Lynn Bari (December 18, 1913 – November 20, 1989), born Margaret Schuyler Fisher, was a movie actress who specialized in playing sultry, statuesque man-killers in over one hundred 20th Century Fox films from the early 1930s through the 1940s.
William Bendix, Lynn Bari and
in Overland Trail
Bari was born in Roanoke, Virginia. She lived at the foot of Mill Mountain from 1920 to 1925 in a two-story house located at 613 Walnut Avenue.
In most of her early films Bari had uncredited parts usually playing receptionists or chorus girls. Bari's rare leading roles include China Girl (1942), Hello, Frisco, Hello (1943), and The Spiritualist (1948). In B movies, Lynn was usually cast as a villainess, notably Shock and Nocturne, both 1946. An exception was The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944). Lynn Bari's last film appearance was as the mother of rebellious teenagerPatty McCormack in The Young Runaways (1968).
In 1955, Bari appeared in the episode "The Beautiful Miss X" of Rod Cameron's syndicated crime dramaCity Detective. In 1960, she played female bandit Belle Starr in the episode "Perilous Passage" of the NBCwestern series Overland Trail starring William Bendix and Doug McClure and with fellow guest star Robert J. Wilke as Cole Younger.
In July 1952, Bari appeared in her own situation comedy Boss Lady (a summer replacement for NBC'sFireside Theater). She portrayed Gwen Allen, the beautiful top executive of a construction firm. Not the least of her troubles in the role was being able to hire a general manager who didn't fall in love with her.
Commenting on her "other woman" roles, Bari once said, "I seem to be a woman always with a gun in her purse. I'm terrified of guns. I go from one set to the other shooting people and stealing husbands!"
in the film Blood and Sand
Bari was the only daughter of John Maynard Fisher, a native of Tennessee, and his wife, Marjorie Halpen of New York. She had a younger brother, John. Fisher died in 1920, and his widow moved the family to Lynchburg, Virginia. Here Bari's mother met and married the Reverend Robert Bizer, a Religious Science minister. Assigned a position with his church in Boston, Bizer moved the family to Massachusetts. Bari later recalled other children at school in Boston made life miserable for her and her brother making constant fun of their obvious Southern accents. She determined to eliminate hers, becoming involved with amateur theatrics and taking elocution lessons. Bari was enthusiastic when at the age of 13 she was told her stepfather had been reassigned to Los Angeles, where he later became the head of the Institute of Religious Science.
Bari's promising career was sabotaged by unresolved problems with her domineering, alcoholic mother and three exploitative marriages. Her first child, a daughter with second husband Sid Luft, was stillborn. Two years later she had John Michael Luft (b. 1948). Her stage name, selected as 'Lynn Barrie' while at dramatic school at 14, is a composite of theatre actress Lynn Fontanne and author J. M. Barrie's. After reading a story about the Italian city of Bari she subsequently changed the spelling.
She died of an apparent heart attack in Santa Monica, California at the age of 75. In 2010, film historian Jeff Gordon published an authorized biography titled Foxy Lady written from interviews completed shortly before Bari's death.