20 April 2024

A native of California, Adrienne Barbeau was born in Sacramento in 1945. Growing up, she gravitated towards the theatre and moved to New York City...where she worked as a Go-Go dancer while trying to find work on Broadway.

Eventually, Barbeau would make her debut in Fiddler On the Roof, and later, she received a Tony nomination for creating the role of Rizzo in the original Broadway production of Grease.

This led to her moving back to the west coast and a part as the ultra-liberated Carol on the hit 70s show Maude, which ran from 1972-1978. To top off this success, a best-selling poster made her a sex symbol.

When Maude ended, Barbeau hooked up with director John Carpenter whom she later married (they divorced in 1984). It was a fruitful working and personal relationship, not unlike the union of Brian De Palma and Nancy Allen.

Carpenter cast her as the lesbian friend of Lauren Hutton in the 1978 TV movie Someone's Watching Me! - a virtual remake of PSYCHO that was well-received. After the director's major success with Halloween, Carpenter made The Fog, an excellent ghost film in which Barbeau starred as Stevie, a DJ who works out of a lighthouse.

It was a terrific and spunky performance, as the character tries to warn the locals of the impending danger while worried about the saftey of her son. She was also a stand-out in her husband's Escape From New York as a tough cab driver working in a Manhattan that has been turned into a high security (and dangerous) prison facility.

Other credits for Barbeau include George Romero's Creepshow, and his half of 1990's Two Evil Eyes, a collaboration with Dario Argento. In 1982, she starred in Wes Craven's Swamp Thing and contiuned to work in both television and independent low-budget films throughout the decade. The movies were not always great (the weak slasher Open House is an example) but work was steady.

Barbeau seemed to have a knack for finding roles in movies with colorful titles, such as Bram Stoker's Burial of the Rats and Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death...and she also lent her voice to 1992's Batman: The Animated Series as Catwoman.

In 1997, Barbeau produced what is perhaps one of her proudest achievements. Having been married to Billy Van Zandt since 1992, she gave birth to twin boys William and Walker at the age of 51. (They joined her son Cody from the previous marriage to Carpenter.)

The actress continues to work on various projects and has never looked happier or healthier.

Creepshow 1982
The Darker Side of Terror 1979
Escape from New York 1981
The Fog 1980
Open House 1987
Someone's Watching Me! 1978
Swamp Thing 1982
Terror at London Bridge 1985
The Thing [voice only] 1982
Two Evil Eyes 1990
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