"Some people seem to think actors are strange beings -- either superhuman or subhuman. We're not. We're just people who've chosen this way of life because it's what we can do."

-- Nancy Barrett

See also:

Feature articles about Nancy

The Nancy Barrett Photo Gallery -- images from her personal collection




Nancy Barrett
Dark Shadows Characters:
Carolyn Stoddard Hawkes, Charity Trask, Millicent Collins, Melanie Collins, Leticia Faye, Carolyn Loomis, Amanda Collins

Appeared in: 405 episodes

First episode: #2, June 28, 1966.

Last episode: #1245, April 2, 1971

Born: Shreveport, Louisiana; October 5, 1942

Like many youngsters who would go on to find acting success, as a child Nancy Barrett mounted plays in her yard. With her little sister, Martha, as co-star, Nancy was actress, producer, and ticket-taker.

The Barrett family moved from Nancy's Louisiana birthplace when she was very young, and settled in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, where her father was an oil executive.

Nancy attended Baylor University in Waco, Texas, for two years.

After her second year at Baylor, Nancy and two girlfriends spent a summer in Los Angeles. She starred in a production of Little Mary Sunshine, and fell in love with Los Angles. She transferred to UCLA, where she graduated a year later.

She married agent Ralph Pine, and the couple moved to New York, where Nancy pursued stage work. She made her Broadway debut in Pickwick in 1965.

After divorcing Pine, Nancy became part of the original core cast of Dark Shadows in 1966 in the role of Carolyn Stoddard. While on the show (playing seven characters in 405 episodes), Nancy took breaks to appear in plays, including Neil Simon's The Star-Spangled Girl and The Physicists.

Nancy was one of the few actors to appear in both films House of Dark Shadows (1970) and Night of Dark Shadows (1971). In HODS she played Carolyn, a sexy vampire; and in NODS she and John Karlen played husband and wife writing team Clair and Alex Jenkins.


In 1999 Nancy hosted the documentary Dark Shadows On Location, revisiting several spots used for exterior shots on DS. In this exclusive behind-the-scenes shot, she prepares to talk about the Black Pearl, a.k.a. The Blue Whale.

Many more photos from this visit will soon be releaed on the DarkShadowsOnline DVD Behind the Shadows. More information about that will be available soon.

Photo © Craig Hamrick


While on Dark Shadows, she was married to co-star David Ford. The couple also divorced. In the early 1970s, she married Dr. Harold Kaplan, a prominent New York psychiatrist who died in late 1997.

Before his death, Nancy's third husband got a chance to see her fulfill a dream. For years she'd considered performing a one-woman show, and in August 1997, she did, in As If We Never Said Good-bye, at the annual Dark Shadows Festival in New York City, with Harold in the audience.

She has since performed similar shows in Las Vegas, Los Angeles, the midwest, and at the New York cabaret club Don't Tell Mama.

Nancy Barrett peforming cabaret in March 2004. Photo © Craig Hamrick

Career Highlights

Daytime TV:

• One Life to Live (Deborah Van Druten, 1979-82)

• Ryan's Hope (Faith Coleridge, 1976)

• One Life to Live (Rachel Wilson, 1974)

• The Doctors (Cathy Ryker, 1971-72)

Primetime TV:

• The Adams Chronicles (1976 PBS miniseries)

• Mr. Broadway (1964)

• Ed Sullivan Show

•  Dupont Show of the Week

• Les Crane Show

TV Commericals:

Many, including Gilette Spoiler razor.


• Belizaire the Cajun (Rebecca, 1986)

• Night of Dark Shadows (Claire Jenkins, 1971)

• House of Dark Shadows (Carolyn Stoddard, 1970)



• Three In Time (Carla Clayton, 1988, NYC)

•Quadrille (1978-79)

• The Physicists (1969)

• Telemachus Clay (NYC)

• Take Her She's Mine (1964)

• The Fantasticks (Luisa, 1963, Los Angeles), with Bill Bixby

• Little Mary Sunshine (1963, L.A.)


• Pickwick (Mary, 1965)

• Dr. Faustus (Good, 1964)


• The Nutcrakcer (Grandmother, debut: 1999, NYC)



At one point, a credit was listed on the Internet Movie Database, stating that Nancy Barrett appeared in an episode of the ABC detective series Vegas starring Robert Urich. DSO checked with Nancy, and confirmed that she did not appear in Vegas. Her IMDB page is currently correct, though missing a couple TV credits (listed above).

Nancy and Louis Edmonds each guest-starred on different episodes of Mr. Broadway, a 1964 show about a public relations man in New York. The show tried to make that job seem a little more glamorous than it is, by including big-name guests like Lauren Bacall and Liza Minelli. Filmed in New York, it unfortunately only lasted one season.

• • • 

In his Phil Spector biography, He's a Rebel, author Mark Ribowsky mentions the fact that Nancy's husband, Dr. Harold Kaplan, was the much-trusted psychiatrist of the famous rock producer for many years. Spector, known for creating the "wall of sound," currently stands accused of murdering a B-movie actress in his Hollywood home. Dr. Kaplan died in 1997.

• • • 

Nancy grew up in Bartlesville, Oklahoma, just a few miles from Coffeyville, Kansas, where her cabaret producer, Craig Hamrick, grew up.

In October 1998, Nancy and Craig traveled to Coffeyville to present a cabaret show there, as a benefit to help save a vaudeville-era theatre that was in need of renovation.

Musical director Steve Silverstein was part of the show as well -- remarking on stage that he'd just seen his first cow, just before the show.

The show, titled Close to Home, was performed on Halloween night. That weekend, House of Dark Shadows, was shown on the Midland's big screen, and Nancy, Steven, and Craig were given the key to the city of Coffeyville. ("Does this thing open jail cells?" joked Hamrick, who'd had a few minor run-ins with the local law as a teenager.)

Coffeyville's claim to fame is the fact that in the 1800s, the Dalton Gang members were shot down during an attempt to rob two banks at the same time. Dark Shadows creator Dan Curtis directed a 1979 TV movie about the event called The Last Ride of the Dalton Gang. The cast included DS alum John Karlen as well as Randy Quaid, Larry Wilcox, and Jack Palance. Cliff Potts starred as gang leader Bob Dalton. (Potts is probably best-remembered for playing baseball star Ted McCovey, Billie Newman's husband on Lou Grant.)

• • • 

Nancy accepted a role in the 1986 film Belizaire the Cajun, largely because it gave her a chance to work in her native Louisiana. (She was born there, though she grew up in Oklahoma.) "The original script I saw was considerably better than what ended up on the screen," she said. The movie, which stars Armand Assante, is available on DVD. (Louis Edmonds appeared on stage with Assante in a production ofThe Cherry Orchard.)

• • • 



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