Tuesday, June 6, 2023

The Late Great Barry Newman

Barry Newman, who starred in the movie Vanishing Point (1971) and the TV series Petrocelli, died May 11 2023 at the age of 92.

Barry Newman was born on November 7 1930 in Boston, Massachusetts. He graduated from Boston Latin School in 1948. He later graduated from Brandeis University. In 1952 he was drafted into the United States Army. He played saxophone and clarinet  in the 3rd Army Band. After he was discharged he attended Columbia University and received a master's degree in anthropology. One of his friends invited Mr. Newman to sit in on an acting class with Lee Strasberg. Barry Newman afterwards decided to abandon anthropology and take up acting, studying with Lee Strasberg himself.

In 1957 he made his debut on Broadway in Nature's Way. The following year he appeared on Broadway in Maybe Tuesday. He made his film debut in Pretty Boy Floyd in 1960. In the Sixties he appeared on Broadway in Night Life? and What Makes Sammy Run?. He made his television debut in an episode of Way Out in 1961. In the Sixties he had a brief, recurring role on the daytime serial The Edge of Night. He guest starred on the shows The Defenders, The United States Steel Hour, Naked City, Armstrong Circle Theatre, and Get Smart. He appeared in the movies The Moving Finger (1963) and The Lawyer (1970). It was in the latter that he originated the role of Tony Petrocelli.

It was in 1974 that Barry Newman reprised the role of Tony Petrocelli on the TV series Petrocelli, which was based on the movie The Lawyer. He appeared in the TV movies Night Games, Sex and the Married Woman, and King Crab. He appeared in the movies The Vanishing Point (1971), The Salzburg Connection (1972), Fear is the Key (1972), and City on Fire (1979).

In the Eighties he was one of the stars of the short-lived TV series Nightingales. He guest starred on the shows Quincy, M.E. and The Fall Guy. He appeared in the mini-series Fatal Vision. He appeared in the TV movies Fantasies, ...Deadline, Second Sight: A Love Story, and My Two Loves. He appeared in the movie Amy (1981). In the Nineties he guest starred on the TV shows Miss Marple; L.A. Law; Murder, She Wrote; JAG; NYPD Blue; and  Cupid. He appeared in the movies Daylight (1996), Next Year in Jerusalem (1997), Goodbye Lover (1998), Brown's Requiem (1998), The Limey (199), Bowfinger (1999), and G-Men from Hell (2000).

In the Naughts he had a brief, recurring role on The O.C. He guest starred on the TV shows The Cleaner and The Ghost Whisperer. He appeared in the movies Jack the Dog (2001), Good Advice (2001), True Blue (2001), 40 Days and 40 Nights (2002), Manhood (2003) and Grilled (2006). In the Teens he appeared in the film Raise Your Kids on Seltzer (2015).

Barry Newman was a very talented actor, something borne out by the fact that his two best known roles were very different. Kowalksi in The Vanishing Point was a reserved Vietnam vet and former police officer who is intent on delivering a 1970 Dodge Challenger R/T 440 Magnum as quickly as possible. Petrocelli was a Harvard educated lawyer who champions those innocent of the crimes of which they are accused. The one thing both characters had in common was that they liked to drive really fast. While both roles were very different, Barry Newman gave remarkable performances in both roles. On Miss Marple, in an adaptation of The Mirror Crack'd from Side to Side, he played film producer Jason Rudd. In Fear is the Key, he played the protagonist John Talbot, a man accused of robbing a bank and killing a police officer who finds himself involved in intrigue. Barry Newman played a variety of roles throughout his career, from lawyers to doctors to yet other occupations, and he did all of them well.

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