Barbara Rush Played Marsha Russell on "Peyton Place." See Her Now at 95.
The actor has also starred in several Hollywood movies opposite major film stars.
It's difficult to imagine a time in TV history when soap operas weren't a big part of the lineup, but such a time once existed. Though the genre can be traced back to the '30s, it wasn't until the '60s when shows like Peyton Place really put it on the map. Airing during primetime beginning in 1964, the show, which starred Mia Farrow and Ryan O'Neal, eventually expanded to three episodes a week as fans found themselves enraptured in the drama of the fictional town that gave it its title. Peyton Place ran for over 500 episodes, so naturally, many cast members came and went over the years, including Barbara Rush. She played Marsha Russell, the woman who eventually becomes the object of Michael Rossi's (Ed Nelson) affection.
Rush kept acting after her Peyton Place days and has some pretty impressive film roles among her credits. And at 95, she's still getting out and about. Read on to find out more about her life today.
After a career spanning decades, Rush is all but retired.
Before Peyton Place, Rush had already found success on the stage and the big screen, starring opposite actors like James Mason and Dean Martin in movies including Bigger Than Life and Robin and the 7 Hoods (pictured above). But she was a frequent presence on TV as well.
After her time on Peyton Place came to an end in 1969, Rush continued acting for decades. Most memorably, she took on several recurring TV roles, including playing Eudora Weldon on Flamingo Road. Her final significant role was playing Ruth Camden on 7th Heaven, though she would later take a bit part in the short Bleeding Hearts: The Arteries of Glenda Bryant, in 2017.
Rush has stayed close to her Hollywood roots, attending film festivals and giving interviews. She also starred in a commercial for Wilshire Coin, which she told Fox News has brought her a lot of new fans.
"I play this lady who comes in and dumps a lot of coins on the counter. And I say, 'That's just from my first husband.'… I have gotten more fan mail for that!" she said. "Every time I go out… [People] say, 'Are you that lady from the commercial?' But if you saw it, you would just love it because it's funny."
She leads a busy life at 95.
Though she doesn't act as frequently anymore, Rush is still keeping incredibly busy. She told the San Francisco Chronicle in 2019 that she spends her free time seeing up to four movies a week, attending events, and spending time with friends and family.
Rush is also the mother of two adult children: Fox News reporter Claudia Cowan (from her marriage to Warren Cowan) and former actor Christopher Hunter (with first husband Jeffrey Hunter).
"Can you call me back in 45 minutes? I'm popular today," she said at the beginning of her interview with the Chronicle.
She gushes over her time working with Frank Sinatra.
Rush has worked with many Hollywood greats, but she seems to speak most fondly of Frank Sinatra, who she also worked with on Robin and the 7 Hoods. Talking to Datebook, Rush said that the singer was "a wonderful, wonderful man to me."
In a 2020 interview with Classic Movie Hub, Rush told a story about when she and Sinatra were first getting to know each other on set and said that she was a "basketcase" over meeting hm.
"I was completely intimidated, even more so because I knew Frank hated to rehearse. I was so nervous that I called Carolyn Jones who had just worked with Frank. And she told me what to do," Rush said. "I came up to him on set and said, 'Mr. Sinatra, can I talk to you?' And then said, 'First of all, call me Frank, what can I do for you, Barbara?' And I said, 'I'm from the stage and I know you don't like rehearsing, but I have to rehearse at least one time, I don't think I can do the scene otherwise.' And he said, 'Baby doll, of course I can do that for you. CLEAR THE SET! Barbara and I are going to rehearse.'"
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Her daughter honored her on her 95th birthday.
Rush turned 95 on Jan. 4 of this year and marked the occasion with a small celebration. Her daughter, Cowan, shared some shots from the party on her Instagram, as well as a sweet tribute to her mom in the caption.
"It's been a year of transition for everyone, my sweet mother included. She's handled life's changes with grace and dignity, and on her 95th birthday, we can all celebrate her continued good health, big heart, and endless charm," Cowan wrote. "A few of us gathered Sunday to toast this remarkable woman and her ability to remain young in many meaningful ways (like, she is head over heels in love with her boyfriend Bernie, and still wears pearls and red lipstick every day). On this and every day, I am blessed to be able to tell you how much I love and adore you, mom! Happy 95th Birthday."