Lynn Bari Profile

Lynn Bari
Lynn Bari
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(Marjorie Schuyler Fisher)
18 December 17 is born in Roanoke, Virginia, the second child of Marjorie Babcock (Halpin) Fisher and John Maynard Fisher, a sales executive in the auto industry. Her sibling, John Owen Fisher is three years her senior. Over the years, her birth year will be erroneously reported as early as 1913 and as late as 1920. However, as her brother John was confirmed born in 1914, his three-years-younger sister arrived in 1917.
18-25 due to Mr. Fisher’s involvement with the burgeoning auto industry, the family moves frequently about the Virginia landscape
25 her father dies
27 her mother, brother, and she relocate to Boston, Massachusetts
Late 27 her mother weds the Reverend Robert Bitzer of the Institute of Religious Sciences in Boston, two months after their initial meeting
28 the Reverend Bitzer is assigned to Los Angeles, California, obliging Marge, Peggy (as she is known), and Johnny to accompany him to the West Coast
28 to 33 the future movie star is educated at Horace Mann Grade School, followed by the Beverly Vista High School, in close proximity to her Beverly Hills, California, residence
Summer 33 searching the want ads for a summer job, 15-year-old Peggy Fisher spies a notice for tall showgirls for an upcoming MGM musical. With her mother in tow, they brave the cattle call the next morning, and she makes the cut for a chorus-bit in the Joan Crawford vehicle Dancing Lady. She takes her screen name by combining the monikers of author James M. Barrie and stage star Lynn Fontanne.
Autumn 33 MGM casts her in a speaking bit for the comedy Meet the Baron
Late 33 lands a background bit in Search for Beauty, a Paramount vehicle for Ida Lupino and Buster Crabbe
November 33 Fox Films choreographer Sammy Lee, who first met her on the Dancing Lady set, offers her a $50.00-a-week stock contract, which evolves into a 14-year star-making deal. As she is not yet 16, she finishes her high school education at the Fox studio schooling facility.
Early 34 beings appearing in minor roles in a great many Fox films such as Stand Up and Cheer, Coming Out Party, and Bottoms Up, sporting a platinum-blonde hairdo, which is in vogue and which she has utilized since her film debut
34-35 gaining invaluable experience, she continues playing bit roles in such Fox films as Charlie Chan in Paris, The Gay Deception, and The Great Hotel Murder
May 35 20th Century Pictures, headed by Darryl F. Zanuck, merges with the Fox Film Corporation, under Zanuck’s leadership. The new studio shortly becomes one of the pillars of the Hollywood industry, and she will be one of the few holdovers from the old Fox regime.
Spring 35-Late 37 now appearing in her natural brunette hairdo, she quickly becomes 20th Century-Fox’s most prolific contractee, playing a variety of bits in a wide range of films
November 37 appears in her first significant role as Lionel Atwill’s daughter in Lancer Spy
February 38 her last uncredited appearance, as Paul Harvey’s secretary in the Shirley Temple vehicle Rebecca of Sunnybrook Farm, is released
Spring 38 plays her first romantic lead in Mr. Moto's Gamble
Summer 38 meets new Fox contractee Jean Rogers, a former Universal leading lady; they will remain lifelong friends
August 38 solidifies her reputation as a formidable A-film "other woman" opposite Barbara Stanwyck in Always Goodbye
Autumn 38 meets talent agent Walter Kane at a Hollywood party; he is 17 years her senior
November 38 begins to assume the "B-Queen" title from the departing Claire Trevor in Meet the Girls. She despises the publicity tag "Queen of the B’s."
February 39 her first solo star-vehicle, Pardon Our Nerve, a sequel to Meet the Girls, is released
5 March 39 marries Walter Kane. He will later work as an executive at RKO Radio Pictures and, more significantly, as an aide to legendary billionaire Howard Hughes.
Summer 39 attends several parties, at which her primary dance partner is her husband’s employer, Howard Hughes
Spring 40 appears in the first of four films with Fox newcomer Mary Beth Hughes, Free, Blonde and 21, in which Hughes replaced Lynn’s friend Jean Rogers
Autumn 40 is borrowed by producer Edward Small to play the feminine lead in his United Artists epic Kit Carson. Costar Dana Andrews will remain a lifelong friend.
Summer 41 has one of her best roles as big band singer Vivian Dawn in the classic musical Sun Valley Serenade. Her vocals are recorded by a professional singer, as is her warbling in subsequent Fox musicals.
December 41 is replaced by Brenda Joyce in Whispering Ghosts when Fox throws her into the lead of Secret Agent of Japan, their hastily created initial entry into the wartime espionage film "sweepstakes." It is a box-office winner, despite plot deficiencies.
July 42 "arrives" as an A-star, billed between Henry Fonda and Don Ameche, in the astute business satire The Magnificent Dope. Further evidence of her rise is her placement on a prestigious exhibition poll of the movie stars most likely to "carry" films, for some years to come.
September 42 embarks on the famed "Victory Tour" with Ronald Colman, Greer Garson, Irene Dunne, Hedy LaMarr, Virginia Gilmore, Joan Leslie, and Ann Rutherford, among others
Autumn 42 recreates her Claire Harris role for the Lux Radio Theatre version of The Magnificent Dope
November 42 initiates divorce proceedings against Walter Kane. There will be much acrimony due to monetary-settlement issues.
January 43 receives her best film notices for her role as an espionage agent in Henry Hathaway's China Girl
Spring 43 meets wartime test pilot and man-about-town Michael Sidney "Sid" Luft; he is two years her senior
Autumn 43 United Artists "swaps" her for valuable camera equipment with Fox, as an inducement to play the lead in a remake of the 1929 MGM film The Bridge of San Luis Rey. Despite a solid cast, the film will receive tepid box-office returns and will be a significant career disappointment for her.
25 November 43 her divorce from Walter Kane is finalized. Years later they will resume cordial relations. He will die of natural causes in 1983.
28 November 43 marries Sid Luft, who during their marriage will attempt work as a film agent and movie producer, to little effect
Summer 44 embarks on a USO tour of stateside military bases and hospitals. She works up a singing/comedy routine with actress June Lang (a former Fox costar) and musician Ray Mayer. Scheduling conflicts prevent her from entertaining the troops overseas.
44 guests on numerous radio programs, including those of Bing Crosby and Orson Welles
Autumn 44 she and husband Luft join the promotional contingent for Zanuck’s "pet" film, Wilson. Fox contract junketeers include Carmen Miranda, Carole Landis, Roddy McDowall, and Mary Anderson. Despite the push, the film is not a major box-office success.
45 is second only to Betty Grable at Fox in fan mail from GIs. She is tagged "Girl with Million Dollar Figure" and the "Woo Woo Girl."
August 45 one of her favorite vehicles, Captain Eddie, opposite Fred MacMurray, is released
15 August 45 loses her first child, a daughter, during childbirth
Late 45 resumes film work, opposite Vincent Price, in Shock. Although it is a box-office success and her work is scrutinized by Bette Davis, she does not like the film due to her "menace" role. By this time she is tired of essaying villainess roles as a steady screen diet.
46 due to lack of viable film roles, she concentrates on radio and stars in broadcast versions of such films as Shock, Sentimental Journey, Golden Boy, and Riders of the Purple Sage
Spring 47 tired of inferior script offers, she requests and receives her release from Fox. After 14 years, she has the longest player tenure up to this time.
Summer 47 signs to costar with Pat O’Brien on the radio series Rexall Summer Theatre
June 47 begins filming The Man From Texas, the first of three anticipated films for the recently formed Eagle-Lion film studio. She is said to have replaced Carole Landis, another former Fox star, in this Western, which will be released in March 1948. Her second vehicle under the pact, The Spiritualist, will be released in August 1948 to favorable reviews.
September 47 wins critical plaudits for her solo star turn on a Suspense radio broadcast
18 September 48 her son, John Michael Luft, is born in Los Angeles, California
February 49 her contract with Eagle-Lion is settled due to the unavailability of an appropriate script for a third film
March 49 resumes work via an episode of the NBC radio series University Theatre of the Air
Summer 49 returns to the screen opposite George Brent in Republic’s location-filmed baseball epic, The Kid from Cleveland
Autumn 49/Spring 50 her initial stage venture casts her in the lead, opposite Sam Levene, in the national tour of Moss Hart’s Light Up the Sky
Summer 50 director Henry King induces her to return to Fox as "the other woman" in his acclaimed Technicolor drama I'd Climb the Highest Mountain
50-51 stars as Connie Conway, the title role in the CBS television series "Detective’s Wife," broadcast live from New York City
26 December 50 starts divorce proceedings against Luft
Summer 51 as her film work stalls, her stage work escalates. After a few additional television appearances, she turns to the Pasadena Playhouse to star in a Steve Allen-authored comedy revue.
31 December 51 her divorce from Luft is finalized
May 52 institutes child-support proceedings against Sid Luft, during which his new spouse, noted entertainer Judy Garland, is called to testify
52-53 stars as Gwen P. Allen, the title character of the NBC television series "Boss Lady." It is one of the first comedy series to be filmed in Hollywood, then just beginning to made inroads to the New York City television-production dominance.
Early 53 does the first picture under a multi-film pact with Universal Pictures, Has Anybody Seen My Gal? For the first time, she gets to do her own singing in a film, something she will continue in several stage productions of the 50s through the 70s.
Summer 53 reintroduces failed support-upgrade action against Luft, who is now Judy Garland’s agent
December 54 meets Dr. Nathan Rickles, "Psychiatrist to the Stars," at a New Year’s Eve party
30 August 55 marries Nathan Rickles; he is 15 years her senior
Summer 56 hits the staw-hat circuit in the dramatic stage plays A Room Full of Roses and The Bad Seed
Autum 56 she enrolls her son in the prestigious Chadwick School in Beverly Hills, where his schoolmates include the children of the present Mrs. Luft, Judy Garland, and Mrs. Yul Brynner, Virginia Gilmore
Spring 57 her last 20th Century-Fox vehicle is released
Summer 57 stars in the stage musical Plain and Fancy, to the annoyance of her spouse
Late 57-Early 58 in an effort to placate Rickles, she places her career on temporary hold
April 58 her final Universal film is released
Summer/Autumn 58 there is much unfavorable publicity over a child-custody action, which is initiated against her by Luft, who is supported in his stance by his current wife, Judy Garland
November 58 she is awarded primary custody of her son John, now 10 years old
59 eager to return to work, she films an Ovaltine television endorsement, which will play for several years
Summer 59 heads the West Coast tour of the play A Clearing in the Woods
Early 60 plays Belle Starr in the debut episode of the TV series "Overland Trail," a vehicle for her longtime friend, William Bendix
11 May 60 her mother Marge dies of natural causes, at age 66, in Manhattan Beach, California
Summer 61 stars in the stage version of The Pleasure of His Company
Summer 62 stars with Sheree North in the stage musical Bye, Bye Birdie
Summer 63 wins kudos for her performance in the Pasadena Playhouse production of All the Way Home
Autumn 63 returns to the screen as the star of the minor mystery film Trauma
Spring 64 receives favorable critical response for her portrayal of a recovered alcoholic in the religious-themed TV special "The Late Liz." The story will be expanded for a 1971 screen vehicle for Anne Baxter.
Summer 64 tours the East Coast in the stage comedy Enter Laughing
Summer 65 stars in the Pasadena Playhouse production of Ballad of the City, authored by comedian Steve Allen
Autumn 65/Spring 66 experiences her most successful stage tour with the comedy Barefoot in the Park, costarring Tab Hunter
Summer 67 has a limited run in the Los Angeles-based play Postcards
Late 67/Early 68 en route to and from a brief European vacation with her husband, she makes the rounds of New York-based TV and radio interview programs and momentarily entertains the thought of pursuing a Broadway acting role, obviously to the displeasure of Dr. Rickles
31 March 68 makes what will become her final network television appearance, in a return visit to the series "The F.B.I." She plays her comic role in a blonde wig.
September 68 ends her 35-year screen career with the MGM film The Young Runaways
Summer 68/Autumn 71 at the insistence of her husband, she holds her career in suspension and occasionally acts as his receptionist/assistant
November 71 separates from Rickles and resumes her career
Spring/Summer 72 agrees to star in a lengthy national tour of Neil Simon’s The Gingerbread Lady, from which she will garner the best notices of the stage-component of her acting career
25 July 72 divorces Nathan Rickles, who will die a few years later of natural causes
Summer 73 costars with Vivian Blaine and Robert Alda in an East Coast tour of Follies, to favorable reviews
Autumn 73 leaves Follies due to illness and is replaced by Julie Wilson
Summer 74 stars in a limited West Coast run of The Gingerbread Lady
Autumn 74 due to recurring illness, including a debilitating arthritic condition, she is obliged to end her four-decade acting career
78 now completely retired, she moves from Beverly Hills to Marina Del Rey, within Los Angles County
80s is one of the few actors to be accorded two stars, for her film and television accomplishments, on the Hollywood Walk of Fame
82 as her physical condition worsens, she relocates with her son from the Los Angeles region to Santa Barbara, California
82-88 while professionally inactive, she continues to keep up with show biz events via such Hollywood contacts as Roddy McDowall, Dana Andrews, and Jean Rogers and television stars Conrad Janis and William Roerick. She always finds time to communicate with longtime fans, too.
Spring 88 entertains the offer of a comeback television guest appearance. Unfortunately, a union strike materializes, and she is physically unable to take the role when filming commences.
Summer 89 appears in a Santa Barbara, California-based television interview program pilot and is heard on the radio program of local personality Tom Carroll
September 89 relocates to a more comfortable abode within the Santa Barbara region, but the move proves physically taxing and greatly impairs her health
20 November 89 dies of natural causes at a hospital in the Santa Barbara suburb of Goleta, California. She is cremated, and her ashes are scattered at sea.
Movie Stars of the '40s by David Ragan,, Thomas Turton, Jeffrey Gordon, The American Movies Reference Book: The Sound Era by Paul Michael
Recommended Books:
Foxy Lady: The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari by Jeff Gordon
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