The stepdaughter of a minister, Lynn Bari entered films as an anonymous dancer in MGM's 1933 superproduction Dancing Lady. Later that same year, she signed a contract with Fox studios, inaugurating a decade-long association with that studio. Though she yearned for parts of substance, the brunette actress was generally limited to "B" pictures and pin-up poses. In the studio's more expensive efforts, Lynn was usually cast as truculent "other women" and villainesses; one of her rare leading roles in an "A" picture was as Henry Fonda's likable vis-a-vis in The Magnificent Dope (1942). Lynn's excellent top-billed performance in the independently produced The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944) should have made her a star, but the film unfortunately tanked at the box office. Only a few of her later roles made full use of Lynn's talents; the best of her screen appearances in the 1950s was as Piper Laurie's social-climbing mother in Has Anybody Seen My Gal? (1952). On TV, Ms. Bari starred in the early series Boss Lady and The Detective's Wife. Lynn Bari's last film appearance (before devoting the remainder of her career to theatrical productions) was as the mother of rebellious teenager Patty McCormick in The Young Runaways (1968); Lynn's horrified reaction to the word "sex" in this film should amuse anyone who remembered the actress' sultry, man-killing performances in her Fox days.
photo credit: 20th Century Fox
by Hal Erickson biography