rush was born in Denver, Colorado, on January 4, 1927.[2] Her father, Roy, was a lawyer for a Midwest mining company.[3] She grew up in Santa Barbara, California.[4] She would ultimately attend the University of California, Santa Barbara and graduate in 1948.[5]


Barbara Rush performed on stage at the Pasadena Playhouse[6] before signing with Paramount Pictures. She made her screen debut in the 1951 movie The Goldbergs and went on to star opposite the likes of James Mason, Marlon Brando, Paul Newman, Richard Burton, Dean Martin, Frank Sinatra, and Kirk Douglas. In 1952 she starred in Flaming Feather with Sterling Hayden and Victor Jory. In 1954 she won the Golden Globe Award for "Most Promising Newcomer – Female" for her performance in It Came from Outer Space.[1]

Rush starred as the wife of James Mason in the acclaimed 1956 drama Bigger Than Life, in which a school teacher's use of an experimental drug results in his threatening harm to his family. She was the love interest of reluctant soldier Dean Martin in the war story The Young Lions and of ambitious lawyer Paul Newman in The Young Philadelphians.

Rush began her career on stage and it has always been a part of her professional life. In 1970, she earned the Sarah Siddons Award for dramatic achievement in Chicago theatre for her leading role in Forty Carats[7] and brought her one-woman play A Woman of Independent Means to Broadway in 1984. She began working on television in the 1950s. She later became a regular performer in TV movies, miniseries, and a variety of other shows including Peyton Place and the soap opera All My Children.

In 1962, she guest-starred as Linda Kinkcaid in the episode "Make Me a Place" on the NBC medical drama about psychiatry, The Eleventh Hour starring Wendell Corey and Jack Ging. In 1962–1963, she appeared three times as Lizzie Hogan on the short-lived NBC drama about newspapers, Saints and Sinners. In 1965, she appeared in a 2-part episode of The Fugitive entitled "Landscape with Running Figures" as Marie Gerard. In 1967, she guest starred on the ABC western series Custer starring Wayne Maunder.

She often played a willful woman of means or a polished, high-society doyenne. Rush also was cast in an occasional villainess role, as in the Rat Pack's gangster musical Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964) or in the Western drama Hombre (1967), as a rich, condescending wife of a thief who ends up taken hostage and tied to a stake. She portrayed the devious Nora Clavicle in the TV series Batman.

In 1976, Rush played the role of Ann Sommers/Chris Stewart, the mother of female sci-fi action character Jaime Sommers, in the American television series The Bionic Woman.

After appearing in the 1980 disco-themed Can't Stop the Music, Rush returned to television work. She was a cast member on the early 1980s soap opera Flamingo Road as Eudora Weldon. She also was a character named Elizabeth Knight in the Season 2 debut episode "Goliath" of the 80's TV series Knight Rider. In 1998, she was featured in an episode called "Balance of Nature" on the television series The Outer Limits.

In 1989, Rush toured on stage in the national company of Steel Magnolias as the character "M'Lynn."

Rush continues to make guest appearances on television. In 2007, she played the recurring role of Grandma Ruth Camden on the series 7th Heaven. Peter Graves appeared as her husband in the role of the by-the-book Colonel John Camden.

Personal life

Rush married actor Jeffrey Hunter in 1950 and divorced in 1955. She married publicist Warren Cowan in 1959, but divorced in 1969. Rush married sculptor Jim Gruzalski in 1970 after meeting at an Engelbert Humperdinck concert at the Greek Theatre.[3] They would later divorce in 1973.

Rush has two children, Christopher Hunter (with Hunter) and Claudia Cowan (with Cowan).[8] The latter is a journalist with the Fox News television channel.

As of May 1997, Rush lived in the Harold Lloyd estate in Beverly Hills, California, where her next door neighbor was David Geffen.[9]

Selected filmography



  1. 1 2 Warren 1982, pp. 151–163.
  2. Monush, Barry (2003). The Encyclopedia of Hollywood Film Actors: From the Silent Era to 1965. Hal Leonard Corporation. p. 654. ISBN 9781557835512.
  3. 1 2 "Barbara Rush Maintains Image". The Beaver County Times. Beaver, Pennsylvania. January 16, 1971. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  4. Turner, Diane (September 1, 1967). "Actress Spurns Roles That Disrupt Home Life". Montreal Gazette. Montreal. p. 8. Retrieved October 13, 2014.
  5. "UCSB Notable Alumni". UC Santa Barbara Alumni Association. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  6. Kaufman, Dave (1968). TV 69: Who's Who, What's What in the New TV Season (mass market paperback). New York: Signet. p. 137.
  7. "Barbara Rush Named Chicago Actress Of Year". Park City Daily News. Bowling Green, Kentucky. July 15, 1970. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  8. Hyman, Jackie (March 6, 1982). "Barbara Rush Insists On Glamorous Image". The Schenectady Gazette. Schenectady, New York. Retrieved March 10, 2016.
  9. Stack, Peter (May 25, 1997). "Barbara Rush Still Striking Gold". San Francisco Chronicle. San Francisco. Retrieved March 10, 2016.

External links

Wikimedia Commons has media related to Barbara Rush.
Preceded by
Helen Hayes
Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago
Succeeded by
Irene Dailey
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