Barbeau, Adrienne 1945- (Adrienne Jo Barbeau)

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Barbeau, Adrienne 1945- (Adrienne Jo Barbeau)


Born June 11, 1945, in Sacramento, CA; married John Carpenter (a director), January 1, 1979 (divorced, 1984); married Billy Van Zandt (actor and producer), December 31, 1992; children: (first marriage) John; (second marriage) Walker and William (twins). Education: Attended Foothills College.


Actress, writer. Worked as a dancer; San Jose Civic Light Opera, San Jose, CA, performer. Appeared in stage plays, including Fiddler on the Roof,Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee, The Property Known as Garland, and Grease. Appeared in films, including Someone's Watching Me, 1978; The Fog, 1980; The Cannonball Run, 1981; Escape from New York, 1981; Swamp Thing, 1982; Creepshow, 1982; Back to School, 1986; Open House, 1987; Cannibal Woman in the Avocado Jungle of Death, 1989; Father Hood, 1993; Jailbreakers, 1994; Across the Line, 2000; The Convent, 2000; No Place Like Home, 2001; and Deceit, 2006. Appeared in dozens of television movies, including The Barry Seal Story and Burden of Proof, and series episodes, including repeat appearances on Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and The Drew Carey Show; regular cast member in series Maude and Carnivale; has appeared as herself on game and talk shows. Voice for films and television series, including as Catwoman in Batman: The Animated Series, and narrator of nonmusic sound recordings, including Best of Science Fiction and Fantasy, 1991; Beastly Tales, 1992; Mistral's Daughter, 1996; and Internal Affairs, 1996.


Theater Guild award, for portrayal of Betty Rizzo in Grease; Tony Award nominations for roles in Broadway productions of Look at Me, I'm Sandra Dee, and Grease; Lifetime Achievement Award, ShockerFest International Film Festival, 2007.


There Are Worse Things I Could Do (memoir), Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.


Adrienne Barbeau is an actress with an impressive resume. She began as an opera singer, but soon went on to star on stage and in films. Her Broadway debut as Tevye's daughter Hodel in Fiddler on the Roof began a long and successful career, and she was the first to play Betty Rizzo in the stage production of Grease. Barbeau has frequently appeared on television, including in two hit series produced three decades apart. In Maude, she played the daughter of Bea Arthur, and in Carnivale, she appeared as a tattooed snake charmer. The daughter of French and Armenian parents, Barbeau is known for her exotic beauty and for her horror films and others in which she plays a strong woman. First married to director John Carpenter, she appeared in a number of his films, some of which contained parts written specifically for her. Barbeau's second husband, Billy Van Zandt, wrote a one-act play titled The Property Known as Garland, in which she appeared as Judy Garland in the 2006 production. The mother of one son with Carpenter also had twin sons with Van Zandt when she was in her early fifties.

The title of Barbeau's memoir, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, comes from a line in Grease and had its beginnings as the journal she had been keeping since 1957. "Barbeau hits 60 fabulously in this straightforward, muscularly written memoir of the acting life," commented a Publishers Weekly reviewer.

Although she has often been typecast as a sex symbol, Barbeau's favorite role is that of mother. She told Modesto Bee interviewer Marijke Rowland: "I love having children. I loved being pregnant, I loved giving birth. Raising children is the most creative and challenging thing you can do."



Barbeau, Adrienne, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, Carroll & Graf (New York, NY), 2006.


America's Intelligence Wire, February 20, 2004, Bill O'Reilly, "Back of the Book: Interview with Actress Adrienne Barbeau, ‘Message for Bill,’ Viewer Mail."

Kirkus Reviews, April 1, 2006, review of There Are Worse Things I Could Do, p. 329.

Modesto Bee, September 29, 2006, Marijke Rowland, "Fog Star Always Has Found Her Way" (interview).

News & Observer (Raleigh, NC), Craig D. Lindsey, "Adrienne, the Moment and The Fog" (interview).

New York Times, March 24, 2006, Charles Isherwood, review of The Property Known as Garland, p. 3.

Publishers Weekly, March 20, 2006, review of There Are Worse Things I Could Do, p. 46.


Adrienne Barbeau Home Page, (May 9, 2007).

NNDB, (May 9, 2007), biography of Barbeau.