Barbara Baxley was born in Porterville, Carolina in 1923. She appeared for many years on various U.S. television dramas before making her movie debut in 1962 in William Inge’s “All Fall Down” with Warren Beatty and Angela Lansbury. She gave incisive performances in such films as “No Way To Treat A Lady”, “Nashville” and “Sea of Love”. Barbara Baxley died in 1990 at the age of 67.
Barbara Angie Rose Baxley was born on New Year’s Day 1923 to Emma A. & C. Bert Baxley in Porterville, CA. She was the youngest of their two daughters and was named after her grandmothers; Angie Sibley-Tyler and Iva Matilda Rose-Baxley. Barbara attended and graduated with honors from the University of the Pacific in Stockton where she was raised, and won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York where she studied with Sanford Meisner. She made her 1948 Broadway debut in Noel Coward‘s Private Lives, starring Tallulah Bankhead and Donald Cook. In 1960 she received a Tony nomination for her role in the Tennessee Williams play Period of Adjustment. She was a charter member of the Actors Studio where she studied with Elia Kazan. She was good friends with and shared an apartment with Tallulah Bankhead for many years. She had many television & film roles, and won critical praise for her role as Sally Field ‘s mother in Norma Rae (1979), but her love was Broadway. Barbara loved cats and had one named Tulah.
The above IMDB entry can also be accessed online here.
New York Times obituary in 1990:
Barbara Baxley, a stage, film and television actress, was found dead Thursday in her Upper West Side apartment. The medical examiner’s office said the apparent cause of death was a heart attack. She was 63 years old.
Since her 1948 Broadway debut as a baffled bride in a revival of Noel Coward’s ”Private Lives,” starring Tallulah Bankhead and Donald Cook, Miss Baxley played a wide variety of roles in productions that ranged from Shakespeare to musical comedies.
In 1960 she played a different bride, this one from Texas, in the Tennessee Williams play ”Period of Adjustment,” for which she received a Tony nomination.
She also won critical praise as Sally Field’s mother in the 1979 film ”Norma Rae” and again in 1981 as a business executive in Wendy Wasserstein’s play ”Isn’t It Romantic.” In his review of ”Isn’t It Romantic,” Mel Gussow of The New York Times cited Miss Baxley’s ”stylish personification of boardroom urbanity.”
Other Broadway Credits
Miss Baxley’s other Broadway credits include ”Whodunnit” (1983), ”The Three Sisters” (1964), ”She Loves Me” (1963), ”The Flowering Peach” (1954), ”The Frogs of Spring” (1953), ”Camino Real” (1953) and ”Out West of Eighth” (1951).
Early in her career, she filled in for Jean Arthur in ”Peter Pan” and took over Julie Harris’s role in ”I Am a Camera.”
Off Broadway, she sang Brecht-Weill songs in ”Brecht on Brecht” (1962) and appeared in ”To Be Young, Gifted and Black” (1969).
She played Isabel in ”Measure for Measure,” a New York Shakespeare Festival production in Central Park in 1966, and Portia in ”The Merchant of Venice” at the American Shakespeare Festival in Stratford, Conn., in 1967. At the Yale Repertory Theater she had the title roles in ”Mrs. Warren’s Profession” and ”Major Barbara.”
She starred in the national companies of ”Zorba,” ”The Dark at the Top of the Stairs” and the Kennedy Center Bicentennial production of ”Scarecrow.” In Chicago she co-starred with George Grizzard in ”The Taming of the Shrew” and Moliere’s ”Misanthrope.”
Miss Baxley’s films included ”Nashville” (1975), ”Countdown” (1968), ”No Way to Treat a Lady” (1968), ”All Fall Down” (1962) and ”The Savage Eye” (1960).
Her many guest appearances on television included ”Murder, She Wrote,” ”Hawaii Five-O,” ”The Hitchcock Hour,” ”Studio One” and ”Playhouse 90.” In the Norman Lear series ”All That Glitters,” she played the industrialist L. W. Carruthers.
Miss Baxley, born in Stockton, Calif., graduated with honors in speech and history from the College of the Pacific in Stockton and won a scholarship to the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York, where she studied with Sanford Meisner. She was also a charter member of the Actors Studio, where she studied with Elia Kazan.
Miss Baxley received honors including the Actors Studio Award for achievement in 1980.
She leaves no immediate survivors.