BARBARA HERSHEY Biography - Actors and Actresses


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Name: Barbara Lynn Herzstein                                                           
Born: 5 February 1948 Hollywood, California                                           
Barbara Hershey (born February 5, 1948) is an Oscar-nominated and Emmy-winning         
American actress, known for her many film roles.                                       
Born Barbara Lynn Herzstein on February 5, 1948 in Hollywood, California to an         
Irish American mother and a Jewish American father who was a horse-racing             
columnist, Hershey attended Hollywood High School. Her debut came in three             
episodes of Gidget in 1965, which she followed up by being cast in the                 
television series The Monroes (1966). She found working on The Monroes such a         
dispiriting experience that she wrote pseudonymous letters to the producers           
asking that the show be cancelled. In 1967, she also made a guest appearance on       
the hit western series "Daniel Boone" in an episode titled "The Kings Shilling."       
Hershey's feature film debut was in the 1968 comedy With Six You Get Eggroll           
which marked Doris Day's final screen appearance. This was followed by the 1969       
Glenn Ford western Heaven with a Gun, where one of her co-stars was future Kung       
Fu star David Carradine. They became a couple and a prominent symbol of the           
Hollywood counterculture, becoming parents to a child whom they named Free (who       
later changed his name to Tom).                                                       
Later that year came the drama Last Summer, based on the novel by Evan Hunter (better 
known for his police procedurals written under the pseudonym Ed McBain) and           
directed by future Mommie Dearest helmsman Frank Perry. The film received an X         
rating for a graphic rape scene and earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar             
nomination for co-star Catherine Burns. During the filming of a scene for Last         
Summer, a seagull was killed. Hershey felt a sense of personal responsibility         
for its death and went by the name of Barbara Seagull for several years               
professionally in the early 1970s as a tribute to the creature.                       
Her 1970 film The Baby Maker explored the idea of surrogate motherhood many           
years before it became a mainstream reproductive option and reinforced her image       
as a free-spirited hippie.                                                             
This image helped secure her the starring role in the 1972 Roger Corman               
production Boxcar Bertha, which was being directed on a typically low Corman           
budget by a fresh-out-of-film-school Martin Scorsese. During filming, Hershey         
gave Scorsese a copy of her favorite book - Nikos Kazantzakis's The Last               
Temptation of Christ. Adapting that book into a film would become a 16-year           
labor of love for Scorsese, who would eventually cast Hershey as Mary Magdalene       
- though not before making her audition, to prove that she had earned it.             
Hershey's co-star in Boxcar Bertha was once again David Carradine. They would         
later recreate their love scene in a hay-filled boxcar for a Playboy magazine         
In 1976, she starred alongside Charlton Heston in The Last Hard Men. However,         
the hippie label soon became a career impediment and by the late 1970s she was         
appearing in made-for-TV movies like Flood! and Sunshine Christmas. But her work       
in Richard Rush's 1980 critical favorite The Stunt Man - her first big screen         
appearance in four years - began a gradual career renaissance.                         
Her appearance in the 1981 horror film The Entity - where she played a woman           
repeatedly raped by an unseen supernatural force - sufficiently impressed             
Michael Douglas, who a decade later fought to have her cast as his estranged           
wife in Falling Down. She also portrayed Errol Flynn's first wife, actress Lili       
Damita in the TV movie My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1985), based on Flynn's                 
Hershey played a small, but memorable role as a mad woman who seduces and shoots       
Robert Redford's character in The Natural (1984). She also made a large               
impression on Woody Allen, who would later foster her mid-80s career revival by       
casting her in his greatest commercial success Hannah and Her Sisters.                 
She gained increased visibility with performance as Glennis Yeager, wife of test       
pilot Chuck Yeager, in Philip Kaufman's 1983 film The Right Stuff and as Gene         
Hackman's love interest in the basketball film Hoosiers. Hershey followed the         
commercial success of Hannah and Her Sisters with unprecedented back-to-back           
wins for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Shy People and for A World       
For her role in the 1988 Bette Midler melodrama Beaches, she injected collagen         
into her lips - an act that drew negative media coverage.                             
In 1990, she won an Emmy for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special       
for her turn as real-life murderer Candy Morrison in A Killing in a Small Town.       
Throughout the nineties, Hershey made more small independent films and                 
television projects.                                                                   
As Madame Merle in Jane Campion's 1996 adaptation of the Henry James novel The         
Portrait of a Lady, Hershey earned an Oscar nomination and won the Best               
Supporting Actress award from the National Society of Film Critics. In 1999,           
Hershey starred in Drowning on Dry Land with Naveen Andrews - with whom she           
entered into a romantic relationship. During a brief separation in 2005, Andrews       
fathered a child by another woman. He and Hershey have reconciled.                     
In 2001, Hershey was part of a largely Australian ensemble cast for the               
critically successful mystery Lantana, which also starred Kerry Armstrong,             
Anthony LaPaglia and Geoffrey Rush playing a troubled psychiatrist.