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Born in Chicago, and raised in Corpus Christi, Texas, Barbara Barrie began performing during her childhood in local civic productions. She went on to earn a B.F.A. at the University of Texas in Austin, where her classmates included actor Rip Torn, director Robert Benton and columnist Liz Smith. After graduating, she moved to New York to try her luck and, although she occasionally fell back on her secretarial skills to support herself, she started winning parts within the first year.
Barrie appeared on Broadway in numerous productions including "Company" (for which she earned a Tony Award nomination), "Prisoner of Second Avenue," "California Suite" and "The Selling of the President." She also starred in the off-Broadway productions of "The Beaux' Stratagem," "The Crucible," "Mi Vida Loca," "Love Letters" and "The Killdeer," for which she won an Obie and a Drama Desk Award. Additionally, she was seen in "The Taming of the Shrew," "All's Well That Ends Well" and as Viola, one of her favorite characters, in "Twelfth Night" for New York City's Shakespeare in the Park. She performed with the American Shakespeare Company in Stratford, Conn., for two season, where she was seen in "The Winter's Tale," "Romeo and Juliet," and "A Midsummer Night's Dream."
An Academy Award nominee for her role in "Breaking Away," Barrie's additional feature-film credits include "One Potato, Two Potato," which earned her the Cannes Film Festival Award for Best Actress, "Private Benjamin," "End of the Line" and "The Bell Jar."
On television she is known for her role as Hal Linden's wife, Elizabeth Miller, in the award-winning series "Barney Miller" as well as for her Emmy-nominated role in "Breaking Away." Barrie also made guest-starring appearances on "thirtysomething," "Family Ties," "Mary Tyler Moore," "The Commish" and an Emmy-nominated role on "Law & Order." She starred in the PBS movies "To Be Young, Gifted and Black," "Palm Tree in a Rose Garden," "Working" and the HBO version of "Barefoot in the Park." Barrie also appeared in the television movies "Scarlett," "Roots, Part II," "My Breast," "An American Romance" and "Summer of My German Soldier," among others.
She recently completed "After-Play" for the Manhattan Theater Club and is now working on the animated Disney film "Hercules."
Barrie has also written two books for young adults for Delacorte Press, "Lone Star" and "Adam Zigzag." She is currently completing her memoirs, scheduled to be published by Scribner in 1997. Married to Jay Harnick, the artistic director of Theatreworks/USA, Barrie lives in New York and has two children, Jane and Aaron.
Barbara Barrie's birthday is May 23.