Barbara Harris

Barbara Harris

Highest Rated: 92% Family Plot (1976)

Lowest Rated: 40% Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? (1971)

Birthday: Jul 25, 1935

Birthplace: Evanston, Illinois, USA

Barbara Harris was an American actress who was renowned for her work in film and on the stage, and helped break ground on what would become improvisational theater during a career that lasted for nearly four decades. Born on July 25, 1935 in Evanston, IL, Harris attended Wilbur Wright College before beginning her stage career at the Playwrights Theater in Chicago. She found herself in good company, with fellow up and coming players including Ed Asner, Elaine May, and Mike Nichols. Harris was also a member of the Compass Players, who were the U.S.'s first ongoing improvisational theatre troupe, under the direction of Paul Sills, whom she had married in 1955. Ironically, the Compass Players and their marriage followed the same trajectory: by 1958, both had flamed out. However, despite their divorce, Sills continued to work with Harris professionally, inviting her to join a new improv theater he had started, dubbed The Second City, in 1959. When the company brought their show to Broadway in 1961, in the form of a revue entitled "From the Second City," it was a smashing success, earning Harris her first Tony Award nomination. That same year, she made her TV debut in an episode of "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" (CBS/NBC, 1955-1962). Harris earned a second Tony nomination for her role in the 1965 production of "On a Clear Day You Can See Forever," while also making her film debut in "A Thousand Clowns" (1965). The third time would prove to be the charm for Harris, who finally won a Tony for her performance in 1966's "The Apple Tree." However, she found herself wanting new challenges, and announced that she was retiring from the stage following her performance in 1970's "Mahogany." Harris began her new film career with a bang, earning an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her work in the dark comedy "Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me?" (1971). She soon found herself in demand with some of Hollywood's biggest directors, next appearing in Robert Altman's sprawling masterpiece "Nashville" (1975), in which she played Albuquerque, a country singer who hides a calculating and opportunistic drive for fame underneath a ditzy visage. Unfortunately, Harris and Altman clashed during the film's chaotic production, and they never worked together again. Harris followed up that experience by reuniting with Alfred Hitchcock just in time to appear in his final film, "Family Plot" (1976), turning in a performance as a bogus spiritualist that wowed critics. That same year, Harris starred alongside Jodie Foster in the family body-swap classic "Freaky Friday" (1976). Unfortunately, Harris's good luck was about to run out. On paper, starring in Hal Ashby's follow-up to the acclaimed and successful "Being There" (1979), seemed like a no-brainer. However, the film that resulted, "Second-Hand Hearts" (1981), was a career killer. The film, in which Harris starred as a widowed waitress and aspiring singer, was savaged by critics and bombed at the box office. Harris would not appear in another film for five years, when she played Kathleen Turner's mother in "Peggy Sue Got Married" (1986) for Francis Ford Coppola, followed by a co-starring role with cult actress Michelle Meyrink of "Valley Girl" (1983) and "Real Genius" (1985) fame in the little-seen black comedy "Nice Girls Don't Explode" (1987). She then took on a supporting role in the comedy "Dirty Rotten Scoundrels" (1988), before wrapping up her acting career by appearing in the cult classic "Grosse Pointe Blank" (1997). Harris devoted the rest of her life to teaching, before she died of lung cancer on August 21, 2018. She was 83 years old.

Highest rated movies

Family Plot
Nashville Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
Peggy Sue Got Married
Grosse Pointe Blank
The North Avenue Irregulars
The Seduction of Joe Tynan
A Thousand Clowns




82% 87% Grosse Pointe Blank Mary Blank (Character) $28.1M 1997
88% 84% Dirty Rotten Scoundrels Fanny Eubanks (Character) $40.9M 1988
60% 55% Nice Girls Don't Explode Mom (Character) - 1987
86% 55% Peggy Sue Got Married Evelyn Kelcher (Character) $37.7M 1986
No Score Yet No Score Yet Second-Hand Hearts Dinette Dusty (Character) - 1980
75% 38% The Seduction of Joe Tynan Ellie Tynan (Character) - 1979
78% 79% The North Avenue Irregulars Vickie (Character) - 1979
No Score Yet 58% Movie Movie Trixie Lane (Character) - 1978
92% 62% Family Plot Blanche Tyler (Character) - 1976
70% 57% Freaky Friday Ellen Andrews (Character) - 1976
92% 84% Nashville Albuquerque (Character) - 1975
No Score Yet No Score Yet Mixed Company Kathy Morrison (Character) - 1974
No Score Yet 27% The War Between Men and Women Theresa Alice Kozlenko (Character) - 1972
40% 32% Who Is Harry Kellerman and Why Is He Saying Those Terrible Things About Me? Allison Densmore (Character) - 1971
70% 56% Plaza Suite Muriel Tate (Character) - 1971
No Score Yet 45% Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mamma's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad Rosalie (Character) - 1967
No Score Yet No Score Yet Oh Dad, Poor Dad, Mama's Hung You in the Closet and I'm Feelin' So Sad Rosalie (Character) - 1967
71% 88% A Thousand Clowns Sandra (Character) - 1965


No Score Yet No Score Yet Walt Disney's Disneyland Ellen Andrews (Character) 1982
No Score Yet 98% Alfred Hitchcock Presents Unknown (Character) 1961