Barbara Hershey (born Barbara Lynn Herzstein; February 5, 1948),[1] once known as Barbara Seagull,[2] is an American actress. In a career spanning nearly 50 years, she has played a variety of roles on television and in cinema, in several genres including westerns and comedies. She began acting at age 17 in 1965, but did not achieve much critical acclaim until the latter half of the 1980s. By that time, the Chicago Tribune referred to her as "one of America's finest actresses."[3]

Hershey won an Emmy and a Golden Globe for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries/TV Film for her role in A Killing in a Small Town (1990). She has also received Golden Globe nominations for Best Supporting Actress for her role as Mary Magdalene in Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) and for her role in Jane Campion's Portrait of a Lady (1996). For the latter film, she was also nominated for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and won the Los Angeles Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress. In addition, she has won two Best Actress awards at the Cannes Film Festival for her roles in Shy People (1987) and A World Apart(1988). She also featured in Woody Allen's critically acclaimed Hannah and Her Sisters (1986), for which she was nominated for the British Academy Award for Best Supporting ActressGarry Marshall's melodrama Beaches (1988) and she earned a second British Academy Award nomination for Darren Aronofsky's Black Swan (2010).

Establishing a reputation early in her career as a "hippie," Hershey experienced conflict between her personal life and her acting goals. Her career suffered a decline during a six-year relationship with actor David Carradine, with whom she had a child. She experimented with a change in stage name that she later regretted. During this time her personal life was highly publicized and ridiculed.[4] It was not until she separated from Carradine and changed her stage name back to Hershey that her acting career became well established.[5][6] Later in her career, she began to keep her personal life private.[4][7]


 [hide*1 Early life

Early life[edit]Edit

Barbara Herzstein was born in Hollywood, California. She is the daughter of Melrose (née Moore) and Arnold Nathan Herzstein.[8] Her father, a horse racing columnist, was Jewish (his parents emigrated from Hungary and Russia)[9] and her mother, a native of Arkansas, was a Presbyterian of Irish descent.[10][11] The youngest of three children, Barbara always wanted to be an actress. Her family nicknamed her "Sarah Bernhardt". She was shy in school and so quiet that people thought she was deaf. By the age of 10 she proved herself to be an "A" student. Her high school drama coach helped her find an agent and in 1965, at age 17, she landed a role on Sally Field's television series, Gidget. She said that she found Field to be very supportive of her in her first acting role.[12] According to The New York Times All Movie Guide, she graduated fromHollywood High School in 1966,[13] but David Carradine, in his autobiography, said she dropped out of high school after she began acting.[8]

Barbara's acting debut, three episodes of Gidget, was followed by the short-lived television series, The Monroes (1966), which also featured Michael Anderson, Jr.. At this point, she had adopted the stage name of Hershey.[14] Although she said that the series helped her career, she expressed some frustration with her role saying, "One week I was strong, the next, weak".[15] While on the series, Hershey garnered several other roles, including one in Doris Day's final feature film, With Six You Get Eggroll.[15]



In 1969 Hershey co-starred in the Glenn Ford western Heaven with a Gun. On the set, she met and began a romantic relationship with actor David Carradine,[8] who later starred in the television series Kung Fu (see Personal Life). In the same year, she acted in the controversial drama Last Summer, which was based on the novel by Evan Hunter. Hershey played Sandy in this film, the "heavy," influencing two young men, played by Bruce Davison and Richard Thomas, to rape another girl, Rhoda, played by Catherine Burns. Even though the film, directed by Frank Perry, received an X rating for the graphic rape scene, it earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination for Burns.[16]

During the filming of Last Summer, a seagull was killed. "In one scene," Hershey explained, "I had to throw the bird in the air to make her fly. We had to reshoot the scene over and over again. I could tell the bird was tired. Finally when the scene was finished the director, Frank Perry, told me the bird had broken her neck on the last throw."[2] Hershey felt responsible for the bird's death and changed her stage name to "Seagull," as a tribute to the creature. "I felt her spirit enter me," she later explained. "It was the only moral thing to do."[12] The name change was not positively received. When she was offered a part opposite Timothy Bottomsin The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder (1974) (AKA Vrooder's Hooch) Hershey had to forfeit half her salary, $25,000, to be billed under the name "Seagull," because the producers were not in favor of the billing.[2][17]


In 1970 Hershey played Tish Grey in The Baby Maker, a film that explored surrogate motherhood. Criticizing the directing and writing of James Bridges, critic Shirley Rigby said of the "bizarre" film, "Only the performances in the film save it from being a total travesty." Rigby went on to say, "Barbara Hershey is a great little actress, much, much more than just another pretty face."[18]

Hershey once said that starring in Boxcar Bertha (1972), "was the most fun I ever had on a movie."[19] The film co-starred Hershey's domestic partner, David Carradine. Produced by Roger Corman, the film was Martin Scorsese's first Hollywood picture. Shot in 6 weeks on a budget of $600,000, Boxcar Bertha was intended to be a period crime drama similar to Corman's Bloody Mama (1970), or Bonnie and Clyde (1967). Although Corman publicized it as an exploitation piece with plenty of sex and violence, Scorsese's influence made it "something much more."[19] Roger Ebert, of the Chicago Sun Times, said of the film's direction, "Martin Scorsese has gone for mood and atmosphere more than for action, and his violence is always blunt and unpleasant—never liberating and exhilarating, as the New Violence is supposed to be."[19] A spread recreating sexually explicit scenes from the movie appeared in Playboy magazine in 1972.[19][20]

Hershey's experience with Scorsese would extend to another major role for her 16 years later, in The Last Temptation of Christ (1988) as Mary Magdalene. During the filming of Boxcar Bertha, Hershey had introduced Scorsese to the Nikos Kazantzakis novel on which the latter film was based.[18][19] That collaboration resulted in an Academy Award nomination for the director[21] and a Golden Globe nod for Hershey.

By the mid-1970s Hershey stated, "I've been so tied up with David [Carradine] that people have forgotten that I am me. I spend 50 percent of my time working with David."[5] She had, in 1974, guest-starred in a two-part episode of Carradine's television series, Kung Fu. She played, under the direction of Carradine, a love interest to his character, Kwai Chang Caine, during his time at the Shaolin temple. She also appeared in two of Carradine's independent directorial projects, You and Me (1975) and Americana (1983), both of which had been filmed in 1973.[6] Her father, Arnold Herzstein, also appeared in Americana. She publicly acknowledged the desire to be recognized in her own right and later in 1974 she did just that, winning a Gold Medal at the Atlanta Film Festival for her role in the Dutch-produced film, Love Comes Quietly.[5]

Later in the decade, Hershey starred with Charlton Heston in The Last Hard Men (1976). She hoped the film would revive her career after the damage she felt it had suffered while she was with Carradine. She believed that the hippie label she had been given was a career impediment. By this time she had shed Carradine and her "Seagull" pseudonym.[22] Throughout the rest of the 1970s, however, she was appearing in made-for-TV movies that were described as "forgettable",[23] like Flood! (1976), Sunshine Christmas (1977) and The Glitter Palace (1977), in which she played a lesbian.[24]


When Hershey landed a role in Richard Rush's The Stunt Man (1980), it marked a return to the big screen after four years,[12] and earned her critical praise.[25] Hershey felt that she would be forever in debt to Rush for fighting with financiers to allow her a part in that film.[23] She also felt that The Stunt Man was an important transition for her, from playing girls to playing women.[23]

Some of the "women roles" that followed The Stunt Man included the horror movie The Entity (1982); Philip Kaufman's The Right Stuff (1983), in which she played Glennis Yeager, wife of test pilot Chuck Yeager; andThe Natural (1984), in which she shot Robert Redford's character. For the role of Harriet Bird, Hershey had chosen a particular hat as her "anchor".[23] Director Barry Levinson disagreed with her choice, but she insisted on wearing it. Levinson later cast Hershey as the wife of Danny DeVito's character in the comedy Tin Men (1987).[23]

In 1986 Hershey left her native California and moved with her son to Manhattan. Three days later, she met briefly with Woody Allen, who offered her the role of Lee in Hannah and Her Sisters (1986). In addition to a Manhattan apartment, Hershey also bought an antique home in rural Connecticut.[26] The Woody Allen picture won three Academy Awards and a Golden Globe. The film also earned Hershey a BAFTA nomination for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. She described her part in this as "a wonderful gift".[23]

Hershey followed Hannah and Her Sisters with back-to-back wins for Best Actress at the Cannes Film Festival for Shy People[4][27] and for her appearance as anti-apartheid activist Diana Roth in A World Apart(1988).[4] Her character in the latter film was based on Ruth First.[28] Also in the 1980s, she portrayed Errol Flynn's first wife, actress Lili Damita, in the TV movie My Wicked, Wicked Ways (1985), which was based on Flynn's autobiography. She also played the love interest to Gene Hackman's character in the basketball film Hoosiers (1986).

Barbara Cloud, of the Pittsburgh Press, gave attribution to Barbara Hershey for starting a trend when she had collagen injected into her lips for her role in Beaches (1988).[29] Humorist Erma Bombeck said of the movie, which also starred Bette Midler, "I have no idea what Beaches was all about. All I could focus on was Barbara Hershey's lips. She looked like she stopped off at a gas station and someone said, 'Your lips are down 30 pounds. Better let me hit 'em with some air'."[30]


In 1990, Hershey won an Emmy and a Golden Globe, for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or Special for her role as Candy Morrison in A Killing in a Small Town, which was based on the acquittal of Candy Montgomery for the death of Betty Gore. Montgomery had killed Gore, on Friday June 13, 1980, in her Wylie, Texas, home, by hitting her 41 times with an ax. The jury determined that she did so in self-defense.[31] In preparation for the part, Hershey had a phone conversation with Montgomery.[32] Many of the names of the real-life principals in the case were changed for the movie. The film's alternative title was Evidence of Love, the name of a 1984 book about the case. Also in 1990, Hershey drew upon what Woody Allen once described as her "erotic overtones,"[33] portraying a woman who falls in love with her much younger nephew, by marriage, played by Keanu Reeves, in the comedic Tune in Tomorrow.[33]

In 1991 Hershey played Hanna Trout, the wife of the title character in Paris Trout (1991), a made-for-cable television movie. In this Showtime production, Hershey collaborated again with A Killing in a Small Towndirector Stephen Gyllenhaal to play a woman who has an affair with her husband's lawyer. Her husband, an abusive bigot, played by Dennis Hopper, is on trial for murdering a young African American girl.[34] The film, which was based on the 1988 National Book Award winning novel by Pete Dexter, featured Hopper and Hershey enacting a graphic rape scene that the actress found difficult to view. The picture was described as a "dramatic reach deep into the dark hollows of racism, abuse and murder."[35] Paris Trout was nominated for five Prime Time Emmy Awards, including nods for both Hershey and Hopper. Later in the year, she played an attorney defending her college roommate for the murder of her husband in the suspenseful whodunit Defenseless (1991).[36]

Because of her frequent television appearances, by the end of 1991, Hershey was accused of "selling out to the small screen".[36] In 1992 Hershey appeared with Jane Alexander in the ABC miniseries Stay the Night(1992), causing Associated Press writer Jerry Buck to write, "Barbara Hershey is a person who jumps back and forth between features and television very easily".[37] She starred in another TV miniseries in 1993, succeeding Anjelica Huston, as Clara Allen in the sequel series Return to Lonesome Dove.[38] She was nominated for a Golden Satellite Award for another TV appearance, The Staircase (1998). Between 1999 and 2000, she played Dr. Francesca Alberghetti in 22 episodes of the sixth season of the medical TV drama Chicago Hope.[39]

Among her feature film appearances during the 1990s was Jane Campion's adaptation of the Henry James novel The Portrait of a Lady (1996). Hershey earned an Oscar nomination,[40] and won the Best Supporting Actress award from the National Society of Film Critics for her role as Madame Serena Merle in that picture.[41] In 1999 Hershey starred in an independent film called Drowning on Dry Land; during production she met co-star Naveen Andrews, with whom she began a romantic relationship that lasted until 2010 (see Personal life).[42]


In 2001 Hershey appeared in the psychological thriller Lantana (2001). She was the only American in a mostly Australian cast, which included Kerry ArmstrongAnthony LaPaglia, and Geoffrey Rush.[43] Film writer Sheila Johnson said that the film was "one of the best to emerge from Australia in years."[44] Another thriller followed in 2003. 11:14 (2003) also featured Rachael Leigh CookPatrick SwayzeHilary Swank and Colin Hanks.[45]

Hershey continued to appear on television during the 2000s, including a season on the series The Mountain. She also starred as Anne Shirley as an adult in Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning (2008).


Hershey appeared as an American actress, Mrs. Hubbard, in an adaptation of Agatha Christie's Murder on the Orient Express for the British television series Poirot starring David Suchet, which aired in the United States on Public Broadcast Service (PBS) in July, 2010.[46] Also in 2010, Hershey co-starred in Darren Aronofsky's acclaimed psychological thriller Black Swan (2010), opposite Natalie Portman and Mila Kunis. The following year she co-starred in the James Wan horror film Insidious (2011).[47] From 2012-2013, she had a recurring role in the first two seasons of ABC's hit drama, Once Upon a Time, as Cora, the mother of the Evil Queen.[48] In 2014, she reprised the role in one episode of the shows spin-off Once Upon a Time in Wonderland.

Personal life[edit]Edit

[1][2]Hershey at the Toronto International Film Festival, September 13, 2010

In 1969 Barbara Hershey met David Carradine while they were working on Heaven With a Gun.[8] The pair began a domestic relationship that would last until 1975.[49]Carradine said that during the rape scene in that movie he cracked one of Barbara's ribs.[50] They appeared in other films together including Martin Scorsese's Boxcar Bertha. In 1972, the couple posed together in a nude Playboy spread, recreating some sex scenes from Boxcar Bertha.[20] Later in 1972, Hershey gave birth to their son, Free, who changed his name to Tom when he was nine years old.[51] The relationship fell apart, around the time of Carradine's 1974 burglary arrest,[52] after he had begun an affair withSeason Hubley who had guest starred in Kung Fu.[53]

During this period, Hershey changed her stage name to "Seagull." A blunt newspaper article from the Knight News Service, in 1979, referenced this period of her life saying of her acting career, "it looked as if she blew it."[54] The article referred to Hershey as a "kook" and stated that she was frequently "high on something."[54] In addition to that criticism, she had been ostracized for breast-feeding her son during an appearance on The Dick Cavett Show,[2][12][55] and for breast-feeding him beyond the age of two years old.[22] She said that this period of her life hurt her career; "Producers wouldn't see me because I had a reputation for using drugs and being undependable. I never used drugs at all and I have always been serious about my acting career."[6] After splitting up with Carradine, she changed her stage name back to "Hershey," explaining that she had told the story of why she adopted the name "Seagull" so many times that it had lost its meaning.[6]

By the time Hershey was 42, she was described by columnist Luaina Lee as a "private person who was mired in some heavy publicity when she first became a professional actress."[7] Yardena Arar, writing for the Los Angeles Daily News, confirmed that Hershey had become a private person by 1990.[4] On August 8, 1992, she married artist Stephen Douglas. The ceremony took place at her home in Oxford, Connecticut, where the only guests were their two mothers and Hershey's son, Tom (né Free) Carradine, who was 19 years old at the time.[56] They were separated and divorced one year after wedding.[57] Hershey began dating actor Naveen Andrews in 1999.[42] During a brief separation in 2005, Andrews fathered a child with another woman.[58] In May 2010, after Andrews won sole custody of his son, the couple announced that they had ended their 12-year relationship six months earlier.[59]



Year Title Role Notes
1968 With Six You Get Eggroll Stacey Iverson
1969 Heaven with a Gun Leloopa
1969 Last Summer Sandy
1970 The Liberation of L.B. Jones Nella Mundine
1970 The Baby Maker Tish Gray
1971 The Pursuit of Happiness Jane Kauffman
1972 [ Dealing: or the Berkeley-to-Boston

Forty-Brick Lost-Bag Blues]

1972 Boxcar Bertha Boxcar Bertha
1973 Love Comes Quietly Angela
1974 The Crazy World of Julius Vrooder Zanni
1975 Diamonds Sally
1976 The Last Hard Men Susan Burgade
1976 A Dirty Knight's Work Marion Evans
1976 Flood! Mary Cutler Television movie
1977 In the Glitter Palace Ellen Lange Television movie
1977 Just a Little Inconvenience Nikki Klausing Television movie
1977 Sunshine Christmas Cody Blanks Television movie
1979 A Man Called Intrepid Madelaine Television movie
1980 Angel on My Shoulder Julie Television movie
1980 The Stunt Man Nina Franklin
1981 Take This Job and Shove It J.M. Halstead
1982 The Entity Carla Moran
1982 Twilight Theatre Various Television movie
1983 The Right Stuff Glennis Yeager
1984 The Natural Harriet Bird
1985 My Wicked, Wicked Ways: The Legend of Errol Flynn Lili Damita Television movie
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters Lee Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress

1986 Passion Flower Julia Gaitland Television movie
1986 Hoosiers Myra Fleener
1987 Tin Men Nora Tilley
1987 Shy People Ruth Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Actress
1988 A World Apart Diana Roth Nominated—National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Actress
1988 The Last Temptation of Christ Mary Magdalene Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture
1988 Beaches Hillary Whitney Essex
1990 Tune in Tomorrow... Aunt Julia
1990 A Killing in a Small Town Candy Morrison Television movie

Golden Globe Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries or a Movie

1991 Paris Trout Hanna Trout
1991 Defenseless Thelma 'T.K. Knudsen Katwuller
1992 Stay the Night Jimmie Sue Finger Television movie
1992 The Public Eye Kay Levitz
1993 Falling Down Elizabeth "Beth" Travino
1993 Swing Kids Frau Müller
1993 Abraham Sarah Television movie
1993 Splitting Heirs Duchess Lucinda
1993 A Dangerous Woman Frances
1995 Last of the Dogmen Prof. Lillian Diane Sloan
1996 The Pallbearer Ruth Abernathy
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Madame Serena Merle Los Angeles Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress

National Society of Film Critics Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Chicago Film Critics Association Award for Best Supporting Actress Nominated—Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress – Motion Picture Nominated—New York Film Critics Circle Award for Best Supporting Actress

1998 Frogs for Snakes Eva Santana
1998 The Staircase Mother Madalyn Television movie

Nominated—Satellite Award for Best Actress – Miniseries or Television Film

1998 A Soldier's Daughter Never Cries Marcella Willis
1999 Breakfast of Champions Celia Hoover
1999 Passion Rose Grainger
1999 Drowning on Dry Land Kate
2001 Lantana Dr. Valerie Somers
2003 11:14 Norma
2003 Hunger Point Marsha Hunter Television movie
2003 The Stranger Beside Me Ann Rule Television movie
2004 Paradise Elizabeth Paradise Television movie
2004 Riding the Bullet Jean Parker
2007 The Bird Can't Fly Melody
2007 Love Comes Lately Rosalie
2008 Uncross the Stars Hilda
2008 Childless Natalie
2008 Anne of Green Gables: A New Beginning Older Anne Shirley Television movie
2009 Albert Schweitzer Helene Schweitzer
2010 Black Swan Erica Sayers / The Queen Nominated—BAFTA Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role

Nominated—Screen Actors Guild Award for Outstanding Performance by a Cast in a Motion Picture

2010 Insidious Lorraine Lambert
2011 Answers to Nothing Marilyn
2012 Left to Die Sandra Chase Television movie
2013 Insidious: Chapter 2 Lorraine Lambert
2014 Sister Susan Presser Post-production


Year Title Role Notes
1965–1966 Gidget Ellen 2 episodes
1966 Gidget Karen Episode: "Love and the Single Gidget"
1966 The Farmer's Daughter Lucy 2 episodes
1966 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Casey Holloway Episode: "Holloway's Daughters"
1966–1967 The Monroes Kathy Monroe 26 episodes
1967 Daniel Boone Dinah Hubbard Episode: "The King's Shilling"
1968 Run for Your Life Saro-Jane Episode: "Saro-Jane, You Never Whispered Again"
1968 The Invaders Beth Ferguson Episode: "The Miracle"
1968 The High Chaparral Moonfire Episode: "The Peacemaker"
1970 Insight Judy Episode: "The Whole Damn Human Race and One More"
1973 Love Story Farrell Edwards Episode: "The Roller Coaster Stops Here"
1974 Kung Fu Nan Chi 2 episodes
1980 From Here to Eternity Karen Holmes Episode: "Pearl Harbor"
1982 American Playhouse Lenore Episode: "Weekend"
1983 Faerie Tale Theatre The Maid Episode: "The Nightingale"
1985 Alfred Hitchcock Presents Jessie Dean Episode: "Wake Me When I'm Dead"
1993 Return to Lonesome Dove Clara Allen 3 episodes
1999–2000 Chicago Hope Dr. Francesca Alberghetti 22 episodes
2002 Daniel Deronda Contessa Maria Alcharisi Episode: "1.3"
2004–2005 The Mountain Gennie Carver 13 episodes
2010 Agatha Christie's Poirot Caroline Hubbard Episode: "Murder on the Orient Express"
2012–2013 Once Upon a Time Cora 12 episodes
2014 Once Upon a Time in Wonderland Cora Episode: "Heart of the Matter"

Awards and nominations[edit]Edit

Year Work Award Category Result
1986 Hannah and Her Sisters British Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1987 Shy People Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Won
1988 A World Apart Cannes Film Festival Best Actress Won
1988 The Last Temptation of Christ Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1990 A Killing in a Small Town Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries/Movie Won
1990 A Killing in a Small Town Golden Globe Best Actress in a Miniseries or TV Film Won
1991 Paris Trout Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Miniseries/Movie Nominated
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Golden Globe Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
1996 The Portrait of a Lady Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
2010 Black Swan British Academy Award Best Supporting Actress Nominated
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