Lynn Bari (born Margaret Schuyler Fisher, December 18, 1913 – November 20, 1989) was a film actress who specialized in playing sultry, statuesque man-killers in roughly 150 20th Century Fox films from the early 1930s through the 1940s.
Margaret Schuyler Fisher
December 18, 1913
Roanoke, Virginia, U.S.
|Died||November 20, 1989 75) (aged|
Santa Monica, California, U.S.
(m. 1939; div. 1943)
(m. 1943; div. 1950)
(m. 1955; div. 1972)
Bari was one of 14 young women "launched on the trail of film stardom" August 6, 1935, when they each received a six-month contract with 20th Century Fox after spending 18 months in the company's training school. The contracts included a studio option for renewal for as long as seven years.
In most of her early films, Bari had uncredited parts usually playing receptionists or chorus girls. She struggled to find starring roles in films, but accepted any work she could get. Rare leading roles included China Girl (1942), Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943), and The Spiritualist (1948). In B movies, Bari was usually cast as a villainess, notably Shock and Nocturne (both 1946). An exception was The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944). During WWII, according to a survey taken of GIs, Bari was the second-most popular pinup girl after the much better-known Betty Grable.
Bari's film career fizzled out in the early 1950s as she was approaching her 40th birthday, although she continued to work at a more limited pace over the next two decades, now playing matronly characters rather than temptresses. She portrayed the mother of a suicidal teenager in a 1951 drama, On the Loose, plus a number of supporting parts.
She quickly took up the rising medium of television during the '50s, which began when she starred in the live television sitcom Detective's Wife, which ran during the summer of 1950. In 1952, Bari starred in her own situation comedy, Boss Lady, a summer replacement for NBC's Fireside Theater. She portrayed Gwen F. Allen, the beautiful top executive of a construction firm. Not the least of her troubles in the role was being able to hire a general manager who did not fall in love with her.
In 1955, Bari appeared in the episode "The Beautiful Miss X" of Rod Cameron's syndicated crime drama City Detective. In 1960, she played female bandit Belle Starr in the debut episode "Perilous Passage" of the NBC western series Overland Trail starring William Bendix and Doug McClure and with fellow guest star Robert J. Wilke as Cole Younger.
Commenting on her "other woman" roles, Bari once said, "I seem to be a woman always with a gun in her purse. I'm terrified of guns. I go from one set to the other shooting people and stealing husbands!"
Bari was the only daughter of John Maynard Fisher, a native of Tennessee, and his wife, Marjorie Halpen of New York. She had a younger brother, John. Fisher died in 1920, and his widow moved the family to Lynchburg, Virginia. Here Bari's mother met and married the Reverend Robert Bizer, a Religious Science minister. Assigned a position with his church in Boston, Bizer moved the family to Massachusetts. Bari later recalled other children at school in Boston made life miserable for her brother and her, making constant fun of their obvious Southern accents. She determined to eliminate hers, becoming involved with amateur theatrics and taking elocution lessons. Bari was enthusiastic when at the age of 13 she was told her stepfather had been reassigned to Los Angeles, where he later became the head of the Institute of Religious Science.
Her stage name, selected as 'Lynn Barrie' while at dramatic school at 14, is a composite of theater actress Lynn Fontanne and author J. M. Barrie. After reading a story about the Italian city of Bari, she decided to change the spelling.
In 2010, in an authorized biography by film historian Jeff Gordon titled Foxy Lady written from interviews completed shortly before Bari's death, she suggests that, despite a 35 year career with over 166 film and television roles, a more promising career was sabotaged by unresolved problems with her domineering, alcoholic mother and three marriages.
Marriages and children
Bari was married to agent Walter Kane, producer Sid Luft, and psychiatrist Dr. Nathan Rickles. Luft married Bari November 28, 1943. They divorced December 26, 1950. She and Rickles wed August 30, 1955; they divorced in 1972. Bari's first child, a daughter with Luft, was born August 7, 1945, in St. John's Hospital in Santa Monica, California, but died the next day. Two years later, she had a son, John Michael Luft (b. 1948). John Michael was the subject of "a bitter custody battle" between Luft and Bari. A judge in Los Angeles ruled in Bari's favor in November 1958, ruling that the Luft household "was an improper place in which to rear the boy."
In the 1960s, Bari toured in a production of Barefoot in the Park, playing the bride's mother. After retiring from acting in the 1970s, Bari moved to Santa Monica, California. In her last years, she suffered increasing problems with arthritis.
On November 20, 1989, Bari was found dead in her home of an apparent heart attack. She was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.
Hollywood Walk of Fame
- Meet the Baron (1933) as College Girl
- Dancing Lady (1933) as Chorus Girl
- I Am Suzanne (1933) as Audience Member
- Search for Beauty (1934) as Beauty Contestant Entrant
- Caravan (1934) as Blonde Gypsy Girl at Inn
- David Harum (1934) as Young Townswoman
- Coming Out Party (1934) as Party Guest
- Bottoms Up (1934) as Chorine
- Stand Up and Cheer! (1934) as White House Secretary / Chorine
- Handy Andy (1934) as Girl at Train Station
- 365 Nights in Hollywood (1934) as Showgirl
- Music in the Air (1934) as Dancer
- Charlie Chan in Paris (1935) as Club Patron
- Under Pressure (1935) as Blonde Brooklyn Girl
- The Great Hotel Murder (1935) as Wilson's Receptionist
- George White's 1935 Scandals (1935) as Chorine
- Ten Dollar Raise (1935) as Secretary
- Spring Tonic (1935) as Bridesmaid
- Doubting Thomas (1935) as Aspiring Actress
- The Daring Young Man (1935) as Bridesmaid
- Dante's Inferno (1935) as Beach Girl
- Curly Top (1935) as Amusement Park Patron
- Welcome Home (1935) as Bridesmaid
- Orchids to You (1935) as Southern Belle Shop Patron
- Redheads on Parade (1935) as Waitress
- Ladies Love Danger (1935) as Chorus Girl
- The Gay Deception (1935) as Royal Banquet Extra / Dance Extra
- Charlie Chan in Shanghai (1935) as Second Hotel Switchboard Operator
- Way Down East (1935) as Dancing Girl at Party
- Metropolitan (1935) as Chorus Girl
- Music Is Magic (1935) as Theatre Cashier
- Thanks a Million (1935) as Phone Operator
- The Man Who Broke the Bank at Monte Carlo (1935) as Flower Girl
- Show Them No Mercy! (1935) as Crowd Scene Member
- Professional Soldier (1935) as Gypsy Dancer
- King of Burlesque (1936) as Dancer
- My Marriage (1936) as Pat
- It Had to Happen (1936) as Secretary
- Song and Dance Man (1936) as Showgirl
- Everybody's Old Man (1936) as Secretary, Miss Burke
- The Great Ziegfeld (1936) as Ziegfeld Girl
- Gentle Julia (1936) as Young Lady Outside Church / Jealous Girl at Dance
- Private Number (1936) as Gambler
- Poor Little Rich Girl (1936) as Radio Station Receptionist
- 36 Hours to Kill (1936) as Traveler
- Girls' Dormitory (1936) as Student
- Sing, Baby, Sing (1936) as Hotel Telephone Operator
- Star for a Night (1936) as Chorus Girl
- Ladies in Love (1936) as Dress Shop Clerk
- 15 Maiden Lane (1936) as Crowd Scene Participant
- Pigskin Parade (1936) as Football Game Spectator
- Under Your Spell (1936) as Airplane Passenger
- Crack-Up (1936) as Office Worker
- Woman-Wise (1937) as Secretary
- On the Avenue (1937) as Chorus Girl / Mrs. Mary Jackson
- Time Out for Romance (1937) as Bridesmaid
- Love Is News (1937) as 'Babe' - Switchboard Operator
- Fair Warning (1937) as Candy Counter Girl
- Cafe Metropole (1937) as Cafe Patron
- This Is My Affair (1937) as Party Guest with Keller
- Sing and Be Happy (1937) as Secretary
- Wee Willie Winkie (1937) as Crowd Scene Participant
- She Had to Eat (1937) as Crowd Scene Participant
- Wake Up and Live (1937) as Chorus Girl
- The Lady Escapes (1937) as Bridesmaid
- You Can't Have Everything (1937) as Chorus Girl
- Wife, Doctor and Nurse (1937) as Party Girl
- Life Begins in College (1937) as Coed
- Lancer Spy (1937) as Miss Fenwick
- Ali Baba Goes to Town (1937) as Harem Girl
- 45 Fathers (1937) as Telephone Operator
- Love and Hisses (1937) as Nightclub Patron
- City Girl (1938) as Waitress
- The Baroness and the Butler (1938) as Klari - Maid
- Walking Down Broadway (1938) as Sandra De Voe
- Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm (1938) as Myrtle
- Mr. Moto's Gamble (1938) as Penny Kendall
- Battle of Broadway (1938) as Marjorie Clark
- Josette (1938) as Mrs. Elaine Dupree
- Speed to Burn (1938) as Marion Clark
- Always Goodbye (1938) as Jessica Reid
- I'll Give a Million (1938) as Cecelia
- Meet the Girls (1938) as Terry Wilson
- Sharpshooters (1938) as Dianne Woodward
- Pardon Our Nerve (1939) as Terry Wilson
- The Return of the Cisco Kid (1939) as Ann Carver
- Chasing Danger (1939) as Renée Claire
- News Is Made at Night (1939) as Maxine Thomas
- Hotel for Women (1939) as Barbara Hunter
- Hollywood Cavalcade (1939) as Actress in 'The Man Who Came Back'
- Pack Up Your Troubles (1939) as Yvonne
- Charlie Chan in City in Darkness (1939) as Marie Dubon
- City of Chance (1940) as Julie Reynolds
- Free, Blonde and 21 (1940) as Carol Northrup
- Lillian Russell (1940) as Edna McCauley
- Earthbound (1940) as Linda Reynolds
- Pier 13 (1940) as Sally Kelly
- Kit Carson (1940) as Dolores Murphy
- Charter Pilot (1940) as Marge Duncan
- Sleepers West (1941) as Kay Bentley
- Blood and Sand (1941) as Encarnacion
- Sun Valley Serenade (1941) as Vivian Dawn
- We Go Fast (1941) as Rose Coughlin
- Moon Over Her Shoulder (1941) as Susan Rossiter
- The Perfect Snob (1941) as Chris Mason
- The Night Before the Divorce (1942) as Lynn Nordyke
- Secret Agent of Japan (1942) as Kay Murdock
- The Falcon Takes Over (1942) as Ann Riordan
- The Magnificent Dope (1942) as Claire Harris
- Orchestra Wives (1942) as Jaynie Stevens
- China Girl (1942) as Captain Fifi
- Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943) as Bernice Croft
- The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944) as Michaela Villegas
- Tampico (1944) as Katherine 'Kathy' Hall
- Sweet and Low-Down (1944) as Pat Stirling
- Captain Eddie (1945) as Adelaide Frost Rickenbacker
- Shock (1946) as Nurse Elaine Jordan
- Home Sweet Homicide (1946) as Marian Carstairs
- Margie (1946) as Miss Isabel Palmer
- Nocturne (1946) as Frances Ransom
- Man From Texas (1948) as Zee Simms - alias Zee Heath
- The Amazing Mr. X (1948) as Christine Faber
- The Kid from Cleveland (1949) as Katherine Jackson
- I'd Climb the Highest Mountain (1951) as Mrs. Billywith
- On the Loose (1951) as Alice Bradley
- Sunny Side of the Street (1951) as Mary
- I Dream of Jeanie (1952) as Mrs. McDowell
- Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952) as Harriet Blaisdell
- Francis Joins the WACS (1954) as Maj. Louise Simpson
- Abbott and Costello Meet the Keystone Kops (1955) as Leota Van Cleef
- Science Fiction Theater (1955, TV Series) as Verda Wingate
- The Women of Pitcairn Island (1956) as Maimiti
- Damn Citizen (1958) as Pat Noble
- Elfego Baca: Six Gun Law (1962) as Mrs. Simmons
- Trauma (1962) as Helen Garrison
- The Young Runaways (1968) as Mrs. Donford
|1947||Rexall Summer Theater||Starred (with Pat O'Brien) in summer replacement for The Durante-Moore Show|
||Suspense||July 24, 1947 “Murder by an Expert”|
|1952||Screen Guild Theatre||"Heaven Can Wait"|
- Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari by Jeff Gordon (BearManor Media, 2010, 500 pp. ISBN 9781593935238)
- Allmovie listing
- "Bari, Timid In Role, Is Adventurous Cook". The Lawton Constitution. October 27, 1965. p. 11. Retrieved July 18, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "The Hollywood Roundup". The Times. Indiana, Hammond. United Press. August 6, 1935. p. 35. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Private Eye". Chicago Tribune. July 23, 1950. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Flashback: Lynn Bari". Beaver County Times. January 10, 1993. p. 7. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "TV News". July 4, 1952. Cite journal requires
- "List of episodes at CTVA". Archived from the original on 2013-09-08. Retrieved 2013-07-30.
- Briggs, Colin. "A Much Titled Lady". Classic Images. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Room, Adrian (2011). Dictionary of Pseudonyms: 13,000 Assumed Names and Their Origins (5th ed.). McFarland & Company. p. 47. ISBN 978-0-7864-4373-4. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- Amazon listing - Foxy Lady authorized biography
- Foxy Lady
- "Marriages". Billboard. December 11, 1943. p. 31. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Divorces". Billboard. January 6, 1951. p. 28. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Actress Lynn Bari, Doctor Married". Toledo Blade. August 31, 1955. p. 5. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Daughter Born Tuesday to Actress Lynn Bari Dies". Chicago Tribune. August 9, 1945. p. 25. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Judge Rules Against Luft". The Victoria Advocate. November 23, 1958. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Comedy Comes To Coliseum". Brownwood Bulletin. January 23, 1966. p. 21. Retrieved July 18, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- TCM listing
- "Lynn Bari". Hollywood Walk of Fame. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- IMDB listing
- "Durante-Moore Replacement". Billboard. March 29, 1947. p. 7. Retrieved 19 July 2015.
- "Rex Keeps Schnoz; Acc't Shifts to NBC". Billboard. May 24, 1947. p. 5. Retrieved 20 July 2015.
- Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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