THEN: Any self-respecting horror fan should know the name Adrienne Barbeau. The actress was a staple in the genre for many years, even married to John Carpenter for a time and appearing in a couple of his most impressive films. She was a rarity as she could play the “tough chick” yet there was nothing masculinized about this voluptuous beauty. I find it hard to name a single modern day horror hottie that comes close to having the curvy goodness that Ms. Barbeau was famous for. And to top it all off, this lovely lady can act – from Broadway to Hollywood to Nashville, she has done it all… yes, she recorded a country/folk record back in 1998.
While Barbeau had made a name for herself on the popular sitcom “Maude” for six seasons back in 1972 to 1978, it wasn’t until John Carpenter’s THE FOG (1980) that horror hounds fell in love with this sumptuous siren. As radio DJ ‘Stevie Wayne,’ the actress made for a winning combination of sexy and smart while still remaining very believable as a mother trying to protect her son from the glowing mist that covered Antonio Bay. While remaining clothed throughout the entire film, she charmed the pants off men everywhere with her strikingly good looks and her crazy sensual voice. If only all DJ’s had a voice like that.
Throughout the 1980’s Barbeau was cast in a number of horror and science fiction films, many of which have become cult classics. Aside from THE FOG, she worked with Carpenter again in ESCAPE FROM NEW YORK (1981) – the two met on the set of his gem of a TV movie “Someone’s Watching Me” (1978). She also made a very big impression for many a young man with her very revealing turn in Wes Craven’s SWAMP THING (1982) and the George Romero/Stephen King collaboration CREEPSHOW in 1982 as well. According to her IMDB page, the actress lent her alluring vocal talents to the not so alluring, but terrifyingly gruesome THE THING (1982) – again with Carpenter (the couple divorced soon after in 1984).
This buxom beauty furthered her geek cred by lending her voice to ‘Selina Kyle/Catwoman’ in several animated “Batman” television shows. And while she seemed to drift away from horror after the early to mid-Eighties, she always managed to make an impression. With a ton of guest appearances in dozens of television shows as well as memorable roles in THE CANNONBALL RUN (1981) and BACK TO SCHOOL (1986) early on in her career, the actress proved to stand the test of time. So much so that she once again charmed more than just snakes as ‘Ruthie’ in the HBO series “Carnivàle” in 2003 – 2005.
In 2009, the actress appeared in the hit series “Dexter” as well as the soap opera “General Hospital” from 2010 to 2011. And much to my Adrienne loving surprise, Barbeau had a terrific little cameo in what is arguably one of the best films of the year as a B-movie actress in Ben Affleck’s exceptional ARGO. You might have also caught her in an episode of “Revenge” as well as heard her voice in the video game Halo 4. Next up, she looks to be playing herself in the tongue-in-cheekishly titled BRING ME THE HEAD OF LANCE HENRIKSEN that is currently in post-production according to IMDB.
It is refreshing to see that while the lovely Adrienne Barbeau may have occasionally stepped away from our beloved genre, she continues to take on some unique and fun roles as well as voiceovers. This multi-talented artist has also written a couple of books including a memoir of her career entitled “There Are Worse Things I Could Do” – the title was inspired by the fact that she was the first to play ‘Rizzo’ in the original Broadway production of “Grease.” Recently she made her first foray into fiction in 2008 with “Vampyres in Hollywood” and its sequel “Love Bites” in 2010 – both co-written with Michael Scott.
With such an amazing body of work – as well as an amazing body – tell us your favorite Adrienne Barbeau performance? And yes, we’ll count her work as a romulan on an episode of “Star Trek: Deep Space Nine.” For more on one of my favorite genre gals, you can check out her official website here.