Barbara Barrie played Barney Miller’s wife Liz. See her now at 90. — Better Life

She had been working in Hollywood and Broadway for more than two decades when she landed her breakthrough TV role, but Barbara Barrie certainly left her mark on Barney Miller. In the 1975-1982 crime comedy, she played Elizabeth “Liz” Miller, the wife of the titular detective. Though Barrie wasn’t a permanent fixture during the show’s eight seasons, Liz was always an integral part of the plot – and Barney Miller would hardly end up being the most famous credit on Barrie’s resume.

Forty years since Barney Miller broke up, Barrie is now 90 years old. And while her career has slowed down a bit, fans can still see her on screen and on the red carpet every now and then. Read on to find out what she’s up to today.

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Prior to taking on the role of Liz, Barrie’s biggest claim to fame was her lead role in 1964’s One Potato, Two Potato. On TV, she amassed numerous guest appearances and teleplays.

Barrie was cast in some of her most iconic roles after the comedy ended, from playing Evelyn Stohler in the movie Breaking Away (which earned her an Oscar nomination) and its TV adaptation (which earned her an Emmy nomination) to play Harriet in Private Benjamin opposite Goldie Hawn. In more recent years, Barrie memorably played Susan’s (Brooke Shields) grandmother Helen in Suddenly Susan, was nominated for an Emmy for Guest Actress for her work on Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and made cameo appearances in Enlightened and Nurse Jackie, among other series. . His most recent screen credit is the 2021 film The Magnificent Meyersons.

The actor has also enjoyed a thriving stage career, with credits including Significant Other, Fiddler on the Roof and the original production of Company. (This is her photo with co-stars Elaine Stritch and Dean Jones above.)

“It’s so expensive right now,” Barrie said in a 2017 interview with NewYorkTheater about how Broadway has changed since it started. “It’s millions of dollars… glitter and publicity. When we were doing a play, you’d go to the producer’s office and read it and get the part. It’s not like that anymore.”

In 1994, Barrie was diagnosed and treated for rectal cancer. To help raise awareness of the disease, she wrote the 1997 memoir Second Act: Life After Colostomy and Other Adventures about her journey.

“I had started to bleed, but I was running around the world doing so many fun things, and I decided not to worry. [the doctors] said not to worry,” she told the South Florida Sun Sentinel at the time. “They said it was hemorrhoids, don’t worry, or they said it was a fissure, or they said it was stress.”

She found out she had a tumor in her rectum, had surgery to remove it, and had a colostomy. Barrie also discovered that colorectal cancer actually ran in her family. “I think if I can get this thing out there, that will be my legacy,” she added.

Two decades after discovering she had cancer, Barrie shared that she had been diagnosed with idiopathic pulmonary fibrosis, an incurable lung disease. She partnered with the Coalition for Pulmonary Fibrosis to re-publicize early diagnosis and living with the disease.

“I have a very full and active life, but what is to come is unknown and known at the same time,” she said in a press release at the time. “I’m living at full throttle and now I’m trying to help other people do the same.”

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In addition to her memoir, Barrie has also written two children’s books. The first is Lone Star, which was published in 1990. Set in 1944, the story is about a girl and her family who “leave Chicago and its Jewish community for Corpus Christi, Texas, where Jane’s parents clash and where a visit of their orthodox grandfather forces them to confront their identities,” according to Amazon’s synopsis. It is based on Barrie’s own childhood.

His second children’s book, Adam Zigzag, published in 1994, is about two children struggling with dyslexia.

In 2007, Barrie’s 43-year-old husband, Broadway performer and co-founder of children’s theater company TheaterWorks USA, Jay Harnick, died at the age of 78. The couple had two children, Aaron Harnick and Jane Harnick, who would follow in their parents’ footsteps and join the entertainment industry. (Aaron is a producer and Jane is an actress.) Currently, Barrie lives in a New York apartment that she and Harnick renovated and which she described to The New York Times in 2017 as her “loft in heaven.”

“I’m alone now, so this is a really good place for me,” she said. “I don’t feel separate from the world here. I can see all the elements of the West Side through the window, the clouds, the sky, the planes flying in and out of Newark. This is a huge building, but it’s totally silent… I can play [classical music station] WQXR at high volume, and no one hears. That’s a blessing, don’t you think?”

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