Joanna Barnes, 'Auntie Mame' and 'Parent Trap' Star, Dies at 87
Joanna Barnes, remembered for scene-stealing appearances in two movie classics, died Friday at age 87.
Sally Jackson, a longtime friend of Barnes, told The Hollywood Reporter that the actress died at her home at The Sea Ranch, California, following battles with "multiple health problems."
Born in Boston on November 15, 1934, Barnes was memorable in a small role in "Auntie Mame" (1958) as patrician Gloria Upson, the fiancée of the title character's nephew. Socialite Upson endured a "ghastly" ping-pong tournament and found books "awfully decorative."
She was Golden Globe-nominated for her work in the film.
Along with other film appearances and many TV guest spots, she went on to appear in "Tarzan, the Ape Man" (1959) — she, Jane — and "Spartacus" (1960) before playing gold-digging baddie Vicky Robinson in the original version of "The Parent Trap" (1961). She would deliciously return for the 1998 remake, playing the same character's mother.
She was also a regular on TV's "The Trials of O'Brien" (1965-1966), playing the ex-wife of series lead Peter Falk.
In 1967, Barnes was a celebrity interviewer in both senses of the term on the daily show "Dateline: Hollywood."
Around this time, still acting, Barnes embarked upon a career as a novelist, publishing a Hollywood roman à clef called "The Deceivers," the historical novel "Pastora" (1980), the romance "Silverwood" (1985), and the glitzy "Who Is Carla Hart?" (1986).
Her writing career included reviewing books for The Los Angeles Times and writing the column "Touching Home" on interior design for the paper.
Later in her career, continuing to make TV appearances, Barnes acted on such staples as "Fantasy Island" (1978-1979), "Barney Miller" (1982), "Murder, She Wrote" (1987), and "Cheers" (1989).
She gave her last performance on the series "Then Came You" in 2000.
Barnes was married three times, and was preceded in death by her husband of over 30 years, architect Jack Lionel Warner, in 2012.
She is survived by two sisters and three stepchildren.