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Gene Barry
Born Eugene Klass
June 14, 1919(1919-06-14)
New York City, New York
Died December 9, 2009 (aged 90)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California
Occupation Film, stage, television actor
Years active 1950–2005
Spouse(s) Betty Claire Kalb (October 22, 1944 - January 31, 2003; her death; 3 children)

Gene Barry (June 14, 1919 – December 9, 2009) was an American stage, screen, and television actor.


Personal life

Barry was born Eugene Klass in New York City, the son of Eva (née Conn) and Martin Klass;[1] all of his grandparents were Jewish immigrants from Russia.[2] Barry exhibited early artistic skills with singing and playing violin as a child and later spent two years at the Chatham Square School of Music on a scholarship awarded for his vocal ability. When Barry was 25, he married Betty Claire Kalb (12 February 1923 – 31 January 2003) on October 22, 1944. At the time of their marriage, Kalb was an actress known by the stage name, Julie Carson. Their marriage produced three children; two biological sons and an adopted daughter.


Barry chose his professional name in honor of John Barrymore.[citation needed] and made his Broadway debut as Captain Paul Duval in the 1942 revival of Sigmund Romberg's The New Moon. He later portrayed Falke in Rosalinda (1942), Nova Kovich in The Merry Widow (1943), Lieutenant Bunin in Catherine Was Great (1944), Dorante and Comte De Chateau-Gaillard in The Would-Be Gentleman (1946), The Doctor in Happy as Larry (1950), and played a variety of roles in the musical revue Bless You All (1950). He later returned to Broadway in 1962 in The Perfect Setup and was nominated for a Tony Award for portraying Georges in the 1983 musical La Cage aux Folles. For his contribution to live theater, Gene Barry has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6555 Hollywood Boulevard.

In 1950 Barry began appearing in television with the NBC Television Opera Theatre. In 1952, he starred in his first film, the role of Dr. Frank Addison in The Atomic City and then in 1953, Barry was cast as Dr. Clayton Forrester in the sci-fi classic The War of the Worlds. Barry later made a cameo appearance in Steven Spielberg's 2005 War of the Worlds, along with his 1953 co-star Ann Robinson.

Barry was featured in a recurring role in Our Miss Brooks and as the star of three series of his own  — Bat Masterson, The Name of the Game, and Burke's Law. He won the 1965 Golden Globe for Burke's Law. The series returned in 1993-94 with Barry once again in the title role.

In another television opportunity, Barry had a recurring role in the Eve Arden series, Our Miss Brooks. It was after this that he was cast as the lead character in Bat Masterson. Barry would later star in two more television series' - The Name of the Game, and Burke's Law; winning the 1965 best actor Golden Globe for Burke's Law. The series returned to prime-time television in 1993-94 with Barry once again in the title role.

In 1973, Barry starred in the ITV television series The Adventurer, with Barry Morse and Catherine Schell. Also in 1968, Barry was cast as a murdering psychiatrist in the two-hour Columbo pilot episode Prescription: Murder. In 1990, Barry once again played Bat Masterson for two episodes of Guns of Paradise alongside Hugh O'Brian as Wyatt Earp and the following year in The Gambler Returns: The Luck of the Draw, also with O'Brian as Earp. "Bat Masterson," continues to be shown in syndication.


Gene Barry died on December 9, 2009 at Sunrise Senior Living[3] in Woodland Hills, California, at the age of 90.[4] He is survived by his sons, Michael and Frederick, and his daughter, Elizabeth, as well as three grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. His wife, Betty, preceded him in death after nearly 58 years of marriage in 2003.


Television work


  1. ^ Gene Barry biography
  2. ^ Boxer, Tim (1987). The Jewish Celebrity Hall of Fame. New York: Shapolsky. 
  3. ^ [1]
  4. ^ "Actor Gene Barry Dies", The Washington Post, December 10, 2009.

External links

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