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Barry Bostwick Poster

Biography

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Overview (3)

Date of Birth 24 February 1945San Mateo, California, USA
Birth NameBarry Knapp Bostwick
Height 6' 4" (1.93 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Tall (6' 4"), agile, energetic, and ever-so-confident as both actor and singer, especially on the award-winning Broadway stage, Barry Bostwick possesses that certain narcissistic poise, charm and élan that reminds one instantly (and humorously) of a Kevin Kline -- both were quite brilliant in their respective interpretations of The Pirate King in "The Pirates of Penzance". Yet, for all his diverse talents (he is a Golden Globe winner and was nominated for the Tony Award three times, winning once), Barry is indelibly caught in a time warp. Even today, 35 years after the fact, he is indelibly associated with the role of nerdy hero Brad Majors in the midnight movie phenomena The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975). While it is extremely flattering to be a part of such a cult institution, Barry's acting legacy deserves much more than this.

He was born Barry Knapp Bostwick on February 24, 1945, in San Mateo, California, one of two sons of Elizabeth "Betty" (Defendorf) and Bud Bostwick (Henry Bostwick), a city planner and actor. A student at San Mateo High School, he and his elder brother Peter use to put on musicals and puppet shows for the neighborhood kids. Barry attended San Diego's United States International University's School for the Performing Arts in 1967, and switched from music to drama during the course of his studies. He also worked occasionally as a circus performer, which would come in handy on the musical stage down the line. He subsequently moved to New York and attended the Graduate School of Arts and Sciences at New York University.

Making his stage debut at age 22 in a production of "Take Her, She's Mine," Barry performed in a number of non-musical roles in such productions of "War and Peace" (1968) and "The Misanthrope (1968). Making his 1969 Broadway debut in "Cock-a-Doodle Dandy", which ran in tandem with "Hamlet" in which he was featured as Osric, it was his portrayal of the swaggering, leather jacket-wearing 50s "bad boy" Danny Zuko in the 1972 Broadway high-school musical smash "Grease" that put Barry's name prominently and permanently on the marquee signs. Originating the role, he was nominated for a Tony but lost out that year to the older generation (Phil Silvers for "A Funny Thing Happened...").

In the midst of all this star-making hoopla, Barry was also breaking into films with a minor role in Jennifer on My Mind (1971) and leading parts in the comedy spoofs Road Movie (1974) and The Wrong Damn Film (1975). It all paled after winning the role as Susan Sarandon's simp of a boyfriend in the The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975), which featured a delicious Tim Curry camping it up as a transvestite monster-maker. The movie, based on the macabre 1973 British stage musical "The Rocky Horror Show," packed the midnight movie houses with costumed fans replicating every move and, word and offering puns and props aplenty in recapturing the insanity of the show.

While the "Rocky" association hit like a tornado, Barry ventured on and tried to distance himself. He created sparks again on Broadway, garnering a second Tony nomination for the comedy revival "They Knew What They Wanted" in 1976. He finally took home the trophy the following year for the musical "The Robber Bridegroom" (1977), which relied again on his patented bluff and bravado as a Robin Hood-like hero. Following top roles in the musicals "She Loves Me" and "The Pirates of Penzance", Barry turned rewardingly to film and TV.

The two-part feature Movie Movie (1978), which played like an old-style double feature, was a great success, performing alongside esteemed actor George C. Scott. Barry excelled in both features, but especially the musical parody. He fared just as well on the smaller screen in TV movies, playing everything from historical icons (George Washington) to preening matinée idols (John Gilbert), and winning a Golden Globe for his role as a military officer in the epic miniseries War and Remembrance (1988). A variety of interesting roles followed in glossy, soap-styled fare, farcical comedies and period drama.

A welcomed return to Broadway musicals in the form of "Nick & Nora" (he as sleuth Nick "The Thin Man" Charles) was marred when the glitzy production folded after only nine perfs. Instead, the prematurely grey-haired actor found steadier success in sitcoms as a smug comedy foil to Michael J. Fox playing Mayor Randall Winston for six seasons in Spin City (1996). He later enjoyed a recurring role as a dauntless attorney on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit (1999). Then again, Barry could be spotted pitching items in commercials or hamming it up in family-oriented Disneyesque entertainment in the "Parent Trap" and "101 Dalmatian" mold.

In 1997, Bostwick was diagnosed with prostate cancer, and 10 days later had his prostate removed. The operation was successful and in 2004, he won the Gilda Radner Courage Award from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute. Just a year earlier he appeared on an episode of "Scrubs" as a patient also having prostate cancer. Barry married somewhat late in life. For a brief time he was wed to actress Stacey Nelkin (1987-1991), but has since become a father of two, Brian and Chelsea, with second wife Sherri Jensen Bostwick, an actress who appeared with Barry in the TV movie Praying Mantis (1993).

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / gr-home@pacbell.net

Spouse (2)

Sherri Jensen Bostwick (24 November 1994 - present) (2 children)
Stacey Nelkin (1987 - 1991) (divorced)

Trivia (16)

Son of Bud Bostwick.
7/97: He underwent surgery for prostate cancer. The surgery was successful.
Children: Brian (May, 1995) and Chelsea (October, 1996)
Won Broadway's 1977 Tony Award for Best Actor (Musical) for "The Robber Bridegroom." Was also nominated in the same category in 1972 for "Grease" and in 1976 as Best Actor (Featured Role - Play) for "They Knew What They Wanted."
Best remembered for The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975).
MFA in Acting - New York University, Tisch School of the Arts (1968).
His older brother, Peter, died in an automobile accident in 1973 at the age of 32.
His companion for a number of years (1980-1984) was actress Lisa Hartman.
Father Henry Bostwick Jr. joined Screen Actors Guild at age 79. He later died of a cerebral hemorrhage and cardiac arrest on December 7, 1999 at age 86.
Appeared in a New York rock musical called "Salvation" in 1969.
Bostwick served as host of the nationally televised annual Capitol Fourth celebration on the National Mall in Washington, D.C. for eight years.
Starred as a serial killer suspect in an episode of Cold Case (2003). Central to the episode's plot was a viewing of The Rocky Horror Picture Show (1975) - which was one of his first successes (and most famous films). [May 2005]
Plays "The Voice" in ads for Cablevision's "Optimum Voice" phone service. [July 2008]
Barry Bostwick was mentored by the Tony Award-winning actor-director Ellis Rabb when Barry was a young actor in New York in the late '60s with the APA-Phoenix Repertory Company. "Ellis was a wonderful man," said Bostwick, who made his Broadway debut with the APA-Phoenix Repertory Company in 1969 in Sean O'Casey's "Cock-a-Doodle Dandy." "Ellis even paid for my first crowns because my teeth weren't very good," Bostwick said. "He would take me around to Leonard Bernstein's apartment, and we would sit there and have a drink and some of the greats would come in and sort of chat. I was the fly on the wall. I was so fortunate." Though nearly 20 years younger than Bostwick, Michael J. Fox was also mentor to him on the award-winning 1996-2002 ABC comedy series "Spin City," in which he played the dimwitted New York City mayor to Fox's deputy mayor. Fox, he said, showed him the sit-com ropes. "He was very smart about that genre of comedy," said Bostwick. "I would watch him work and watch him suss out what the problems were. He was so smart about what worked and what didn't work.".
Bostwick, who frequently attends Comic-Con-style conventions because of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show," was excited about the film's big 40th-anniversary New York City convention held in September, 2015. The musical, which also starred Susan Sarandon and Tim Curry, has saved a lot of lives, Bostwick noted, because people found a community going to the midnight screenings. "People found who they were through that movie. I can't tell you the number of people who come up to me and say it was one of the most meaningful if not the most meaningful moments in their lives when they first saw that movie and were part of the audience".
Barry Bostwick always got the appeal of "The Rocky Horror Picture Show." His family less so. "My wife has never gotten it," he noted. "My kids weren't quite so happy with it." But the cult midnight movie musical celebrating it's 40th anniversary in 2015 was the perfect fit for Bostwick's quirky sensibilities. "I was a New York actor who did a lot of off-Broadway and weird things," said Bostwick, who originated the role of Danny Zuko on Broadway in 1972 in "Grease" and won a Tony in 1977 for the musical "The Robber Bridegroom." Being a fan of the "theater of ridiculous-minded" also helped, he said. "Even though I was playing a very straight character - Brad Majors - who was the epitome of the young Republican and '50s male, I was the opposite of that," he explained. "That's why I could play it and understand it. I had a real love for all of those sort of iconic characters, and I loved the tongue-in-cheek aspect of it." Four decades later, the fit and funny 70-year-old Bostwick is taking on offbeat roles. In 2012, he starred in the slapstick indie comedy "FDR: American Badass!," in which he battled pesky werewolves who carried the polio virus. He finished the independent comedy "Helen Keller vs. Night-wolves," in which he plays the romantic lead. "I play someone much younger than myself and I have too much eye makeup on," he said with a twinkle of his blue eyes. Bostwick appeared in a Web series, "Inside the Extras Studio," in which he spoofs James Lipton, the host of "Inside the Actors Studio." "It's all about me interviewing some of the famous extras,' said Bostwick. "I run a school to teach them to be extras." Bostwick plays a much more traditional character in his project, the romantic comedy "Love Under The Stars," on the Sunday evening cable series Hallmark Movies and Mysteries. Ashley Newbrough plays Becca, a young graduate student who is mentored by Walt (Bostwick), her sweet and concerned college adviser. Though Bostwick's played his share of bad guys, including Fitz's horrible father who rapes Mellie on ABC's "Scandal," he loves playing someone like Walt. "I like playing the mentoring, kind, supportive yet attractive male," he said. "It goes all the way back to when I did the Judith Krantz miniseries 'Scruples' with Lindsay Wagner. I did a number of Judith Krantz things. She always used to cast me because I seem to have a respect for women and her pieces always had that guy who was just a really nice guy and supportive. In a way this character sort of goes full circle." Bostwick was also a mentor on set. "He was encouraging and really looked out for me as well," said Ashley Newbrough. "He notices small things that make a difference when you are an actor. After an emotional scene, he was the first one to make me laugh and help me shake it off. Barry is unaware of his enormous presence and what he gives as an actor".

Personal Quotes (1)

I'll be quoting 'Dammit, Janet' to people for the rest of my life.

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