Nationality: American. Born: Barbara Herzstein in Hollywood, California, 5 February 1948. Family: Lived with the actor David Carradine, 1969–75, one son (Free, who changed his name to Tom at age nine); married Stephen Douglas, 1992 (divorced 1993). Education: Attended Hollywood High School. Career: 1966–67—regular on TV series The Monroes; 1968—made screen debut in With Six You Get Eggroll; 1973—changed name to Barbara Seagull, a name she kept for two years; 1979—in TV mini-series A Man Called Intrepid and From Here to Eternity; 1993—in TV mini-series Return to Lonesome Dove. Awards: Best Actress, Cannes Festival, for Shy People, 1987; Co-Best Actress, Cannes Festival, for A World Apart, 1988; Emmy Award, Best Dramatic Actress, for A Killing in a Small Town, 1990. Agent: Creative Artists Agency, 9830 Wilshire Boulevard, Beverly Hills, CA 90212, U.S.A.
Films as Actress:
(as Barbara Hershey)
With Six You Get Eggroll (Morris) (as Stacey Iverson); Yours, Mine and Ours (Shavelson)
Heaven with a Gun (Katzin) (as Leloopa); Last Summer (Perry) (as Sandy)
The Liberation of L. B. Jones (Wyler) (as Nella Mundine); The Baby Maker (Bridges) (as Tish Gray)
The Pursuit of Happiness (Mulligan) (as Jane Kauffman)
Dealing: Or the Berkeley-to-Boston Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues (Williams) (as Susan); Boxcar Bertha (Scorsese) (title role)
Time to Run (Adamson)
(as Barbara Seagull)
The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (Vrooder's Hooch) (Hiller) (as Zanni)
Love Comes Quietly (Angela) (van der Heyde) (as Angela); You and Me (Carradine); Diamonds (Golan) (as Sally)
(as Barbara Hershey)
Dirty Knight's Work (Trial by Combat; Choice of Weapons) (Connor) (as Marion); The Last Hard Men (McLaglen) (as Susan Burgade); Flood! (Bellamy—for TV) (as Mary Cutler)
In the Glitter Palace (Butler—for TV) (as Ellen Lange); Just a Little Inconvenience (Flicker—for TV) (as Nikki Klausing); Sunshine Christmas (Glenn Jordan—for TV) (as Cody)
The Stunt Man (Rush) (as Nina Franklin); Angel on My Shoulder (Berry—for TV) (as Julie)
Take This Job and Shove It (Trikonis) (as J. M. Halstead); Americana (Carradine—produced in 1973) (as Jess's daughter)
The Entity (Furie) (as Carla Moran); The Right Stuff (Kaufman) (as Glennis Yeager)
The Natural (Levinson) (as Harriet Bird)
My Wicked, Wicked Ways . . . The Legend of Errol Flynn (Taylor—for TV) (as Lili Damita); Passion Flower (Sargent—for TV) (as Julia Maitland)
Hannah and Her Sisters (Woody Allen) (as Lee); Hoosiers (Best Shot) (Anspaugh) (as Myra Fleener)
Tin Men (Levinson) (as Nora); Shy People (Konchalovsky) (as Ruth Sullivan)
A World Apart (Menges) (as Diana Roth); The Last Temptation of Christ (Scorsese) (as Mary Magdalene); Beaches (Garry Marshall) (as Hillary Whitney Essex)
Tune in Tomorrow (Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter) (Amiel) (as Aunt Julia); A Killing in a Small Town (Evidence of Love) (Gyllenhaal—for TV) (as Candy Morrison)
Paris Trout (Gyllenhaal—for TV) (as Hanna Trout); Defenseless (Campbell) (as T. K. Katwuller); Julia Has Two Lovers (Shbib)
The Public Eye (Franklin) (as Kay Levitz); Stay the Night (Winer—for TV) (as Jimmie Sue Finger)
Swing Kids (Carter) (as Frau Muller); Falling Down (Schumacher) (as Beth); Splitting Heirs (Robert Young) (as Duchess Lucinda); A Dangerous Woman (Gyllenhaal) (as Aunt Frances)
Abraham (Sargent—for TV) (as Sarah)
Last of the Dogmen (Murphy) (as Lillian Sloan)
The Pallbearer (Reeves); Portrait of a Lady (Campion) (Madame Serena Merle)
A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (Ivory) (as Marcella Willis); Frogs for Snakes (Poe) (as Eva); The Staircase (Arthur) (as Mother Madalyn)
Drowning on Dry Land (Colpaert); Breakfast of Champions (Rudolph) (as Celia Hoover); Passion (Duncan) (as Rose)
By HERSHEY: articles—
Interview, in Look Magazine (New York), 3 November 1970.
"Barbara Hershey," interview with L. Geller, in Interview (New York), March 1986.
"The Fall and Rise of Barbara Hershey," interview with Ron Rosenbaum, in American Film (Washington, D.C.), May 1986.
Interview with Jeff Silverman, in Chicago Tribune, 22 March 1987.
Interview with Myra Forsberg, in New York Times, 29 March 1987.
"20 Questions: Barbara Hershey," interview with D. Rensin, in Playboy (Chicago), May 1987.
"Stretching Out," interview with M. Gray, in Photoplay Movies & Video (London), August 1987.
Interview with Mike Downey, in GQ (New York), November 1987.
Interview, in Film Directions (London), vol. 9, no. 34, 1988.
"The Portrait of a Hollywood Lady," interview with L. Grobel, in Movieline (Escondido), November 1996.
"The Lady Vanquishes. Call Me Madame," interview with Geoff Andrew, in Time Out (London), 12 February 1997.
On HERSHEY: articles—
"La vedette de la semaine," in Ciné Revue (Brussels), 25 June 1987.
Kearney, Jill, in American Film (New York), December 1987.
Gray, M., "Barbara Hershey," in Photoplay Movies & Video (London), March 1988.
Canby, Vincent, "Stardom Seen in Light of the 80's," in New York Times, 17 July 1988.
"Fanfair—Hershey Bliss," in Vanity Fair (New York), October 1988.
Current Biography 1989, New York, 1989.
Drucker, Elizabeth, "Paris Trout: Barbara Hershey Is Not Herself," in American Film (Washington, D.C.), April 1991.
Clements, Marcelle, "Decent Exposure," in Premiere (New York), October 1993.
Hemple, H. S., filmography in Premiere (New York), October 1993.
* * *
Barbara Hershey is a generally fine actress who, too often, has been wasted in films not worthy of her talents. Her critical reputation was resuscitated in the late 1980s when she accomplished the feat of winning back-to-back Best Actress prizes at the Cannes Film Festival.
Hershey was a gifted drama student at Hollywood High School when she obtained a talent agent through a teacher. The good-looking 17-year-old brunette quickly found regular work on the television series The Monroes, and later in other small-screen shows before making her big-screen debut as Brian Keith's possessive daughter in the Doris Day comedy With Six You Get Eggroll.
In 1969, Hershey played the first important lead of her career as Sandy in Last Summer, Frank Perry's artful and controversial study of four upper-class teenagers idling away a summer in a beach community. Here, Hershey was cast as a vivacious, willful beauty who manipulates her two male friends and taunts a plain-looking, less sexually experienced female. Observed the Variety critic, "Barbara Hershey has the sexual provocativeness and hoydenishness that is not calmed by any perceptive maturity."
Another significant early role for Hershey came in Martin Scorsese's first studio production, Boxcar Bertha. In this low-budget drama about the Great Depression, shot in 24 days in Arkansas, she appears in the title role, an orphaned vagrant who hops one freight train after another with her derelict lover, an embittered ex-labor agitator (David Carradine) and his band of train robbers. In retrospect, given the director with whom she was working, Hershey's presence becomes notable and even historic, but at the time of its release the movie was criticized as being excessively violent and was not a success.
In the 1970s, when Hershey was an attractive young actress who should have been peaking in popularity, her marketability was limited. This was partly because she had acquired a reputation as a hippie, which, in the eyes of many industry powers and moviegoers, meant she was flaky. Hershey was a flower-child, living out-of-wedlock with David Carradine and naming their baby boy "Free." She had changed her own name to Barbara Seagull sometime after the making of Last Summer, during which she accidentally was involved in the killing of a seagull. Furthermore, she put off audiences by taking roles considered outrageous. For instance, in The Baby Maker, Hershey played a nonconformist hired to be impregnated by a man whose wife was sterile. And so, for the rest of the decade, she appeared mainly in minor and forgettable projects.
Then in 1980, director Richard Rush chose her for the outstanding black comedy The Stunt Man. This bit of casting took Hershey out of the second-rate ingenue roles to which she had been relegated, and placed her in her first womanly part. She played a quirky motion picture actress who appears to give her heart to a fugitive Vietnam veteran hiding on a set, when she actually is having an affair with the film's egomaniacal director (Peter O'Toole). The Stunt Man received critical accolades, and has become something of a cult film. Hershey's performance may have been passed over or panned by the reviewers, but it nonetheless pulled her out of a casting rut.
Two years later began a string of interesting roles in significant films by leading directors. In The Right Stuff, she is the wife of astronaut Chuck Yeager; in The Natural, she is the personification of evil, an erotic mystery woman who comes on to baseball phenom Roy Hobbs, then shoots him and commits suicide. Her dark sexual appeal was exploited further in Hannah and Her Sisters, in which she plays the pivotal part of Lee, the girlfriend of a moody artist, who becomes the love object of her brother-in-law; and again in the black comedy Tin Men, where she appears as the wife of an aluminum siding salesman who is seduced by her husband's arch enemy. During the making of Boxcar Bertha, Hershey gave Martin Scorsese the idea of filming Nikos Kazantzakis's controversial novel The Last Temptation of Christ. When he made the film 16 years later, the filmmaker handed her the coveted role of Mary Magdalene. But for many fans of three-handkerchief weepies, Hershey's most dynamic role came playing opposite Bette Midler in the quintessential woman's film Beaches.
The apex of three decades of filmic output came for Hershey when she was awarded the Best Actress Prize at Cannes two consecutive years. In 1987 she earned the award for Shy People, playing the head of a backwoods bayou clan. The following year, she was recognized for a riveting performance as a political zealot dedicated to the abolishment of apartheid in South Africa in A World Apart.
Hershey's more notable recent roles have been as characters who are secondary to the film's primary focus: Michael Douglas's estranged wife in Falling Down; a mystery woman opposite Joe Pesci in The Public Eye; and Debra Winger's sister in A Dangerous Woman.
—Audrey E. Kupferberg
Hershey, Barbara 1948–
HERSHEY, Barbara 1948–
Original name, Barbara Herzstein; born February 5, 1948, in Hollywood, CA; daughter of William H. Herzstein (a horse racing columnist); lived with David Carradine (an actor), 1969–75; married Stephen Douglas (an artist), 1992 (divorced, 1993); children: (with Carradine) Tom (name legally changed from Free). Education: Attended public high school in Hollywood, CA. Avocational Interests: Gardening, drawing, cooking, playing flute and piano.
Addresses: Agent—International Creative Management, 8942 Wilshire Blvd., Beverly Hills, CA 90211; Markham & Froggatt, Ltd., 4 Windmill St., London W1T 2HZ, England. Manager—Handprint Entertainment, 1100 Glendon Ave., Suite 1000, Los Angeles, CA 90024.
Awards, Honors: Bronze Wrangler (with others), fiction television drama, Western Heritage Awards, 1967, The Monroes; Golden Laurel Award nomination, female new face, 1970, for Last Summer; Golden Palm Award, best actress in a full–length film, Cannes International Film Festival, 1987, for Shy People; Film Award nomination, best actress in a supporting role, British Academy of Film and Television Arts, 1987, for Hannah and Her Sisters; Golden Palm Award, best actress in a full–length film, Cannes International Film Festival, 1988, for A World Apart; Golden Globe Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a supporting role, 1989, for The Last Temptation of Christ; Emmy Award, outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or special, 1990, Golden Globe Award, best actress in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, 1991, both for A Killing in a Small Town; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding lead actress in a miniseries or special, 1991, for Paris Trout; Academy Award nomination, Golden Globe Award nomination, Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award, 1996, and National Society of Film Critics Award, all best supporting actress, 1997, all for Portrait of a Lady; Golden Satellite Award nomination, best performance by an actress in a miniseries or motion picture made for television, 1999, for The Staircase; If Award (with others), best actress, 2001, for Lantana; CineMerit Award, Munich Film Festival, 2002.
(Film debut; as Barbara Seagull) Stacey Iverson, With Six You Get Eggroll (also known as A Man in Mommy's Bed), National General Pictures, 1968.
Leloopa, Heaven with a Gun, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1969.
Sandy, Last Summer, Allied Artists, 1969.
Tish Gray, The Baby Maker, National General, 1970.
Nella Mundine, The Liberation of L. B. Jones, Columbia, 1970.
Susan, Dealing; or, The Berkeley–to–Boston Forty–Brick Lost–Bag Blues, Warner Bros., 1971.
Jane Kauffman, The Pursuit of Happiness, Columbia, 1971.
Title role, Boxcar Bertha, American International, 1972.
(As Barbara Seagull) Waitress, You and Me (also known as Around), 1972.
(As Barbara Seagull) Title role, Angela: Love Comes Quietly (also known as Angela and Love Comes Quietly), 1973.
(As Barbara Seagull) Zanni, The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (also known as Vrooder's Hooch), Twentieth Century–Fox, 1974.
(As Barbara Seagull) Sally, Diamonds (also known as Diamond Shaft and Yahlumim), Avco Embassy, 1975.
Marion Evans, Dirty Knight's Work (also known as Trial by Combat, A Choice of Weapons, and Choice of Arms), Warner Bros., 1976.
Susan Burgade, The Last Hard Men, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1976.
Nina Franklin, The Stunt Man, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1980.
Jess's daughter, Americana, Sherwood, 1981.
J. M. Halstead, Take This Job and Shove It, Avco Embassy, 1981.
Carla Moran, The Entity, Twentieth Century–Fox, 1982.
Glennis Yeager, The Right Stuff, Warner Bros., 1983.
Harriet Bird, The Natural, TriStar, 1984.
Lee, Hannah and Her Sisters, Orion, 1986.
Myra Fleener, Hoosiers (also known as Best Shot), Orion, 1986.
Ruth Sullivan, Shy People, Cannon, 1987.
Nora Tilley, Tin Men, Buena Vista, 1987.
Mary Magdalene, The Last Temptation of Christ, Universal, 1988.
Hillary Whitney Essex, Beaches (also known as Forever Friends), Touchstone, 1988.
Diana Roth, A World Apart, Atlantic, 1988.
Aunt Julia, Tune In Tomorrow (also known as Aunt Julia and the Scriptwriter), Cinecom, 1990.
T. K. Katwuller, Defenseless, Seven Arts, 1991.
Kay Levitz, The Public Eye, 1992.
Frances, A Dangerous Woman, Gramercy, 1993.
Beth, Falling Down (also known as Chute libre), Warner Bros., 1993.
Duchess Lucinda, Splitting Heirs, Universal, 1993.
Frau Miller, Swing Kids, Buena Vista, 1993.
Professor Lillian Sloan, Last of the Dogmen, Savoy Pictures, 1995.
Ruth Abernathy, The Pallbearer, Miramax, 1996.
Madame Serena Merle, The Portrait of a Lady, Gramercy, 1996.
Macella Willis, A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries (also known as La fille d'un soldat ne pleure jamais), October Films, 1998.
Eva, Frogs for Snakes, Shooting Gallery International, 1998.
Celia Hoover, Breakfast of Champions, Buena Vista, 1999.
Rose Grainger, Passion (also known as Passion: The Story of Percy Grainger), Motion International, 1999.
(Uncredited; in archive footage) Outer Space, Sixpack Film, 1999.
Kate, Drowning on Dry Land, Ardustry Home Entertainment, 1999.
Herself, The Sinister Saga of Making "The Stunt Man" (documentary), Anchor Bay Entertainment, 2000.
Dr. Valerie Somers, Lantana, Lions Gate Films, 2001.
Glynnis Yeager, T–20 Years and Counting (documentary short film), Warner Bros., 2003.
Herself, Realizing the Right Stuff (documentary short film), Warner Bros., 2003.
Norma, 11:14, MDP Worldwide, 2003.
Jean Parker, Riding the Bullet, Motion Picture Corporation of America, 2004.
Television Appearances; Series:
Kathleen Monroe, The Monroes, ABC, 1966–1967.
Karen Holmes, From Here to Eternity, NBC, 1980.
Various characters, Twilight Theater (also known as Steve Martin's Twilight Theater), 1982.
Dr. Francesca Alberghetti, Chicago Hope, CBS, 1999—.
Gennie Carver, The Mountain, The WB, 2004.
Television Appearances; Miniseries:
Madelaine, A Man Called Intrepid, NBC, 1979.
Clara Allen, Return to Lonesome Dove, CBS, 1993.
Sarah, Abraham (also known as Die Bibel—Abraham, La bible: Abraham, and The Bible: Abraham), TNT, 1994.
Contessa Maria Alcharisi, Daniel Deronda, BBC, 2002.
Television Appearances; Movies:
Mary Cutler, Flood!, NBC, 1976.
Ellen Lange, In the Glitter Palace (also known as A Woman Accused), NBC, 1977.
Nikki Klausing, Just a Little Inconvenience, NBC, 1977.
Cody Blanks, Sunshine Christmas, NBC, 1977.
Julie, Angel on My Shoulder, ABC, 1980.
Lili Damita, My Wicked, Wicked Ways … The Legend of Errol Flynn, CBS, 1985.
Julia Maitland, Passion Flower, CBS, 1986.
Candy Morrison, A Killing in a Small Town (also known as Evidence of Love), CBS, 1990.
Hanna Trout, Paris Trout (also known as Rage), Show-time, 1991.
Jimmie Sue Finger, Stay the Night, ABC, 1992.
Mother Madalyn, The Staircase, 1998.
Marsha Hunter, Hunger Point, Lifetime, 2003.
Ann Rule, The Stranger Beside Me (also known as Ann Rule Presents: The Stranger Beside Me), USA Network, 2003.
Elizabeth Paradise, Paradise, Showtime, 2004.
Television Appearances; Specials:
Call girl, Working, PBS, 1981.
Lenore, "Weekend," American Playhouse, PBS, 1982.
Larry King TNT Extra (also known as The Larry King Special … Inside Hollywood), TNT, 1991.
Narrator, Lost Kingdoms of the Maya (documentary), PBS, 1993.
Narrator, Intimate Portrait: Bette Midler, Lifetime, 1997.
(In archive footage) #76 Collagen Girls Gone Wild, 101 Biggest Celebrity Oops, E! Entertainment Television, 2004.
Television Appearances; Pilots:
Guest, Twilight Theater II, NBC, 1982.
Gennie Carver, The Mountain, The WB, 2004.
Television Appearances; Awards Presentations:
The 61st Annual Academy Awards Presentation, ABC, 1989.
Presenter, The 43rd Annual Primetime Emmy Awards, 1991.
The 1997 Blockbuster Entertainment Awards, UPN, 1997.
Television Appearances; Episodic:
Ellen, "Chivalry Is Not Dead," Gidget, ABC, 1965.
"The Rise and Fall of Steven Morley," The Farmer's Daughter, ABC, 1966.
Ellen, "Love and the Single Gidget," Gidget, ABC, 1966.
Ellen, "Ask Helpful Hannah," Gidget, ABC, 1966.
Casey Holloway, "Holloway's Daughters," Bob Hope Chrysler Theater, NBC, 1966.
Dinah Hubbard, "The King's Shilling," Daniel Boone, NBC, 1967.
Sara Jane, "Sara Jane, You Never Whispered Again," Run for Your Life, NBC, 1968.
Beth Ferguson, "The Miracle," The Invaders, ABC, 1968.
Moonfire, "The Peace Maker," High Chaparral, NBC, 1968.
Claire, "Secrets," CBS Playhouse, CBS, 1968.
(As Barbara Seagull) "The Roller Coaster Stops Here," Love Story, 1973.
(As Barbara Seagull) Nan Chi, "Besieged: Death on Cold Mountain," Kung Fu, ABC, 1974.
(As Barbara Seagull) Nan Chi, "Besieged: Cannon at the Gate," Kung Fu, ABC, 1974.
"Three Blonde Mice," Switch, CBS, 1978.
Herself, The American Sportsman, 1982.
Kitchen maid, "The Nightingale," Faerie Tale Theater, Showtime, 1983.
Jessie Dean, "Wake Me When I'm Dead" (also known as "Murder Me Twice"), Alfred Hitchcock Presents, NBC, 1985.
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson, 1986, 1990.
The Today Show, NBC, 1988.
Entertainment Tonight, syndicated, 1988.
"Martin Scorsese Directs" (documentary), American Masters, PBS, 1990.
Herself, The Rosie O'Donnell Show, syndicated, 1997.
The View, ABC, 2001.
Herself, V Graham Norton, Channel 4, 2002.
Also appeared in Champlin on Film, Bravo.
Einstein and the Polar Bear, Broadway production, 1981.
At Risk, 1989.
International Dictionary of Films and Filmmakers, Volume 3: Actors and Actresses, 4th edition, St. James Press, 2000.
Entertainment Weekly, March 14, 1997, p. 51.
New York Times, March 29, 1987.
HERSHEY, BARBARA (Barbara Herzstein ; 1948–), U.S. actress. Born in Hollywood, California, Hershey made her professional debut as a teenager in 1965 on the television series Gidget, then starred on the tv series The Monroes (1966–67). From the late 1960s on, she acted in such feature films as Last Summer (1969), The Liberation of L.B. Jones (1970), Dealing (1972), Boxcar Bertha (1972), The Stunt Man (1980), The Right Stuff (1983), The Natural (1984), Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), Hoosiers (1986), Tin Men (1987), Shy People (Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress, 1987), A World Apart (Cannes Film Festival award for Best Actress, 1988), The Last Temptation of Christ (Golden Globe nomination, 1988), Beaches (1988), Falling Down (1993), A Dangerous Woman (1993), The Pallbearer (1996), The Portrait of a Lady (Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress, 1996), Breakfast of Champions (1999), Passion (1999), Lantana (2001), and Riding the Bullet (2004).
Hershey has appeared in a number of television movies, such as A Man Called Intrepid (1979), Angel on My Shoulder (1980), A Killing in a Small Town (Emmy Award and Golden Globe for Best Actress, 1990), Paris Trout (Emmy nomination for Best Actress, 1991), Hunger Point (2003), and Paradise (2004). She has also appeared in such tv series as From Here to Eternity (1980), Twilight Theater (1982), Return to Lonesome Dove (1993), Chicago Hope (1999–2000), and The Mountain (2004).
[Jonathan Licht /
Ruth Beloff (2nd ed.)]