Barbara Hershey Biography
A true daughter of tinseltown, Barbara Lyn Herztein, born on February 5, 1984 in Hollywood, California to an Irish American mother and a Jewish American horse-racing columnist father. She got her education from Hollywood High School.
Her first shot at acting was as a guest on the show Gidget in 1965, she appeared on three episodes. She was then cast in 1966 on the show "The Monroes", the experience on working on the show was not all that pleasant for the young Barbara Hershey that she'd often write to the producers of the show under a false name, asking them to cancel the show.
On 1968's "With Six You Get Egroll", her first appearance on a film and sadly, also marked Doris Day's final appearance on a film.
The following year she appeared in a Glenn Frod western Film, "Heaven With A Gun", co-starring David Carradine and to whom she would later be romatically involved with. The couple generated noise while they were together, being icons for the HOllywood counterculture, the flower children or the hippy movement of the 60's. Their union bore fruit and they had a child which they named Free. Later on, Free would change his name to the more contemporary name, Tom.
Later that same year, she took on "Last Summer", based on Evan Hunter's (Ed McBain) novel, it was directed by Frank Perry. The film featured a graphic rape scene that earned it an X rating, co-star Catherine Burns got a nod from the Academy, she was nominated for the Best Suppporting Actress Oscar Award.
While filming "Last Summer", witnessed a seagull get killed and felt a deep sense of responsibility for it's death and as a tribute to the creature she went on during the early 70's under the name Barbara Seagull.
Reinforcing her hippie image as an open minded, free-thinking free-spirit were the films she chooses to take part in and to be exact the subject matter the film tackles. Such film is "The Baby Maker", released in 1970, the film explored way ahead of its time, the idea of being a surrogate mother.
An image that further helped her career move naturally on a 0 direction that seem to lead her to meet and get to work with the most creative and artistic people at the time. Case in point is 1972's Roger Corman produced, "Boxcar Bertha", a film helmed by young and then just-fresh-out-of- film-school, Martin Scorsese.
The sixteen-year labor of love, book adaptation to film of "The Last Temptation of Christ" by Scorsese could be credited to have been sparked by Barbara Hershey.While filming "Boxcar Bertha", she gave the young director a copy of Niko Kazantzakis's "The Last Temptation of Christ", Hershey's favorite book. Sixteen years later, Scorsese would cast Hershey as Mary Magdalene on the film, to make her feel she earned the role, he made her audition for the part before officially casting her for the part.
David Carradine once again co-starred on "Boxcar Bertha", in the actors had a love that they would later recreate fora photo spread for Playboy Magazine.
By the Late 70's, the hippie label soon lost its charm and couldn't quite carry Hershey's career like it used to. Soon, all she was seen on was made for TV movies. The last worth mentioning film she appeared on was with Charlton Heston, "The Last Hard Men" in 1976.
Four years passed and in 1980, the comedy film "The Stunt Man" was released and became an instant classic. Critically acclaimed, her first appearance in a film that showed she still had more to offer.
Her body of work and her reputation alone made her among her peers a force to keep tabs onfrom time to time. Michael Douglas, saw her performance on the 1981 film "Entity", a film where Hershey's character is repeatedly raped by an unseen supernatural being. Douglas was so impressed, he fought for her to be cast in later film he'd be involved in as his estranged wife in, "Falling Down".
Woody Allen, again after watching her performance and being blown away, would later help her during her career revival in the mid-80's, casting her in what has become Woody Allen's most commercially succesful film, "Hannah and her Sisters".
All the help she got really did pay off as more of Hershey was seen again on more and more films of the same calibre as what she and the people have been used to seeing her in. In the 1983 Philip Kaufman film "The Right Stuff", she played test pilot Chuck Yeager's wife, Glennis Yeager.
And she just kept on doing filmsand by mid-decade, after the commercial success of "Hannah and her Sisters" and her equally succesful comeback, she topped it all off with an unprecedented back-to-back win for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for her work on the films "Shy People" and "A World Apart".
In the 1988 movie "Beaches" with Bette Midler, in preparation for her role in the film, she injected collagen into her lips that drew negative remarks and equally negative media coverage.
During the 1990 Emmy Awards, her portrayal of Candy Morrison in "A Killing In A Small Town" was acknowledged and she was given the award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Mini-Series or Special. She then went on to do small independently produced films and a few appearances on TV all throughout the nineties.
In her portrayal of Madame Merle in the 1996 Henry James novel adaptation to film "The Portrait of a Lady", at the helm was Jane Campion. The role earned her an Oscar nomination. The National Society of Film Critics awarded her the Best Supporting Actress Award for her work on the film. Winning even further praise as an artist was in yet another amazing performance in the 1998 film "A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries" where she played Kris Kristofferson's bohemian wife. As a struggling actress in Amo Poe, "Frogs for Snakes" was released the very same year. Before the decade ended, she topped it with highly anticipated book to film adaptation of Kurt Vonnegut's "Breakfast Of Champions" where Hershey played Bruce Willis' Wife.
Naveen Andrews, her co-star In the 1999 film "Drowning on Dry Land" later became romantically linked to Hershey but in 2005 fathered a child by another woman while they were supposedly on a brief break. The couplehas put everything behind them and has reconciled since.
Joining a large ensemble, mostly Australian cast in 2001 for the film "Lantana", the critically acclaimed film also starred among its long list of actors were Kerry Armstrong, Anthony LaPaglia and Geoffrey Rush.
She continues to act to this day and the latest to be added to her huge body of work is the 2007 release, "Childless".