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Adrienne Barbeau is an American author and actress with a career spanning four decades. She has four books to her name – a biography and three novels – and is considered a classic star of the cult horror movie genre. Adrienne has dabbled in all facets of the show industry, from Broadway to TV, and the shiny silver screen. She even had a brief stint as a singer and released a folk music album.
Adrienne came into the limelight in the 1970s when she gave a wonderful theatrical performance as the character of beloved Rizzo, in the Broadway musical, Grease. You might recognize her from the popular sitcom Maude, where she played Carol Traynor, the divorced daughter of the titular Maude.
Adrienne Barbeau Bio
Born on June 11, 1945, in Sacramento to an Armenian mother, and a father who worked as an executive for Mobil Oil, Adrienne had a pretty normal childhood. She went to Del Mar High School in San Jose, California and moved to New York in the late 1960s. She went to work as a go-go dancer, entertaining troops and performing at different locations. It was during this time that she fell in love with show business and decided to pursue an acting career.
Her big break came when she cinched a position, singing the chorus in the 1964 Broadway musical The Fiddler on the Roof. She stayed with the play until she was offered the lead role in another musical called Stag Movie. Despite having to be naked on stage for her role as Cookie Kovac, Adrienne’s performance received critical acclaim.
She went on to feature in over 25 musicals and plays including Grease, which earned her a Tony Award nomination and a Theater World Award for her performance as the determined Rizzo. After breaking into the television scene in the 1970s with Maude, Adrienne got cast in other television series like Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Battle of the Network Stars, Burden of Proof, Spies, Carnivale, and in Batman: The Animated Series in which she voiced Catwoman. During this time, she guest-starred in several popular hit shows including Dexter and Grey’s Anatomy.
Her Love Life (Husband, Divorce, and Kids)
While on the set of his television movie Someone’s Watching Me, Adrienne met and fell in love with John Carpenter. The two were married on January 1, 1975, a union that lasted five years. They got divorced in 1984, shortly after their son John Cody was born. She married Billy Van Zandt, Hollywood actor/producer/playwright on December 31, 1992. The couple has twin boys – William Dalton and Walker Steven Van Zandt.
Adrienne crossed over to the silver screen when her then-husband, John Carpenter cast her in his horror movie, The Fog. It was her first appearance in a movie, and it established her as a star of the genre. Afterward, she was featured in other sci-fi and horror movies including her best-known works Swamp Thing, Creepshow, and Escape From New York.
In 1998, Adrienne released her debut folk music album, Adrienne Barbeau which was very well received. In 2006, she published her memoir There Are Worse Things I Could Do, which chronicled her personal and professional journey through life. It rose to No. 11 on the Los Angeles bestsellers list. Her first novel Vampyres of Hollywood was released in 2008, followed by a sequel Love Bites in 2010. The second sequel Make Me Dead was published in 2015.
5 Interesting Facts You Need To Know About The Actress
1. Adrienne became a sex symbol in the 1970s when she appeared on a cheesecake poster wearing a tight purple corset. Her voluptuous figure made her very popular in American households, and that fame grew when the critic Joe Bob Briggs commented that she had two enormous talents, a sly reference to her breasts. The poster was a bestseller.
2. She gave birth to her twin sons when she was 51 years old, an age where most women were nearing or already in menopause. She wrote in her autobiography that she was the oldest person in the hospital ward that day.
3. Adrienne Barbeau did a nude scene in the movie Swamp Thing. Although it was only made for European audiences, the scene eventually made its way to an American DVD. The DVD was later recalled after a Texas woman complained about her son viewing a nudity scene in a PG movie.
4. Despite being a horror movie star, Adrienne doesn’t watch the genre and gets very scared by it.
5. While shooting the movie The Fog, Adrienne Barbeau who was a religious non-smoker had to smoke several packets of cigarettes a day in order to master how to do it right. The heavy smoking put her health at risk.