Barry Corbin

Active - 1980 - 2021  |   Born - Oct 16, 1940 in Lamesa, Texas, United States  |   Genres - Drama, Comedy, Comedy Drama, Crime, Action

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Biography by Sandra Brennan

Actor Barry Corbin may be best remembered for portraying Maurice Minnifield, the blustery but good-hearted ex-astronaut and entrepreneurial owner of Cicely, Alaska, in the popular TV show Northern Exposure (1990-95). Prior to that, he worked steadily on stage, screen and television since the mid '70s. With his stocky build and big voice, the Texas native is noted for his portrayals of policemen, soldiers, and father figures. He received formal training in theater at Texas Tech, and, after spending two years in the Marines, Corbin returned home and began acting in regional theater. He later went to New York where he worked on and off Broadway. He moved to L.A. in 1977 where he began writing radio plays for National Public Radio. In 1980 Corbin began his feature-film career, appearing in three popular films: Any Which Way You Can, Stir Crazy, and Urban Cowboy. Among his other early career highlights are Six Pack, Honkytonk Man, and playing General Beringer in John Badham's nuclear thriller WarGames. He continued to work steadily in TV and film in projects such as LBJ: The Early Years, Nothing In Common, Critters 2, and Who's Harry Crumb before landing his iconic part on Northern Exposure.

After the quirky CBS series ended, he could be seen in Curdled, The Drew Carey Show, and in a recurring role on the drama series One Tree Hill. In 2007 he was in the Best Picture winning No Country For Old Men. His most recent credits include Feed he Fish, and Valley of the Sun.

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  • Wanted to be an actor since childhood.
  • Studied theatre at Texas Tech University without following a degree program.
  • While napping in a dumpster at college, was emptied into a garbage truck.
  • Jobs outside of acting included chopping cotton, working on an oil rig, loading laundry trucks and shoveling lead in a print shop.
  • Joined the Marines at 21 on a dare.
  • During his early career, traveled the country to perform in regional theater productions and penned plays for National Public Radio. 
  • 1980's Urban Cowboy marked his big-screen debut, and his impressive body of work includes the films Stir Crazy (1980) and WarGames (1983), the 1989 miniseries Lonesome Dove, and TV series Dallas and Northern Exposure.
  • Discovered that, back in college, he fathered a daughter who was given up for adoption by her mother; Corbin was introduced to his daughter in 1991.