Barbara Bain

Active - 1971 - 2016  |   Born - Sep 13, 1931 in Chicago, Illinois  |   Genres - Spy Film

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A former University of Illinois sociology major, ash-blonde leading lady Barbara Bain studied for a theatrical career at New York's Actors Studio and Neighborhood Playhouse. While attending an actor's workshop in 1956, Barbara made the acquaintance of an intense young performer named Martin Landau. It was love at first sight, and they married in 1957. Landau and Bain strove to maintain separate careers, and while her husband tended to work more often than she did, Barbara was well-represented with guest appearances on such series as Richard Diamond, Private Detective, Get Smart and The Dick Van Dyke Show. In 1964, the Landaus worked together for the first time on an episode of The Greatest Show on Earth. They didn't care much for the experience, and vowed not to co-star again -- at least, not until producer Bruce Geller made them an offer they couldn't refuse with the weekly TV suspenser Mission: Impossible. Cast as silken espionage agent Cinammon Carter, Bain won three consecutive Emmies for her work on the series (if you're wondering why Cinammon never adopted elaborate disguises, as did practically everyone else on the program, it is because Bain suffered from claustrophobia, and could not abide being hemmed in by heavy makeup). Then, after three seasons' worth of Mission: Impossible, the Landaus quit the series in 1969, citing poor scripts and insufficient creative challenges. In later years, Bain would comment ruefully that leaving the show ruined her career. The record doesn't quite bear this out: indeed, during the early 1970s she racked up an impressive list of TV movie appearances, and was offered a great deal of money to reteam with Landau in the syndicated sci-fi TV series Space: 1999 (1975-77). In 1989, Bain appeared in her very first theatrical feature, Trust Me (1989), playing a truculent, dishonest art collector. Though long-divorced from Martin Landau, Barbara Bain did not express an aversion to the possibility of playing a cameo alongside her ex-husband in the 1996 film version of Mission: Impossible, should either one of them be asked to do so (alas, they weren't).

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