Saturday, September 24, 2011

Super ‘70s and ‘80s: “Legends of the Superheroes”—Barbara Joyce (Huntress)

Introduction to series “Super ‘70s and ‘80s.”

Introduction to subseries “Legends of the Superheroes” (including list of interviewees).

I began looking for Barbara Joyce in January 2010 and found her in January 2011.

But she had passed away in March 2010.

It’s a shame the first woman to portray the Huntress died without knowing anyone was trying to hunt her down (and without knowing she had fans).

I was disappointed in general and even more so because she had been alive when I started to look for her. However, I did have the fortune to find her family.

After I discovered via an online obituary that Barbara had died, I searched for her in public records databases. One listed her with a man whose name I did not know. Barbara was born in 1941 and this man in 1920; I assumed he was her father. I soon learned that he was, in fact, her ex-husband. I was then pleasantly surprised to learn that he was alive and well and most kind.

He didn’t know about LOTS. To verify we were talking about the same Barbara Joyce, he asked if mine is “big-busted”; I said according to the photos I’ve seen, it seems so.

He then told me the following:

  • Barbara Joyce was her theatrical name.
  • They separated around 1978 (just before LOTS).
  • She had no children.
  • Her parents are dead.
  • She never remarried.
  • A niece of Barbara’s had called to tell Stan that Barbara had died but he didn’t get her name, it went so fast.
  • Her brother was a dentist in Florida.
Barbara and her brother, somewhat recently.

Luckily, Barbara’s brother had an unusual last name through which I was able to connect with her family. Glimpses I learned from her nephew:

  • He also didn’t know about LOTS.
  • Barbara smoked “forever” and died of lung cancer.
  • She had appeared on TV with Sonny and Cher (presumably on their eponymous show).
  • She would never tell you how old she was.
  • She was funny.

The last person to see Barbara was her niece (and this nephew’s sister) Courtney; she was the closest with Barbara. Barbara left all she had to Courtney’s young daughter.

What else Courtney shared (along with all the photos shown here):

  • Barbara would read Abbott and Costello scripts to Courtney over the phone.
  • After acting, Barbara did odd jobs, including a little modeling.
  • She moved to Florida and became a receptionist.
  • She moved to Washington State, where she helped run a bed and breakfast and where she was living when she died.
  • Courtney flew up to see her just before she died.

Did you think you’d ever see the prom photo of the
woman who played the first live-action Huntress?

This is a sweet expression.

Barbara Joyce 1941-2010


Anonymous said...

Great detective work! But I don't think I've ever heard of anyone dying from an online obituary--how does that happen?


Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Good catch, Anonymous. Now fixed!

Xav said...

You can watch Barbara Joyce in the late 1950's B-movie "Hothead" on Amazon for $1.99. She looks like she does in that prom picture.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Great tip, Xav. Thanks! How in the world did you find that out?

Unknown said...

Amazing Detective work. I see that Barbara Joyce had a Wikipedia entry that is basically empty.

Also she has an IMDB entry which has slightly more information.

Perhaps you can fill them in a bit, and at least have the Wikipedia page list this page as a link.

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thanks unknown. I would love Barbara's Wiki and IMDB entries to be updated but can't do it myself. I hope you will!

Mk said...

Barbara is my aunt. She was a delightful person. A light for sure, and naive for this world.

Bill said...

Great detective work, Marc! The Dark Knight himself would be proud. These interviews are great and so was the idea to do it.

I often submit updates to IMDb and will glady do so for Ms. Joyce's entry.

Anonymous said...

Thank you for posting this information about Barbara. I am sad to hear that cancer claimed her life. I first met her in the late 80's, when she invited me to join a comedy improv workshop she was in. She also introduced me to the transformational studies that have meant so much to me in my life and which I am still a big part of. She was one crazy, funny, delightfully off-the-wall wonderful woman. I lost track of her in the early 90's, but you have given me the opportunity to find her again, although she is no longer with us. I once gave her a gold dolfin necklace to let her know that she was appreciated, loved and a contribution to the ocean called life, that we all a part of (I hope it is still with her). RIP Barbara and I know you have been making the angels laugh their wings off!

Marc Tyler Nobleman said...

Thank you, Mk, Bill, and Anonymous, for sharing your reactions/recollections here. This is how history is built, and how tributes can be made, even if the person being honored will never know...

Unknown said...

Just enjoyed watching Barbara Joyce play with Zachary Scott in "Sneak Attack," a production of Tales Of Tomorrow.

cbikle said...

What's interesting is that Mrs. Joyce's resume has Chris Bearde listed as the director of "Hannah Barbara's Super-heroes", but he's not listed as such in the IMDB. Also, she'd worked with Chris Bearde on a few other projects as well.

Unknown said...

The biggest cans in show business