Monday, May 2, 2022

Godspeed Joanna Barnes

Joanna Barnes, who appeared in such movies as Spartacus (1960) and The Parent Trap (1961), and guest starred on numerous television shows, died on April 29 2022 at the age of 87.

Joanna Barnes was born on November 15 1934 in  Boston, Massachusetts. She attended Milton Academy in Milton, Massachusetts. She majored in English at Smith College in Northampton, Massachusetts. After graduation she received an offer to work for Time-Life. She tested for a part on The Ford Theatre as research for a magazine article she was writing. She wound up getting the role and played opposite Louis Jourdan.

In the late Fifties she also guest starred on the television shows Tales of the 77th Bengal Lancers; Playhouse 90; Conflict; Colt .45; Cheyenne; Steve Canyon; Hawaiian Eye; Beach Patrol; M Squad; Philip Marlowe; The Millionaire; The Man from Blackhawk; Mr. Lucky; General Electric Theatre; Alcoa Theatre; Richard Diamond, Private Detective; Dante; Maverick; Hot Off the Wire; Adventures in Paradise; and Bringing Up Baby. Joanna Barnes was a regular on the short-lived show 21 Beacon Street. She made her film debut in The Garment Jungle in 1957. In the late Fifties she appeared in the films No Time to Be Young (1957), Too Much, Too Soon (1957), Violent Road (1958), Onionhead (1958), Home Before Dark (1958), Auntie Mame (1958), Tarzan, the Ape Man (1958), and Spartacus (1960).

In the Sixties Joanna Barnes had a recurring role on the TV show The Trials of O'Brien. She was also a a regular panellist on What's My Line? and also appeared on To Tell the Truth. In 1967 she was the host of the talk show Dateline Hollywood. She guest starred on the shows Michael Shayne, Stagecoach West, The Tab Hunter Show, The Untouchables, The New Bob Cummings Show, The Investigators, Target: The Corrupters, Follow the Sun, Cain's Hundred, Bachelor Father, Laramie, Sam Benedict, Have Gun--Will Travel, The Eleventh Hour, Alcoa Premiere, Empire, The Beverly Hillbillies, 77 Sunset Strip, Arrest and Trial, The Farmer's Daughter, Dr. Kildare, Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre, Mannix, Judd for the Defense, The Name of the Game, and Nanny and the Professor. She appeared in the movie The Parent Trap (1961), The Purple Hills (1961), Goodbye Charlie (1964), Too Many Thieves (1966), The War Wagon (1967), and Don't Make Waves (1967).

In the Seventies Joanna Barnes guest starred on the television shows O'Hara United States Treasury; Alias Smith and Jones; Hawaii Five-O; Cool Million; Love, American Style; The New Perry Mason; McCloud; Marcus Welby, M.D.; Planet of the Apes; S.W.A.T.; Matt Helm; Ellery Queen; Quincy, M.E.; Executive Suite; The Betty White Show; Fantasy Island; Charlie's Angels; The Last Resort; and When the Whistle Blows. She appeared in the movies B.S. I Love You (1971) and I Wonder Who's Killing Her Now? (1975).

In the Eighties she guest starred on the TV series Barney Miller; Hart to Hart; Remington Steele; Trapper John, M.D.; Benson; Murder, She Wrote; Dolly; and Cheers. In the Nineties she appeared in The Parent Trap (1998), playing the mother of the gold digger she had played in the 1961 version. She made a guest appearance on the TV show Then Came You in 2000.

Joanna Barnes was also a successful novelist. She wrote the books The Deceivers, Pastora, Silverwood, and Who is Carla Hart?. She was a book reviewer for The Los Angeles Times and she wrote the syndicated column "Touching Home," about interior design.

Like many of my generation, Joanna Barnes will always be the child-hating gold digger Vicki Robinson in The Parent Trap (1961). She certainly excelled in the role. While she may always be remembered as Vicki in The Parent Trap (1961), she played other great roles as well. In Auntie Mame she played the snobbish debutante Gloria Upson, who is engaged to the title character's nephew Patrick (Roger Smith). In Spartacus she played the bloodthirsty Claudia Marius, one of the Romans for whom a gladiatorial fight is staged at the gladiator training school. Lest one think Miss Barnes never played nice roles, she was Jane in Tarzan, the Ape Man. She also played Lola on 21 Beacon Street, the ever resourceful secretary of private investigator Dennis Chase (Dennis Morgan). In The War Wagon she appears briefly as saloon hostess and old acquaintance of Lomax (Kirk Douglas), yet another character named Lola. Joanna Barnes was a versatile actress who did very well in "bad girl" roles, but could also play other sorts of roles just as well. She was certainly an enormous talent.

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