Early life, family, educational background
American comedy actress Barbara Rhodes, was born on March 23, 1946 in Poughkeepsie, New York State, USA. She is best known for her comedic and mysterious roles, most notably in 1968’s “The Shakiest Gun in the West” as bandit Penelope “Bad Penny” Cushings.
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She was raised by her mother, Sherry Rhoades, in Poughkeepsie, and attended Our Lady of Lourdes High School.
Barbara Rhoades on an episode of It Takes a Thief – her second credit ever on IMDb
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When she was seven years old, she started taking dance lessons.
Who is Bernie Orenstein?
Barbara’s husband is writer and producer Bernard “Bernie” Orenstein, who was born on February 5, 1931, in Toronto, Ontario, Canada. His most famous works include 1966’s “That Girl,” 1975’s “Grady,” and 1977’s “Carter Country.” Before marrying Barbara, Bernie was married to Marion F Freeman and the couple had one child together.
Barbara has moved constantly between film, TV and theater during her long career and has been in almost constant demand. Her acting debut was in 1967, in the TV series episode “Ironside: The Man Who Believed.” In 1975, she appeared in one of the show’s final episodes, titled “Ironside: The Organizer,” which sadly didn’t air, as NBC suddenly canceled the series; however, it aired in syndication.
Her most famous role was that of bandit Penelope “Bad Penny” Cushings in the comedy-mystery “The Shakiest Gun in the West” in 1968, opposite Don Knotts, who portrayed her milquetoast husband. Barbara returned as Jodie Dallas’ future wife, Maggie Chandler, in “Soap” from 1977 to 1981.
Early in her career, Barbara signed an exclusive long-term contract with Universal Pictures in 1967 and appeared in guest roles on several television series, including Hilda in “It Takes a Thief” in 1968, Bunny in “Love, American Style” in 1969, La Von in “The Partridge Family” in 1970, and in “McMillan & Wife” from 1972-1973, among many others.
Barbara was a frequent panelist on “Match Game,” a top-rated 1970s game show hosted by Gene Rayburn. She was a recurring cast member on the 1977 sitcom “Busting Loose” as Melody Feebeck, and then returned in 1989 as Jessica Gardner in “Generations.” Barbara had another recurring role as Irene Manning in the popular American soap opera ‘One Life to Live’ in 2011. She plays the childhood best friend of Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak).
In 1970, Barbara played Miss Jessie Brundidge in “There Was a Crooked Man…” opposite Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. In 1972 she was Dr. Bolden in “Up the Sandbox,” starring Barbra Streisand, and the following year played Barbara Elaine in 1973’s “Scream Blacula Scream.”
In 1974, Barbara portrayed Stephanie, a Las Vegas hooker in “Harry and Tonto” – in the film, her character picks up Art Carney, who appeared at the time in what turned out to be his Oscar-winning performance.
She played No Balls’ Hadley, a police officer in “The Choirboys” in 1977, and the same year she was Donna in “The Goodbye Girl”. More recently, in 2007, she played Nancy in “First Born”, starring Elisabeth Shue.
Beginning in 1964, Barbara played a Broadway showgirl in the musical “Funny Girl” for 18 months. She honed her skills on stage when she appeared in Summer Stock productions in Fishkill, New York, at the Cecilwood Theater.
Barbara married television producer Bernie Orenstein on February 18, 1979, and they are still together after more than 40 years, rather unusual in the entertainment world. They have one child together.
Barbara has red hair and brown eyes. She is 1.78 m tall and weighs about 65 kg.
Wealth and salary
Her net worth is estimated at over $1 million from her work as an actress, and has maintained a healthy income throughout her career, depending only on the number of appearances per year. She appeared in several successful and high-grossing films such as “The Goodbye Girl” ($102 million) and “Up the Sandbox” ($305 million),