Gene Barry was a versatile American actor, singer, and director, known for his distinctive voice, good looks, and magnetic stage presence. He starred in a variety of TV shows, movies, and Broadway productions, captivating audiences with his charismatic performances and sophisticated style.
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Early Life and Education
Gene Barry was born Eugene Klass on June 14, 1919, in New York City, to Russian-Jewish immigrant parents. He grew up in Brooklyn and attended various schools, including Brooklyn College and the Chatham Square School of Drama. He also served in the US Army during World War II, earning a Purple Heart for his bravery in combat.
Gene Barry started his acting career in the 1940s, appearing in numerous radio programs, such as “The Guiding Light,” “The Whistler,” and “The Adventures of Maisie.” He also acted in stage productions, such as “Catherine Was Great,” “The Pajama Game,” and “La Cage aux Folles,” earning critical acclaim for his performances.
In the 1950s, Gene Barry gained national fame for his leading role in the TV series “Bat Masterson,” playing the eponymous Old West lawman with wit, charm, and gun-slinging skills. The show ran for three seasons and made Barry a household name, as well as a style icon, with his derby hat, fancy clothes, and gold-handled cane.
After “Bat Masterson,” Gene Barry continued his TV career, starring in other popular shows, such as “Burke’s Law,” “The Name of the Game,” and “The Adventurer.” He also appeared in many movies, including “War of the Worlds,” “The Atomic City,” and “Forty Guns,” showcasing his versatility as an actor and his range of roles.
In the 1970s, Gene Barry expanded his artistic horizon, directing several plays and musicals, such as “The Unsinkable Molly Brown,” “Fiddler on the Roof,” and “La Cage aux Folles.” He also returned to Broadway, starring in “The Cherry Orchard,” “Company,” and “Noises Off,” proving his talent as a stage performer.
Personal Life and Legacy
Gene Barry was married three times, first to Betty Claire Kalb in 1944, with whom he had three children, then to Julie Carson in 1960, and finally to Susan Morrow in 1990. He was also a devoted philanthropist, supporting various charities and causes, such as the American Cancer Society, the United Cerebral Palsy Association, and the Screen Actors Guild.
Gene Barry passed away on December 9, 2009, at the age of 90, leaving behind a rich legacy in the entertainment industry and beyond. He was praised for his professionalism, his passion for acting, and his contribution to the cultural landscape of America. Fans and colleagues alike admired Gene Barry, who received numerous awards and honors, including a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
Net Worth and Achievements
Gene Barry earned around $3 million from his long and successful career in acting, singing, and directing, which is estimated to be his net worth. He received many accolades for his performances, such as the Emmy Award for “Burke’s Law,” the Tony Award for “La Cage aux Folles,” and the Golden Globe Award for “The Name of the Game.”
Gene Barry’s suave and sophisticated style made him a fashion icon of his time, inspiring many men to adopt his signature look of tailored suits, slim ties, and slicked-back hair. He also popularized the use of a walking stick, which he carried as Bat Masterson, and became a symbol of elegance and masculinity.
Legacy and Influence
Gene Barry’s legacy extends beyond his artistic and sartorial achievements, as he inspired many actors, directors, and performers with his talent, dedication, and generosity. He was a mentor and friend to many in the industry, and his contributions to the cultural heritage of America will continue to resonate for generations to come.
Q: What is his most famous role?
A: His most famous role was as Bat Masterson in the TV series of the same name, which ran from 1958 to 1961.
Q: Was he a singer as well as an actor?
A: Yes, He was a singer and recorded several albums of popular songs, such as “Stay With Me,” “The Tender Trap,” and “I’ll Remember April.”
Q: Did Gene Barry win any awards for his acting?
A: Yes, he won several awards for his acting, including the Emmy Award, the Tony Award, and the Golden Globe Award.
Q: What was net worth?
A: At the time of his death, people estimated Gene Barry’s net worth to be around $3 million.
Q: What was his contribution to fashion?
A: He stylish and sophisticated wardrobe, featuring tailored suits, slim ties, and walking sticks, became a trend-setting look in the 1950s and influenced many men’s fashion styles.
Gene Barry was a remarkable figure in the entertainment industry, who left an indelible mark on the worlds of acting, singing, directing, and fashion. His career spanned over six decades, during which he proved his versatility, charisma, and professionalism, and earned the admiration and respect of his peers and fans. His legacy will always be remembered as a shining example of artistic excellence and personal integrity.