Claudia Barrett Dies: Actress Who Dazzled ‘Robot Monster’ In Sci-Fi Camp Classic Was 91

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Claudia Barrett, an actress whose busy tv profession of the 1950s was destined to be outdone within the public’s reminiscence by her movie efficiency alongside a gorilla-suited alien within the camp sci-fi trash traditional Robot Monster, died April 30 of pure causes at her home in Palm Desert. She was 91.

Her dying was introduced by her household.

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“Although she loved acting, by the mid 60s she realized her career wasn’t advancing, so she switched to ancillary jobs in film distribution, publicity, and PR, but was not satisfied,” in line with her family-written obituary. “However, in 1981 she found her dream job at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). She worked in the division that produced the awards for scientific and technical advances, got to go to the Academy Awards Show every year, and was able to give tickets to family members in the early years.”

In a picture remembered on numerous “Worst Movies” lists and within the minds of 1950s drive-in theatergoers, a screaming Barrett is carried off, Fay Wray-style, by the title creature of Robot Monster, a giant, furry alien that appears like a stuntman in an inexpensive gorilla go well with with a diving helmet on its head. Which is, kind of, precisely what it was. As portrayed by stuntman George Barrows, the creature was named Ro-Man, and is mostly considered the last word in 1950s low-budget monsterdom.

Born Imagene Williams in West Los Angeles, Barrett studied performing, dancing and singing as a baby in what her mom hoped would help in overcoming shyness. While in highschool, she was named Miss Sherman Oaks in a neighborhood magnificence contest, and shortly started learning on the Pasadena Playhouse. She modified her title to Claudia Barrett, acquired an agent and signed with Warner Brothers.

One of the final actors within the studio system, Barrett studied performing, dancing, singing, magnificence, diction, comportment and modeling at Warner, and labored steadily for 15 years, primarily in TV westerns. Among her credit: Hopalong Cassidy, Cowboy G-Men, The Abbot and Costello Show, Studio 57, The Lone Ranger, The Cisco Kid, Buffalo Bill Jr., The Adventures of Wild Bill Hickok, The Roy Rogers Show, Death Valley Days and Lawman, amongst others.

She additionally appeared in movies, together with She appeared in such movies as White Heat (1949), The Story of Seabiscuit (1949), Chain Lightning (1950) and The Great Jewel Robbery (1950).

Sci-fi immortality got here in 1953, when she was solid as Alice, daughter within the final surviving household in 25-year-old producer-director Phil Tucker’s post-apocalyptic Robot Monster. Costarring George Nader and shot in black and white 3-D, Robot Monster was shot largely in L.A.’s Bronson Canyon over 4 days with a reported funds of $16,000.

With a plot lifted from King Kong, Robot Monster adopted the ape-like creature whose directions to wipe out the human inhabitants stumble when he turns into smitten with Barrett’s beautiful Alice.

The movie would possibly simply have been forgotten had it not left a legacy as certainly one of Hollywood’s all-time turkeys. Even in its personal time, the film was so poorly obtained that its younger director reportedly tried suicide (“I finally realized my future in the film industry was bleak,” Tucker wrote in a observe that itself has entered Hollywood legend).

In later many years, Robot Monster can be each remembered and praised as, within the phrases of critic Leonard Maltin, “embarrassingly, hilariously awful,” and would earn spoofs on Mystery Science Theater, in Looney Tunes and Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles cartoons and by the rock band The Cars of their hit MTV video for the track “You Might Think.” (The movie has yet one more declare to Hollywood fame: It’s music was composed by the good Elmer Bernstein, who would go on to put in writing among the best Hollywood scores in historical past, together with that for To Kill A Mockingbird, however in 1953 was scraping for work after being “graylisted” for his left-wing associations.)

For the remainder of her life, Barrett would obtain fan mail for her function within the camp traditional, whilst she devoted herself to poetry, watercolors, the examine of Emerson and exercise in Palm Desert’s Center for Spiritual Living.

“Claudia was loved by many people, and kept friends for life,” in line with household. “She was known for her sweet personality, kindness, and cheerfulness. She was an excellent and thoughtful gift giver who loved Christmas and other holidays with her family.”

She was married to actor Alan Wells (The Long Ranger, Cape Fear) from 1953 till their divorce in 1957, and is survived by niece Bonnie, nephew Ron, quite a few cousins, different members of the family and lots of pals.

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