Barry Dennen

Barry Dennen (February 22, 1938 – September 26, 2017) was an American actor, singer, voice actor, and writer. He played Pontius Pilate on the original recording and later in the film of Jesus Christ Superstar.[1]

Barry Dennen
Dennen at a performance of Jesus Christ Superstar
Born(1938-02-22)February 22, 1938
DiedSeptember 26, 2017(2017-09-26) (aged 79)
Resting placeHollywood Forever Cemetery
Occupation
  • Actor
  • singer
  • writer
Years active1968–2017

Life and career

Dennen was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938. In New York City from 1960 to 1963, he had a relationship with Barbra Streisand. They lived together for a year, during which time he helped her develop the nightclub act that began her successful career as a singer and actress.[2]

He moved to London for 15 years and in 1968 landed the starring role of the master of ceremonies in the London version of Cabaret. In 1970, he played Pontius Pilate on the album of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he played the same role in the Broadway production (1971). In the same year, he played Mendel in Norman Jewison's film of Fiddler on the Roof. According to Dennen's website, he suggested to Jewison that he direct a film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jewison did so, and Dennen played Pilate again (1973).

Dennen also played a variety of small parts on American television shows including: Batman, Galtar and the Golden Lance, Tales from the Darkside and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and films, such as Madhouse (1974), Brannigan (1975), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Shining (1980), Ragtime (1981), Trading Places (1983), Superman III (1983), Twin Sitters (1994) and Titanic (1997). He also played auto dealer Irwin Lapsey in Shock Treatment (1981), the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1982, Dennen played the role of Buddy in the TV adaptation of Beau Geste.

Dennen also ventured into voice acting. He portrayed the Chamberlain SkekSil in The Dark Crystal (1982) as well as Tulku in The Shadow (1994). He also did voice work on cartoons such as DuckTales, Batman: The Animated Series, The Pirates of Dark Water, Animaniacs, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He also did voices for many video games, including Fatman in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Master Li in Jade Empire, Police Chief Bogen in Grim Fandango, Mimir in the video game Too Human, Dean Domino in Fallout: New Vegas expansion "Dead Money", The Dark One in The Mark of Kri, the Kangxi Emperor in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, Benedict Burgess Batteric III in Infinity Blade III, Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, and Rubick in Dota 2, and the venerable Odo and meister Glimmerheim in Dungeon Siege III.

He wrote the screenplay for an episode of Amazing Stories titled "The Secret Cinema" (1985) and cowrote an episode of The Comic Strip Presents... titled "Demonella" (1993). His autobiographical book, My Life With Barbra: A Love Story (1997), deals with their relationship and with his gradual realization that he was gay.[3]

In June 2017, Dennen suffered a fall in his Hollywood Heights, California, home and required hospital care. He never fully recovered and died on September 26. His brother is Lyle Dennen.[4][5]

Filmography

Film
Year Title Role Notes
1970The Juggler of Notre DameThe Juggler
1971Fiddler on the RoofMendel
1973Jesus Christ SuperstarPontius Pilate
1974MadhouseGerry Blount
1975BranniganJulian
1977The Kentucky Fried MovieClaude LaMontSegment "High Adventure"
1978Rabbit TestMad Bomber
1980The ShiningWatson
1981Shock TreatmentIrwin Lapsey
1981RagtimeStage Manager
1982The Dark CrystalChamberlain / PodlingVoice[6]
1983Trading PlacesDemitri
1983Superman IIIDr. McClean
1984Memed, My HawkHikmet
1984Not for Publication
1991Liquid DreamsThe Major
1994CliffordTerry the Pterodactyl
1994The ShadowTulkuVoice, Uncredited
1994Twin SittersThomas
1997TitanicPraying Man
2003ManhoodSinging Groom
2014Heavenly SwordFlying Fox / Prophet TakashiVoice[6]
2015Justice League: Throne of AtlantisDefense AdvisorVoice, Direct-to-video[6]
2016Alleluia! The Devil's CarnivalHeaven's DenizenUncredited
Television
Year Title Role Notes Source
1968BatmanFred2 Episodes
1992Batman: The Animated SeriesShadow Agent (voice)Ep. "Off Balance"[6]
1993AnimaniacsCzar (voice)Ep. "Pavlov's Mice"
1999Batman BeyondCaptain (voice)Ep. "Disappearing Inque"[6]
2006The Grim Adventures of Billy & MandyGepetto, Blubbery Joe, Salesperson (voice)2 Episodes
2006Avatar: The Last AirbenderGeneral Sung, Additional Voices2 Episodes[6]
2010The Dalton'sJack Dalton, Peabody (voice)Ep. "Cowed"[6]
2012Star Wars: The Clone WarsKing Ramsis Dendup, Citizen, Rebel (voice)3 Episodes
2013MadShifu, Gatored Community AnnouncerEp. "POblivion/Umbrellamentary"
2013Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum OverloadMandarin (voice)[6]
Video games
Year Title Role Notes Source
1995Wing Commander IV: The Price of FreedomMelek
1998Grim FandangoChief Bogen, 1st Thunder Boy, Blue Casket's Waiter
1999Star Trek: Hidden EvilAdm. Ratok
2001Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of LibertyFatmanEnglish Dub[6]
2002Star Trek: Bridge CommanderGul Oden, Captain Terrik
2002The Mark of KriThe Dark One[6]
2003Prince of Persia: The Sands of TimeVizier[6]
2005Jade EmpireMaster Li
2005Fantastic FourMole Man
2007Law & Order: Criminal IntentCrime Scene Tech, George Bennett, Frederick Grant, others
2007Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning EarthAdditional Voices
2008Too HumanMimir
2009Dragon Age: OriginsUldred, Rogek, Senior Enchanter Torrin
2010Fallout: New VegasDean DominoDead Money DLC[6]
2011White Knight Chronicles IILorias[6]
2011Dungeon Siege IIIThe Venerable Odo, Mayor Moritz Grimmelhaus, Additional Voices
2012Darksiders IIThe Chancellor, Eternal Throne Guard 2, Human Soul 2[6]
2013Dota 2Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, Rubick[7]
2013Infinity Blade IIIBenedict Burgess Batteric III
2014Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIIIPoltae HeadmanEnglish Dub
2014Diablo III: Reaper of SoulsAdditional Voices[6]
2015Final Fantasy Type-0 HDCommandantEnglish Dub[6]
2016World of Warcraft: Legion

References

  1. Donald P. McClarey. "Screen Pilates: Barry Dennen". The American Catholic. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  2. William J. Mann (16 December 2012). "The Gays Behind Barbra (And Nearly Every Other Gay Icon)". Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2016.
  3. Dennen, Barry (1997), My Life with Barbra: A Love Story, Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-57392-160-2
  4. Ramos, Dino-Ray; Gerard, Jeremy (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen Dies: 'Jesus Christ Superstar's Pilate And Barbra Streisand Mentor Was 79". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  5. Geier, Thom (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Actor and Barbra Streisand Ex, Dies at 79". thewrap.com. Retrieved September 27, 2017.
  6. "Behind the Voice Actors – Barry Dennen". Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 17, 2019.
  7. Valve (2013-07-09). Dota 2. PC. Valve.
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