Barbara Leigh Biography
Barbara stayed on that small town until age 5 until then her family moved to Miami, Florida. At age 16, Barbara spent an entire summer vacation visiting her family in Georgia and Tennessee, where she met and married the first love of her life who was stationed in Cuba when he served in the Marine Corps. Two years later, Barbara gave birth to her son, Gerry Haynes.
At 19, Barbara and her family moved to Los Angeles, California. She worked as a nurse while raising her son, and soon divorced .settling into the life of a single mother.
One day, a co-worker asked if she would like to go dancing in Beverly Hills at The Other Place a once popular nightclub. It was Barbaras first nightclub experience. That evening, the bands lead singer, Mark Devlin, spotted her in the audience and since then, they began dating. Mark had professional photographs taken of Barbara, which were later used by the Kodak Film Company and started Barbaras career in modeling.
Barbara moved to New York City, signed with the famous Ford Modeling Agency, returned to Los Angeles and embarked on an acting career, first by studying with Charles Conrad. She was quickly signed by The Ashley Famous Agency, which is now better known as International Creative Management, and assigned to agent Dick Clayton, known for discovering James Dean, among numerous other stars. Her first commercial gig was for Coca-Cola.
When it was time to join the Screen Actors Guild, the name Barbara Haynes had already been taken, bringing about the need for a change. Her agent happened to be reading that Vivian Leigh had just died, and abruptly blurted out to the whole office, That's it, Barbara Leigh!
Vivian Leigh had died .and Barbara Leigh was born.
Barbara made more than 50 commercials - several winning her awards for Best Commercial Of The Year. She then began making feature and TV films, even becoming a regular on the series Harry O, starring David Jansen.
Barbara was walking on the beach in Malibu, California, when she was spotted by the French director, Roger Vadim, famous for discovering Bridget Bardot, and marrying Jane Fonda. Running from his beachfront home, Vadim pegged Barbara for the role of Jean, Rock Hudson's wife in the movie, Pretty Maids All In A Row. Vadim was convinced Barbara was perfect for the part and ended his search. Barbara was offered a part starring opposite Bridget Bardot in Vadims next movie, but she was homesick for America.
Barbara's favorite film to work on was Junior Bonner. Being cast opposite Steve McQueen was exciting and an unforgettable experience, as was working with the films controversial director, Sam Peckinpah. Barbara met McQueen during casting and began dating him before shooting started. Their love affair has been documented in her book, The King, McQueen And The Love Machine.
During this period Barbara also dated the President of MGM Studios, the legendary Jim Aubrey (also known as The Smiling Cobra and The Love Machine). Jacqueline Susanne's best-selling novel, The Love Machine, and the film adapted from it, were based on Aubrey's life. He introduced Barbara to Elvis Presley at the Las Vegas Hilton, and shortly afterward .Elvis and Barbara were dating. Over the next several years Barbara accompanied The King on a number of tours, and remained close friends until his death.
Barbara's biggest break came in 1975, when she was cast to play what would turn out to be the most important role of her life, Vampirella, for Englands Hammer Films.
For Barbara, Vampirella was, A dream come true. As a child, Barbara had two passions. One was the story of Dracula. The other was Egyptian culture, which she has studied her entire life, making her an amateur Egyptologist.
During a worldwide search, Michael Carreras of Hammer Films cast Barbara as the perfect Vampirella, and signed her to a six picture deal. But like so many things in the film industry, the project was never completed.
After the Vampirella project folded, Barbara married a New York lawyer and retired from the business .heartbroken that she never fulfilled her dream to play the one character that meant so much to her.
Though Barbara has modeled around the world, graced the covers of dozens of magazines, and with fan clubs as far away as Yugoslavia, she found time to attend L.As Antioch College West, majoring in psychology, and studied Commercial Real Estate Development at New York University. She is currently a licensed real estate Agent in Los Angeles.
It wouldn't be until the mid 1990's that the Vampirella character came back into Barbara's life, as she became known as the first and Original Vampirella to legions of Vampirella fans.
In April of 1995, the annual Chiller Theater Convention invited Barbara to be a part of the festivities. Hundreds of fans showed up to see her as Vampirella, many of whom had seen her at "The Famous Monster Convention" of 1976 held in New York City, with Peter Cushing, Forrest Ackerman, James Warren and Michael Carreras.
Today, Barbara appears at autograph conventions, where she displays the original Vampirella costume and jewelry, which were made for her by the famed Western Costume Company.
Barbara currently works for Playboy magazine, along with posing for two celebrity pictorials (May '73 & January '77). She has always had great respect for Hugh Hefner and the magazine. As a hobby, Barbara works with a local Animal Rescue and writes. She is also generously involved in civic and community activities, and in the past, she has volunteered her time to the Star Light Foundation and The Aids Healthcare Foundation
Barbara co-wrote her autobiography, entitled, The King, McQueen and The Love Machine, with Marshall Terrill, who wrote the best-selling biography, Steve McQueen. The book details Barbara's life, along with the excitement, passion and heartache of her romantic and extraordinary relationships with Elvis Presley, Steve McQueen and Jim Aubrey.