Barbara Nichols (1928-1976), the "dame with the shapely frame," changed her reddish-brown hair to platinum blonde, drew whistles as a semi-nude post-World War Two pin-up model, and was named Miss Long Island. Broadway beckoned and she drew attention in the Pal Joey musical. When Hollywood called, she filled a dubious niche in small, wisecracking roles, wringing both comedy and tragedy from cheesy, dim-witted stereotypical strippers, gold-diggers,barflies, gun molls, and floozies.
Barbara scored great reviews in films, such as Pal Joey (1957), Sweet Smell of Success (1957) and The Pajama Game (1957). Her later work on television cemented her archetypical characterizations on The Bob Cummings Show (1958-1960), Love that Jill (1958),The Jack Benny Program (1958-1960),The Red Skelton Hour (1958-1960), The Beverly Hillbillies (1962), Adam-12(1968), The Twilight Zone (1959), The Untouchables (1959) and Batman, among others.
Always the life of the party and smiling before the public, her private life spiraled down into a whirlpool of troubled relationships and heartbreaking decline. Forever haunted by her unbreakable image as "that kind of woman," Barbara ultimately fell victim to the perilous price of fame, yet her sunny character and the hilarious anecdotes recalled by co-workers, directors, and relatives live on as a testament to her enduring appeal. The author has drawn from extensive interviews with Tab Hunter, Michael Dante, Marvin Kaplan, Paula Stewart,Barbara Luna, Mamie Van Doren, Shirley Knight, director William Byron Hillman, Barbara's psychic, two of her relatives, fellow high school students, and friends.
Filmography.Index. Bibliography. Foreword by her second-cousin, John Carpenter. Illustrated with more than 200 photographs from her personal archives.
Filmography.Index. Bibliography. Foreword by her second-cousin, John Carpenter. Illustratedwith more than 200 photographs from her personal archives.