|Born||July 2, 1940
New York City, New York, United States
|Died||July 24, 1975 (aged 35)
Venice, California, United States
Born Barbara Colby in New York City on July 2, 1940, she started her acting career in the theater. Following a solid performance in Six Characters in Search of an Author in 1964, she moved to Broadway with a debut in The Devils the following year. Throughout the rest of the decade, she appeared in such plays as Under Milk Wood, Murder in the Cathedral and Dear Liar, and garnered fine reviews for her Portia in Julius Caesar in 1966.
Colby's first important television role was in an episode of the television series Columbo, titled "Murder by the Book" in 1971. Colby began a bi-coastal career and played a host of support/guest roles on such established shows as The Odd Couple, McMillan and Wife, The F.B.I., Medical Center, Kung Fu and Gunsmoke.
Colby appeared in 1970s plays such as Aubrey Beardsley the Neophyte, House of Blue Leaves, Afternoon Tea and Hot l Baltimore. She returned to the classics with an off-Broadway role as Elizabeth in Richard III, and was back on Broadway with the plays Murderous Angels in 1971 and a revival of A Doll's House in the early part of 1975.
In 1975, MTM cast her as the new regular player on the Mary Tyler Moore Show spin-off, Phyllis, starring actress Cloris Leachman. Colby, who appeared earlier with Leachman in the TV movie A Brand New Life in 1973, was cast as Leachman's boss, Julie Erskine, the owner of a commercial photography studio.
On July 24, 1975, just three episodes into the TV series, Colby and an acting colleague, James Kiernan, 35, were walking to their car following an acting class in Venice, California, when they were deliberately shot inside a parking area. Barbara Colby was killed instantly. However, Kiernan was able to describe the shooting to police before he also succumbed to his wounds.
Kiernan said that he did not recognize the two men who shot them, and that the shooting had occurred without warning, reason or provocation. Police noted that there was no attempt to rob the pair and concluded that it was a random drive-by shooting. The killers were never identified. 
The role of Julie Erskine on Phyllis was taken up by actress Liz Torres. Colby's final appearance was in the TV movie The Ashes of Mrs. Reasoner, which aired in 1976.
At the time of her death, Colby was separated from her husband, Bob Levitt, son of Ethel Merman.
|1969||N.Y.P.D.||Lila||TV, 1 episode|
|1971||Columbo: Murder by the Book||Lilly La Sanka||Television movie|
|The Odd Couple||Monique||TV, 1 episode|
|1972||Look Homeward, Angel||Miss Brown||Television movie|
|1973||The F.B.I.||Marti||TV, 1 episode|
|McMillan and Wife||Linda Comsack||TV, 1 episode|
|ABC Afterschool Special||TV, 1 episode|
|1974||Judgement: The Trial of Julius and Ethel Rosenberg||Television movie|
|Medical Center||Mrs. Polumbo||TV, 1 episode|
|Kung Fu||Josie||TV, 1 episode|
|Memory of Us||Iris|
|Gunsmoke||Kathy Carter||TV, 1 episode|
|1974-1975||The Mary Tyler Moore Show||Sherry||TV, 2 episodes|
|1975||Rafferty and the Gold Dust Twins||Alternative title: Rafferty and the Highway Hustlers|
|Phyllis||Julie Erskine #1||TV,3 episodes|
|1976||The Ashes of Mrs. Reasoner||Television movie|