Wendy Barrie (18 April 1912 – 2 February 1978) was a British-born American actress who worked in British and American films.
Marguerite Wendy Jenkins was born in Hong Kong to British parents. Her father was a successful lawyer, and she was educated in elite schools in England and Switzerland.
While still in her teens, she began pursuing a career as an actress, helped by her red-gold hair and blue eyes. She adopted the stage name Wendy Barrie, perhaps in honour of Peter Pan author J.M. Barrie, who was her godfather. She began her acting life in English theatre, then in 1932 made her screen debut in the film Threads, which was based upon a play.
With James Stewart in Speed
The Wendy Barrie Show
Barrie went on to make a number of motion pictures for London Films under the Korda brothers, Alexanderand Zoltan, the best known of which is 1933's The Private Life of Henry VIII, which starred Charles Laughton, Robert Donat, Merle Oberon, and Elsa Lanchester. Barrie portrayed Jane Seymour.
In 1934, she appeared in Freedom of the Seas and was contracted by Fox Film Corporation for a film directed by Scott Darling that was made in Britain. The following year, she moved to the United States and made her first Hollywood film for Fox opposite Spencer Tracy in the romantic comedy It's a Small World, followed by Under Your Spell with Lawrence Tibbett. Loaned to MGM, Barrie starred opposite James Stewart in the 1936 film Speed. In 1939 she starred with Richard Greene and Basil Rathbone in the 20th Century Fox version of The Hound of the Baskervilles and with Lucille Ball inRKO's Five Came Back. During the early 1940s, Barrie made several of The Saint and The Falcon mystery films with George Sanders. She made her final motion picture in 1954.
With the dawn of television, in the late 1940s, Barrie turned to roles in that medium. From 17 November 1948 to 9 February 1949, Barrie hosted Picture This. During 1948 and 1949, she hosted a DuMont Television Network comedy for children featuring a cowboy puppet called The Adventures of Oky Doky.
However, she is best remembered by national audiences as host of one of the first television talk shows. The Wendy Barrie Show debuted in November 1948 on ABC, then ran on DuMont and NBC, ending its run in September 1950. She continued to appear on network television on panel shows and as a guest star in the early 1950s, and also as a spokesperson for commercial products, including a stint as the original Revlon saleswoman on The $64,000 Question during its first months on air. Her pitching of Living Lipstick saw that product being sold out across the country. Barrie continued on local TV inNew York and hosted a widely syndicated radio interview show into the mid-1960s.
After appearances in more than 15 films in Britain and more than 30 in Hollywood, Wendy Barrie's contribution to the industry was recognized with a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at the corner of Hollywood and Vine.
Barrie, who became a naturalized American citizen in 1942, died in Englewood, New Jersey in 1978, aged 65, following a stroke that had left her debilitated for several years. She was buried in the Kensico Cemetery in Valhalla, New York.