After briefly attending the College of the Pacific, Barbara Baxley headed to New York to pursue an acting career. Barbara studied at Sanford Meisner's Neighborhood Playhouse, then went on to become a charter member of the Actor's Studio. After making her New York stage bow in the 1948 revival of Private Lives, she spent the next several years taking over for a number of "big-name" actresses in long-running Broadway plays. She also starred in the original productions of Dark at the Top of the Stairs and Period of Adjustment, and worked extensively off-Broadway in projects like Brecht on Brecht. In the company of several of her Actor's Studios colleagues, Barbara made her film debut in East of Eden (1955), playing the nurse in the closing scenes. Other roles in her feature-film manifest included country-western matriarch Lady Pearl in Nashville (1975) and Leona in Norma Rae (1979). On television, Barbara was one of the stars of Norman Lear's satirical gender-switch soap opera All That Glitters (1977). In June of 1990, 62-year-old Barbara Baxley was found dead in her New York apartment, apparently the victim of heart failure.