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It Came from Outer Space star Barbara Rush dies aged 97 | Movies

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It Came from Outer Space star Barbara Rush dies aged 97 | Movies


Movies

Best known for her work in 1950s sci-fi, the actor also took supporting roles in films including Bigger Than Life and Magnificent Obsession

Barbara Rush, the female lead of 1950s sci-fi horror It Came from Outer Space, has died aged 97. Her daughter Claudia Cowan, a reporter for Fox News, told Fox News Digital: “My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening. I was with her this morning and know she was waiting for me to return home safely to transition.”

Born in Denver in 1927, Rush grew up in Los Angeles and, after studying theatre at the University of California, Santa Barbara, was signed to Paramount Pictures. After making her screen acting debut in The Goldbergs – a big-screen spinoff of the popular radio and TV series – Rush’s breakthrough role came in 1951 in the Oscar-winning sci-fi picture When Worlds Collide, as the daughter of an astronomer attempting to warn humanity they are doomed by a rogue star on a crash course with Earth.

Barbara Rush in 2019. Photograph: Emma McIntyre/Getty Images for TCM

Two years later she appeared in It Came from Outer Space, another now-cult product of the 1950s sci-fi cycle inspired by fears of nuclear armageddon and communist invasion. Here Rush played a schoolteacher who, along with her boyfriend (Richard Carlson), spots a falling meteor that turns out to be a spaceship carrying aliens. While the aliens duplicate the bodies of local townspeople, they turn out to essentially be benign, unlike other “red scare” films of the time. Rush won a Golden Globe for most promising female newcomer for her role in the film.

Rush then went on to play supporting roles in a string of major productions. She was Jane Wyman’s stepdaughter in the Douglas Sirk melodrama Magnificent Obsession, Tony Curtis’s sister in medieval-set drama The Black Shield of Falworth, and James Mason’s wife in Bigger Than Life, the Nicholas Ray-directed drama about the side-effects of cortisone therapy. She also featured in the Marlon Brando war picture The Young Lions as Dean Martin’s love interest, starred opposite Paul Newman in legal drama The Young Philadelphians as his disillusioned lover, played Frank Sinatra’s girlfriend in swinging-bachelor comedy Come Blow Your Horn, and appeared again with Sinatra as Marian in the Rat Pack comedy Robin and the 7 Hoods.

Having appeared regularly in TV guest spots, including as feminist villain Nora Clavicle in Batman, Rush was cast in a major role in long-running serial Peyton Place as rebellious teenager Carolyn Russell’s mother, whose marriage is breaking down. Thereafter Rush continued to work mostly in TV, with guest spots on shows including The Mod Squad, Ironside, The Streets of San Francisco, The Bionic Woman and Fantasy Island. In the 1990s she held down a long-running role in the popular soap All My Children, as winery owner Nola Orsini.

Rush was married three times – to Jeffrey Hunter (between 1950 and 1955)​, Warren Cowan (1959-1969)​, and Jim Gruzalski (1970-1973) – and had two children.



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