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Barbara Perry (June 22, 1921 – May 5, 2019) was an American actress, singer and dancer who worked in Hollywood and on Broadway.

Barbara Perry
Born(1921-06-22)June 22, 1921
DiedMay 5, 2019(2019-05-05) (aged 97)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills)
OccupationActress, singer, dancer
Years active1933–2017
Spouse(s)Bennett Warren James (1953–1965; divorced)
Art Babbitt (1967–1992; his death)


Early lifeEdit

Perry was born in Norfolk, Virginia. Her father, William Covington Perry, of Hopewell, Virginia, was a classical and jazz keyboardist/orchestra+band conductor/orchestral arranger with the Happiness Boys, the New York NBC Radio Studios' (Blue Network) "Interwoven Stocking Co. Hour", his own band called "Perry's Hot Dogs", with Ben Selvin and his Orchestra, and with many Broadway shows. He died of tuberculosis in Banning, California on October 30, 1936. Her mother, Victoria Mae (Gates) Perry of New Castle, Pennsylvania, sang soprano in the chorus of the Metropolitan Opera, at the Old Metropolitan Opera House, starting around 1925, under General Manager Giulio Gatti-Casazza.


Being separated from her husband around the time she sang with the Metropolitan Opera Chorus, as a form of "childcare", she enlisted her only daughter, Barbara, as a member of the children's ballet of the Met's corps de ballet. This was the start of Barbara's lifelong dance training and career. Barbara's daughter also became an international opera singer in the 1980s, and her ancestor, Harriett Bellows Pierce, "... was educated in a college of music in Boston. She gave music and singing lessons on the frontier" while emigrating West.

Barbara began her film career in 1933, when she appeared in Counsellor at Law. She also had a small part in The Mystery of Edwin Drood in 1935.

She headlined as a solo dancer (ballet-tap) in many top line nightclubs internationally, including work on Broadway and off-Broadway, in various productions. She was Eddie Foy Jr.'s dance partner, playing Anna in "Rumple" at the Alvin Theatre in 1957, starring Gretchen Wyler and Stephen Douglass, and with a young Elliott Gould in the Chorus. In 1950 she was Mrs. Larry in Happy as Larry on Broadway.

By the mid-1950s to the early-1960s, she had studied acting at the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London, England, while performing opposite George Formby, Warde Donovan, and Sara Gregory in Zip Goes a Million at the Hippodrome and Palace Theatres, and upon her return to the USA had started appearing in numerous television series such as The Donna Reed Show, The Andy Griffith Show, My Three Sons, and The Dick Van Dyke Show, where she played Buddy Sorrell's wife Pickles, before being replaced by Joan Shawlee.[1][2]

She also played Thelma Brockwood on The Hathaways.

Perry's last known role was in the television series Baskets.

Personal lifeEdit

Perry was first married to Bennett Warren James on December 13, 1953, in Las Vegas, Nevada, at the Flamingo Hotel and Casino where she was headlining in the nightclub. Seymour Felix, Perry's producer, gave her away, as well as arranged and paid for the wedding. They divorced in Los Angeles, California on April 2, 1965. They had one daughter, Laurel Lee James.

Her second marriage was to animator Art Babbitt[1] on April 14, 1967, in Hollywood, California, until his death in 1992. They had no children.[3]

Perry died on May 5, 2019 in Los Angeles at the age of 97.[4][5]



Year Film Role Notes
1933 Counsellor at Law Dorothy Dwight
1935 The Mystery of Edwin Drood Schoolgirl Uncredited
1944 Hi, Beautiful Specialty dancer Uncredited
1945 An Angel Comes to Brooklyn Barbara
1949 I Was a Male War Bride Tall WAC
1960 From the Terrace Blonde Uncredited
1962 Period of Adjustment Cherylynn Anderson Uncredited
1963 Shock Corridor Uncredited
1964 The Naked Kiss Edna
1965 Mirage Dr. Broden's Receptionist Uncredited
1971 Thief Mrs. Risman Television film
1973 Tom Jim's Mother
1978 Operation Room Television film
1980 Marilyn: The Untold Story Television film
1983 I Take These Men Professor Ann Bromfield Television film
1984 Trancers Mrs. Santa Claus
1989 Trust Me Severe Woman
1989 Tap Milly
1989 Wedding Band Margot
1990 Polly Comin' Home! Mrs. Clayton
1991 Father of the Bride Female Factory Worker
1993 Double Deception Lil Paxton
1997 Just Write Mildred
2007 Mr. Woodcock Old Woman
2010 The Back-up Plan Wedding Singer
2011 Let Go Sweet Old Lady
2012 The Tango Singer Bertha Gardes
2015 Everybody Does It Grandma
2017 The Extra Herself


Year Title Role Notes
1948 Rooftop Rendezvous Herself Season 1, Ep. 5
1955 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Herself 1 episode
1957 The Ed Sullivan Show Herself Season 11, Ep. 12
1959 The Thin Man Binky 1 episode
1959 The Life and Legend of Wyatt Earp Phronsie LaTour 1 episode
1960 The Twilight Zone Blonde Woman Episode: The Chaser
1960 The Jim Backus Show Lollypop 1 episode
1960 The Donna Reed Show Buffie Season 1 - Episode 6
1961 Thriller Babs Dawson 1 episode
1961-1962 The Dick Van Dyke Show Pickles Sorrell 2 episodes
1961-1962 The Hathaways Thelma Brockwood / Thelma Blackwood 6 episodes
1962 Pete and Gladys Betty / Carol 2 episodes
1963 The Joey Bishop Show Shopper Episode: Two Little Maids Are We
1963-1966 The Andy Griffith Show Floss / Doris Williams / Lavinia / Mary Lee Becktel 4 episodes
1964-1972 My Three Sons Mrs. Thompson / Mrs. Hoover 3 episodes
1964 The Fugitive Woman in hall Episode: Rat in a Corner
1964 The Farmer's Daughter Connie Episode: The Turkish Delight
1964 Arrest and Trial Clara Episode: Those Which Love Has Made
1964 The Cara Williams Show Miss Bertrand Episode: The Wedding Rehearsal
1965 My Favorite Martian Miss Hotchkiss Episode: Martin of the Movies
1965-1966 Perry Mason Girl Assistant / Beauty Operator 2 episodes
1966 The Lucy Show Blonde Customer / The Housewife 2 episodes
1966 Family Affair Bess Melville Episode: Buffy
1966 Daniel Boone Lydia Dorsey Episode: The Loser's Race
1967 Gomer Pyle, U.S.M.C. Den Mother Episode: Gomer, the Good Samaritan
1968 Bewitched Mrs. Bentley / Mrs. MacLane 2 episodes
1970 Room 222 Pearl Episode: The Whole World Can Hear You
1970 The Bill Cosby Show Mrs. Perry Episode: Open House
1971 Adam-12 Wilma Engles Episode: Log 26: LEMRAS
1973 Needles and Pins Mrs. Martindale Episode: It Was a Very Good Line
1975 Joe and Sons Theresa Episode: Joe's Date
1980 Barnaby Jones Mitzi Episode: The Final Victim
1982 Trapper John, M.D. Registrar Episode: Doctors and Other Strangers
1982 Benson Mary Colton Episode: Mary and Her Lambs
1983 St. Elsewhere Dietician Episode: Rain
1984 The Duck Factory Aunt Pauline Episode: The Annies
1984 Newhart Tourist Episode: Tickets, Please
1989 Quantum Leap Theora Beaman Episode: Good Morning, Peoria - September 9, 1959
1989 The Magical World of Disney Woman Episode: Polly
1989 Dallas Ms. Perkins Episode: Sex, Lies and Videotape
1989 Murder, She Wrote Party Guest Episode: Town Father
1990 Murphy Brown Secretary #39 Episode: The Last Laugh
1992 Parker Lewis Can't Lose Auntie Em Episode: Civil Wars
1992 Married... with Children Old Lady Episode: Psychic Avengers
1997 Alright Already Lillian Episode: Again with the Funeral
2000 Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction 1 episode
2003 The Guardian Woman Episode: Carnival
2009 The Unit Old Woman Episode: The Last Nazi
2009-2014 How I Met Your Mother Mrs. Douglas 2 episodes
2011 Perfect Couples Aunt Bertha Episode: Perfect Wedding
2013 Work It Elderly Woman #1 Episode: My So-Called Mid-Life Crisis
2014 Review Episode: Making a Sex Tape; Being a Racist; Hunting
2017 Baskets Gift Shop Employee Episode: Ronald Reagan Library


  1. ^ a b "Nine And A Half Questions With Barbara Perry Babbitt". Animation World Network. February 12, 2002. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  2. ^ "Barbara Perry". The New York Times. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  3. ^ "Talking with Barbara Perry". 1999. Retrieved March 6, 2014.
  4. ^ Ramos, Dino-Ray (May 5, 2019). "Barbara Perry Dies: 'The Dick Van Dyke Show', 'Baskets' Actress Was 97". Deadline.
  5. ^ "Barbara Perry, Actress on 'The Dick Van Dyke Show,' Dies at 97". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved May 6, 2019.

External linksEdit