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Edith Barrett

Biography: 

(1907-1977)

Born into a theatrical family, Edith Barrett was taken under the wing of mystic and theatrical producer Walter Hampden who instilled in Edith a sensitivity to stage space and the ensemble moment. Her early roles, undertaken while a teenager from 1925 to 1929, tended toward classic repertoire and costume drama, Hampden's specialties. Her Broadway debut occured in "Trelawney of the Wells," and before turning twenty she had performed in "Hamlet," "Cyrano," "Merchant of Venice," "Henry IV, Part 1," and "The Immortal Thief." Most of the performances were short stints of plays in repertory rotation.

She established her reputation in the profession at large playing Pompilia in Arthur Goodrich's adaptation of Robert Browning's The Ring and the Book, "Caponsacchi," a 1926 hit that ran for 269 performances. A versatile actress, she could handle comedy, romance, and the gothic. Her greatest popular success of the 1930's, "Mrs. Moonlight," was a well-crafted entertainment with little lasting appeal.

In the 1940s she became a useful supporting actress in motion pictures, and had the good fortune to be cast in the most uncanny of the 1940s horror movies, "I Walked with a Zombie." From 1928 to 1948 she was the spouse of Vincent Price. David S. Shields/ALS