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Barbara Leigh: Click Here For Barbara Leigh's Filmography

Barbara Leigh as Vampirella (Issue #78 Warren Comics) Barbara Leigh was born Nov. 16, 1946 in Ringgold, Georgia. Her family stayed in Georgia until she was five and then with her mother, and siblings she moved to Miami, Florida. At the age of 16 returned to her roots for a summer vacation and met her first love. She never returned to Florida, instead she married and finished school while living with her In-laws.

Her first husband was in the Marine Corps and was stationed in Cuba during the "Bay of Pigs". Two years later her son, Gerry Haynes was born. When she turned 19 Barbara moved her family to Los Angeles, California. There she began to work as a nurse, raising her small son. She was soon divorced and settled into the life of a single mother.

BL - I was working as a doctor's assistant in Bell Flower and then later on with four doctors in Beverly Hills before my boyfriend had pictures taken of me for modeling. My first modeling job was for Kodak.

Barbara was soon signed by Ashley Famous (now ICM [International Creative Management]). After countless TV commercials she made her debut in the 1969 TV movie The Ballad of Andy Crocker with Lee Majors.

BL - Lee Majors and I had the same agent. It was fun working with him and just being on camera was exciting. It was a new experience and one that I loved...the movies...TV, any aspect of the business was/is the most exciting job that I can think of..except for maybe Space.

In just two years following that TV movie fortune seemed to just fall at Barbara's feet.

Rock Hudson and Barbara Leighon the set of All The Pretty Maids In A Row One unique story is that director Roger Vadim cast you in All The Pretty Maids In A Row after spotting you from his beach house.

BL - Yes, meeting Vadim and working with him did just fall at my feet. He ran after me on the beach in Malibu and offered me a screen test for the part of Jean, Rock Hudson's wife (Tiger) in Pretty Maids All in A Row.

Having worked with many talented and unique directors, what can you tell us about Roger Vadim's directorial style?

BL - He was, as a director, a straight forward no-bull-type director with very precise thinking and direction. He saw the scene in his mind's eye and told it as he saw it then left it to the actor to follow through. Since my part was not that difficult it was easy for me to take his direction. I don't remember him ever directing Rock other then to say what the situation was. Rock was a very good actor with an instinct about a scene. I remember watching him and thinking that he wasn't acting and when I saw the film he came across really well.

It was the second time your sheer looks was able to command attention enough to make a man go out of his way and approach you. Have your looks ever been a hindering point?

BL - My looks have been a hindering point many times growing up. Girls hated me and boys loved me. When I was in school briefly for psychology and a question was asked about everyone's insecurity I said that mine was people saw me as someone who had looks but no brains and resented me for being attractive. Everyone in my class was like "sit down you've got it all".. meaning that their problems were more important then how people reacted to my looks. Which made me sit down and not bring it up cause people don't care about someone's insecurity about their looks, more about someone feeling badly that they aren't good looking. So, you see my looks in some ways have wedged blocks between me and anyone who resented me for my looks. It was like how I felt didn't matter because I was attractive but because they weren't happy with their looks their problems of insecurity meant more then my feelings. I learned early on to try and hide my looks and personality to not stand out in a crowd.
Once I went to a private screening for Pretty Maids All in A Row in disguise and when I came on the screen walking on the beach in Marina del Rey the audience gasped. It made me feel so good but I could never share that with anyone cause I was resented for my looks. However, growing up in a children's home my looks did get me attention from the house mothers or people in church who felt sorry for me and gave me some extra attention. I'd like to think it was because growing up I was an extremely affectionate child who only saw the good in people and expressed my love for everyone. In essence I wasn't bitter or a downer to my circumstances. WHEW!

An all-star cast in Vadim's film included Rock Hudson, Angie Dickinson, Roddy McDowell and Telly Savalas. Sounds like a good crew to be surrounded with, how was the experience for you?

BL - I loved the cast! I played cards with Telly Savalas during breaks and spent a lot of time with Rock in his trailer just talking about life. I knew he was gay, everyone did but maybe the public so it was an innocent time together as two friends would share. Angie was nice enough but we didn't have scenes together. (A lot of people used to tell me that I looked like Angie). She was very sweet and I loved her in her younger days. Roddy and I shared a scene together and I was in awe of him since I grew up watching him in numerous movies. We got along fine.

I'm sure a lot of the material I would love to ask will be covered in your new book, King, Queen and The Love Machine but I would like to know how you landed the Sam Peckinpah film Junior Bonner.

Steve McQueen and Barbara Leigh in Junior Bonner BL - My book is about me and 3 powerful and famous men dating each other at the same time. Elvis, Steve McQueen and Jim Aubrey and me. Mind you that they each had many other women at the same time too. It's a 2 year period in my life with these men 1970-1971, 72. I basically tell how I met them how I dated them, the interaction between us all, and the breakup and how we all moved on. I do catch up the reader at the end of the book to where I am today and a little bit of what happened after the breakups.
I got the part in Junior Bonner when Tiffany Bolling got ill and had to leave before her scene's began. I read for Sam & Steve but Sam wanted Tiffany. Steve came running after me after I'd left the building from the reading with Sam, Steve and Joe Wizan (producer). He told me he didn't think the part would work out because Sam wanted someone else but he'd love to take me to dinner and that's how we started dating, then later I got the part through Steve.

Sort of a follow up here as well, is there anything you can tell us about working with such legends as McQueen and Peckinpah, as well as Ida Lupino, a fantastic director in her own right.

BL - Sam was tough on me at first cause he didn't want me and Steve was dating me. He later changed and we became friends and stayed that way till he died. Steve directed me mostly in that part. Ida was wonderful and she and Robert Preston drank and partied a lot bringing in the cast & crew into their rooms at the famous Prescott Hotel. They always invited anyone to come in and have a drink. Their doors were always open. I enjoyed working and watching them both. Both were legends as were Sam and Steve.

This may seem a bit of a tangent here, but in 1973 you played Bunny in Terminal Island. Do you recall seeing Tom Selleck (only on his fourth movie himself) anywhere around on the set?

BL - Tom Selleck and I were already friends having met at 20th Century Fox's contract player school and we also did "British Sterling" adds together. He was and is one of the nicest guys I know. Sam Elliott and I also were at 20th Century Fox together. We were in "Bracken's World" together a TV series that didn't last but a couple of episodes.

In 1975 you had signed a six-picture deal with Hammer Films to do A Vampirella film, an image you have been closely associated with by fans ever since, what happened to the make the deal fall apart?

Barbara Leigh as Vampirella - Cover of Warren Comics #75 BL - This is a lengthy answer and one that I can't go into just now. It fell apart for many reasons and one being that Warren Comics didn't want to give up the total rights to Vampirella. The deal fell apart for money, control and ego's. Basically I'd say it was due to total control for the character and leave it at that.

In several ways you covered many of the genres of the B-Film with Student Nurses (Sexploitation), Boss Man (Blaxploitation) and Andy Sidaris' Seven (Action) the variety is obvious. I was wondering what made you pick one project over another?

BL - I usually picked a movie cause either I liked the movie or the stars and in these cases you've asked me about it was because I wanted to work. Student Nurses sounded fun, Boss Man was with Fred Williamson (From Dusk Til Dawn) who was a big star and ex-football player. And, it was a western shot in Santa Fe (my favorite town).

You occasionally attend the Chiller Theatre Convention (New Jersey - Next one is April 19-21, 20002) what are the fans like? What's it like attending these sessions?

BL - The next Chiller I attend will be Oct. 2002 cause I'll have my book and something new to offer my fans. All of the fans (Vampirella and other) have been wonderful, loving, and complimentary to me. My boyfriend has always thought I give too much of myself by hugging the fans or giving them a cheek kiss but I see it differently. If they care enough to visit me and ask for a picture I'm only too happy to give them a little part of me and my love for them. I consider myself lucky that I'm still remembered by the many fans who come to see me and who write to me.

10) As mentioned earlier you have recently completed work on your book, King, Queen and The Love Machine. What can your fans expect from this book and how long did it take you to put it together?

BL - My fans will get a look into my childhood which some will find very sad, some will say "Gosh she did come a long way for a girl from Ga." others might look at it as I was certainly promiscuous and other might see it as a time in a young girls life that no one could say nothing but WOW what a life. I see it as telling my fans some of my childhood which was sad, but I came out just fine and as me telling about an experience that few women at that age has/had the opportunity to experience. An exciting time when I was having fun. There will always be critics that like to see the bad to any given situation. I like to see that time in my life as a gift of time spent with 3 exciting men, and then there will be those who will put me down as a star f---er and dwell on the negative. I know that my Vampirella fans will love reading about this time without putting me down but rather seeing it as I meant it to read...a wonderful time in my life that was exciting and real, and no one can take those memories from me.

Since you've retired from the screen after Seven (although Mistress of the Apes was later released in 1981) I was wondering what major shifts, if any, have taken place?

Barbara Leigh promotional still for Seven BL - I retired after the movie Seven which was filmed in Hawaii and directed by Andy Sidaras. It also starred William Smith aka Bill Smith (Falcon Eddy). Seven was the most fun other then Junior Bonner and Pretty Maids All in a Row. I retired shortly after when I met my husband who represented me in the Vampirella suit to keep Warren Comics from using my photos on the cover as I was never paid. Eventually that paid off as those 8 covers immortalized me as a part of Vampirella's history forever. YEAH!

Were there ever any projects you would have liked to have been involved in or actors to have worked with that you never had the chance?

Yes, I was screen tested and given a part in "Sheila is Dead and Living in NY" starring Jeannie Berlin. When she saw my screen test she refused to do the movie with me and wanted her friend in my part. Paramount paid me off and succumbed to her. It broke my heart but I went on.

Last question, I's a really personal one here full of soul-searching, can you let your fans know some of your favourite movies, maybe a top three and why you liked these films?

My favorite movies are:
"Gone With the Wind (1939)" - Everything in this movie was perfect and it shows how a strong women can survive in a man's world.

"Wuthering Heights (1939)" - A great love story and one that is more real then not. The two are in love but never really get together, they're always just beyond the reach. And I love the actors. Merle Obrion and Lawrence Oliver.

"The Color Purple (1985)" - A Steve Spielberg film about a black woman and her struggle against her husband and the world. I love this movie, it always makes me cry so much...and it's also about how in the end LOVE wins over.

"The Shawshank Redemption (1994)" - A great story of a man's world and how tough it is to survive in prison and about courage to do the right thing. This film makes me cry too.

I have other favorites but that's a few. If you mean my favorites of the ones I did it's simple. Junior Bonner because of the exciting romance and working with all the stars and the second was Pretty Maids All in A Row because of Rock and Vadim.

Barbara Leigh currently works at Playboy as a Photo Project Coordinator alongside Marilyn Grabowski (Vice President, West Coast Photo Editor of PB for almost 40 years). Together they produce most of the Playmates, do most of the celebrity pictorials and provide the covers as well.

For more pictures and a more detailed biography check out Barbara Leigh's Official Site here! Barbara Leigh's book "King, Queen and the Love Machine" will be released in the spring of 2002.

Copyright© Staffwriter: Rob Paul

Barbara Leigh's Filmography
And Price Comparison

Please note, prices listed are subject to change at the whim of the vendor. If you see a price different from our site to the one's listed, please let us know.
Amazon (US$)
DVD Empire (US$)
Mistress of the Apes (1981)
Seven (1979)
Swim Team (1979)
Boss Man (1975)
Harry O (1974) (TV SERIES)
Smile, Jenny, You're Dead (1974) (TV)
Terminal Island (1973)
$9.99 VHS
The President's Plane Is Missing (1973) (TV)
Junior Bonner (1972)
The Christian Licorice Store (1971)
Pretty Maids All in a Row (1971)
$22.48 VHS
$17.99 VHS
Student Nurses, The (1970)
The Ballad of Andy Crocker (1969) (TV)
$11.69 VHS

Evil Ash

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