Barbara Barrie

I enrolled at the University of Texas in 1950 during a post-war period that produced many talented individuals. Harvey Schmidt, Tom Jones, Liz Smith, Robert Benton, Pat Hingle, Word Baker, Kathryn Grant (later Mrs. Bing Crosby), and I all graduated with degrees in drama. We did lots of dance concerts with Shirley Dodge, who was an instructor there at the time, and when Iden Payne directed Much Ado About Nothing, I played Beatrice. Another of my fellow students was Rip Torn, who was always saying there had to be a simpler way to act—there had to be a way of doing it more truthfully. We had one professor named Francis Hodge, who believed the same thing: He would say, “Do less with more,” meaning gesture less and feel more deeply. But Rip just did it, and kept losing parts because it wasn’t the usual way of acting.

Oscar and Tony award–nominee Barbara Barrie grew up in Corpus Christi. This month her autobiography, Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures, will be published by Scribner’s, and she begins her second season playing the grandmother of Brooke Shields’s character on the NBC sitcom Suddenly Susan.

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