Adrienne Barbeau was born in Sacramento, California to a French-Canadian father and an
Armenian-American mother; she has a sister, Jocelyn Jo. Barbeau attended
Foothill College in Los Altos Hills and began performing with the San Jose Civic
Light Opera in 1963, as well as performing for soldiers on army bases in
Adrienne Barbeau made her Broadway debut in Fiddler on the Roof. She has starred in over 25 musicals and plays, among them Pump Boys & Dinettes, Women Behind Bars, The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, and Grease, as tough-girl Rizzo, for which she won a Theater Guild award and received a 1972 Tony Award nomination. Before making it on Broadway, she worked as a Go-Go dancer in New York City.
Adrienne Barbeau began her screen acting career in the 1970s, first appearing as the daughter of Bea Arthur's character on the television series, Maude. She was subsequently cast in a large number of made-for-television movies and made guest appearances on numerous shows, including Love Boat, Fantasy Island, and Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. Barbeau was then cast in one of the lead roles in the 1980 horror film, The Fog. The film's success led to Barbeau's appearances in a number of early 1980s horror and science fiction films, a number of which have now become cult classics, including Creepshow and Swamp Thing. She also appeared in the high-grossing comedy, The Cannonball Run.
Throughout the remainder of the 1980s, Adrienne Barbeau mostly starred in low-budget, direct-to-video films, like the spoof Cannibal Women in the Avocado Jungle of Death, co-starring Bill Maher. In 1986, she starred as "The Librarian" in Tomes & Talismans, a thirteen-episode library skills series presented as a dramatic science-fiction serial story. In the 1990s, Barbeau mostly appeared in made-for-television films, as well as played Oswald's mother on The Drew Carey Show and voiced Catwoman on Batman: the Animated Series. From 2003 to 2005, she starred on the HBO series Carnivale.
In 1998, Adrienne Barbeau released her debut album as a folk singer, Adrienne Barbeau. Her autobiography, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, will be released in March 2006.
Barbeau was married to director John Carpenter from January 1, 1979 to 1984; the two met on a set of his 1978 television movie, Someone's Watching Me! and Barbeau later appeared in his films, "The Fog" and Escape from New York. The couple have a son, John Cody (born May 7, 1984).
Adrienne Barbeau married her current husband, Billy Van Zandt, in 1994. She gave birth to twins, Walker Steven and William Dalton, on March 11, 1997.
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