I Do Barbara Rush

Rush — and Rush as Pierrot

Anyone who knows their beans knows that the title of this post comes from Shampoo (1975). Warren Beatty offers this information to a bank manager in the hopes it will help him to secure a business loan. He means that he does her hair, but given what we know of his character, a double entendre is also there for those who appreciate such things. As is another layer of humor — Barbara Rush (b. 1927), while extraordinarily lovely, and a capable actress, is known mostly for B movie fodder, science fiction, soapy melodrama, and the like. In the year the movie was set, she was a regular on Peyton Place. It’s not exactly like saying “I know Liz Taylor” — but then, what is?

Rush grew up in Santa Barbara and graduated from UC Santa Barbara with a degree in theatre in 1948. After some experience at the Pasadena Playhouse, she began to get booked in films and television in 1951. Her best known early credits are the sci fi classics When Worlds Collide (1951) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). (I always think she was in Forbidden Planet, but, no, that was Anne Francis). Her most prestigious film credit may be Douglas Sirk’s Magnificent Obsession (1954), in which she was third-billed under Rock Hudson and Jane Wyman. She was also in both The Young Lions (1958) and The Young Philadelphians (1959), and appeared opposite Frank Sinatra in Neil Simon’s Come Blow Your Horn (1963), and Robin and the 7 Hoods (1964). The Paul Newman western Hombre (1967) sort of ends of her classic period, which includes a couple of dozen other forgotten westerns, romances, and the like.

Rush’s first husband (1950-55) was Jeffrey Hunter, who went on to do The Searchers, King of Kings, and Star Trek (as Christopher Pike) after they broke up. For a time she lived in the old Harold Lloyd estate.

Rush is one of those women who are more attractive in middle age than in their youth. Ironically she is much more appealing in her work of the 1970s than her work of the 1950s, though it consisted of such fodder as the ABC TV movie Moon of the Wolf (1972), Walt Disney’s Superdad (1973), Fantasy Island, The Love Boat, Death Car on the Freeway (1979), Irwin Allen’s The Night the Bridge Fell Down (1979), and the Village People disco musical Can’t Stop the Music (1980), directed by Nancy Walker. She was a regular on the night-time soap Flamingo Road (1980-82), and later did guest spots on shows like Magnum PI, 7th Heaven, and Murder She Wrote. And lots and lots of live theatre. She has essentially been retired since 2007.

She gets her hair done at Carrie White’s.