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Wednesday, August 9, 2017

Remembering Barbara Cook 1927 - 2017

Singer and actress Barbara Cook, who died Tuesday at age 89, received the 1958 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical for her performance as librarian Marian Paroo in The Music Man. She was also nominated for a Tony for the 2010 musical revue, Sondheim on Sondheim. Other Broadway credits include Flahooley (1951), Oklahoma! (1953), Carousel (1954, 1957), Plain and Fancy (1955), Candide (1956), The Gay Life (1961), She Loves Me (1963), Something More! (1964), Any Wednesday (1965), Little Murders (1967), The Grass Harp (1971), Enemies (1972) and the 1988 pre-Broadway tryout of Carrie: The Musical (as Carrie's mother).

Her television credits include the 1954 NBC daytime soap opera, Golden Windows, and live telecasts of Babes in Toyland (1955), Bloomer Girl (1956) and Hansel and Gretel (1958). She also provided her voice as Thumbelina's mother in the 1994 animated film, Thumbelina.

In 1975, Cook made her solo concert debut at Carnegie Hall and began a successful second career as a cabaret and concert singer. She recorded many albums, including Count Your Blessings, which received a 2005 Grammy Award nomination for Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album. And in 2011, she was named a Kennedy Center Honoree.

Fittingly, her last meal was "Vanilla Ice Cream" (which is also the title of one of her signature tunes from She Loves Me).

Below I've selected some videos to celebrate Barbara Cook's life and career.

Babes in Toyland on December 24, 1955

Bloomer Girl with Keith Andes on May 28, 1956

NBC's Hansel and Gretel with Red Buttons and Hans Conried on April 27, 1958

NBC's The Bell Telephone Hour on February 26, 1960

American Musical Theatre special, "Broadway, I Love You", on September 22, 1960

NBC's The Bell Telephone Hour with Alfred Drake on March 16, 1962

"Any Wednesday", a promotional single that was not used in the Broadway comedy, Any Wednesday, in which she replaced Sandy Dennis in February 1965.

NBC's The Bell Telephone Hour on March 2, 1965

Reno Sweeney nightclub (126 West 13th Street in NYC) in the late 1970s

A tribute to Frank Loesser on the BBC series, Song by Song, with Millicent Martin, David Kernan and Clarke Peters on August 17, 1980

An Evening with Barbara Cook (1980 PBS special)

The Mike Douglas Show (1981) with John Raitt

Over Easy (1981) with host Frank Blair and her longtime musical director and accompanist Wally Harper

The Dick Cavett Show on PBS (February 1, 1982)

Gala of Stars (1982 PBS musical presentation)

A 1984 interview with Jonathan Schwartz (featuring Wally Harper on piano)

She played Sally Durant Plummer in Follies in Concert at Lincoln Center on September 6 and 7, 1985.

The 41st Annual Tony Awards on June 7, 1987

PBS's Evening at Pops with Mandy Patinkin (1989)

A tribute to Irving Berlin on CNN's Larry King Weekend on July 9, 1994, with Mary Ellin Barrett (Berlin's daughter), Karen Akers and Michael Feinstein

A concert with the Melbourne Symphony Orchestra on November 3, 1995

Theater Talk on June 11, 1997

Royal Variety Performance with Michael Ball on December 1, 1997

Conversations with William M. Hoffman on November 6, 2003

Women in Theatre on December 16, 2004

She performed at NYC's 54 Below in April-May 2013.


terryh said...

thank you, thank you for these wonderful clips of a truly great singer

Marc Harshbarger said...

I'm so glad you enjoyed my Barbara Cook tribute, terryh.