Barry Brown (actor)

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Barry Brown
Brown (right) with Jeff Bridges photographed by Chris von Wangenheim shortly after they appeared together in Robert Benton's Bad Company (1972)
Donald Barry Brown

(1951-04-19)April 19, 1951
DiedJune 25, 1978(1978-06-25) (aged 27)
Occupation(s)Author, playwright, actor
Years active1956–1978
Jennie Vlahos
(m. 1972⁠–⁠1972)
RelativesMarilyn Brown (sister)

Donald Barry Brown (April 19, 1951 – June 25, 1978)[1] was an American author, playwright and actor who performed on stage and in television dramas and feature films, notably as Frederick Winterbourne in Peter Bogdanovich's Daisy Miller (1974), adapted from the classic Henry James novella (1878). Bogdanovich praised Brown's contribution to the film, describing him as "the only American actor you can believe ever read a book."

Early life[edit]

Born Donald Barry Brown in San Jose, California, he was the eldest child of Donald Bernard Brown and Vivian Brown (née Agrillo). His sister was the actress Marilyn Brown, who died by suicide in 1998 at the age of 45. His brother is the novelist James Brown (Final Performance, Hot Wire), who etched an intimate portrait of their dysfunctional family in his acclaimed memoir The Los Angeles Diaries, published by HarperCollins in 2003.[2]


Brown began his acting career as a child of five and took part in many television and live performances. He appeared with Van Johnson in a stage production of The Music Man at the age of ten.

Brown was 19 when he made his first major screen appearance in Halls of Anger (1970), followed by The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid (1972) and his breakthrough role as the American Civil War draft dodger Drew Dixon in Robert Benton's critically acclaimed Bad Company (1972), co-starring with Jeff Bridges. The publicity and promotion for this film was capped by an article in Esquire introducing filmgoers to the "dashing, brooding Brown" in color photographs by Chris von Wangenheim, along with a text mention of Brown's obituary collection focusing on little-known and forgotten Hollywood personalities.[3]

After playing opposite Cybill Shepherd in Daisy Miller, Brown concentrated on television throughout the 1970s, including the TV movie The Disappearance of Aimee (1976), about evangelist Aimee Semple McPherson, and numerous TV episodes. His final features were the crime drama The Ultimate Thrill (1974) and Joe Dante's Piranha (1978).

An authority on actors and film history, Brown was a contributor to Scream Queens: Heroines of the Horrors by Calvin Beck and Bhob Stewart. Published by Macmillan in 1978, the book features illustrated biographical profiles of 29 fantasy film actresses and directors. Brown did a similar survey, the unpublished Unsung Heroes of the Horrors, covering the lives of some lesser known Hollywood talents, and he also contributed to various magazines, including Films in Review and Castle of Frankenstein. The book Who Was Who on Screen Third Edition, by Evelyn Mack Truett was dedicated to Brown, whom she credited with giving data support for the previous edition.

Personal life and death[edit]

Brown's marriage to Jennie Vlahos on March 4, 1972 ended in divorce May 1972.[citation needed] On June 27, 1978, Brown ended his life by self-inflicted gunshot at his home in Los Angeles, California. He was cremated, and his ashes were scattered over the Chetco River.[1]


Year Title Role Notes
1958 In Love and War Minor Role Uncredited
1970 Halls of Anger Winger
1972 Bad Company Drew Dixon
Lapin 360 Howie
The Great Northfield Minnesota Raid Henry Wheeler
Premonition Mike Alternative titles: The Impure
1974 Daisy Miller Frederick Winterbourne
The Ultimate Thrill Joe Straker Alternative title: The Ultimate Chase
1978 Piranha Trooper
Year Title Role Notes
1969–1970 The Mod Squad Don Jennings
Dana Sterling
2 episodes
1970 Then Came Bronson Len Tayman 1 episode
The Bold Ones: The Senator Steve Lascoe 1 episode
Ironside Charles Borrow 1 episode
Matt Lincoln 1 episode
Gunsmoke Jared Sprague 1 episode
The Psychiatrist: God Bless the Children Fritz Television movie
1970–1971 Marcus Welby, M.D. Greg Wells, Jr. 3 episodes
1971 Night Gallery Archie Dittman, Jr. 1 episode
The Birdmen Donnelly Television movie
1972 The Bravos Garratt Television movie
1974 Rhoda Jimmy Klein 1 episode
1975–1976 Insight Brother Francis
Keith Forman
2 episodes
1975 Joe Forrester Jamie Herron 1 episode
1976 Barnaby Jones Cory Doyle 1 episode
Police Woman Scott Swanson 1 episode
The Disappearance of Aimee Wallace Moore Television movie
1977 Testimony of Two Men Howard Best Television miniseries
1978 Lawman Without a Gun Fred Tayman Television movie (final film role)


  1. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (August 22, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 92. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved August 26, 2022.
  2. ^ Brown, James. The Los Angeles Diaries, HarperCollins, 2003.
  3. ^ "The Kids of Bad Company," Esquire, February 1973.

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