Early life, family, educational background
American comedy actress Barbara Rhoades, was born on 23 March 1946 in Poughkeepsie, New York State, USA. She is best known for her comedy and mystery roles – particularly in 1968’s “The Shakiest Gun in the West” as lady bandit Penelope “Bad Penny” Cushings.
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She was raised by her mother, Sherry Rhoades, in Poughkeepsie, and attended Our Lady of Lourdes High School.
Barbara Rhoades in an episode of It Takes a Thief – her second ever credit on IMDb
When she was seven years old, she began taking dancing lessons.
Who is Bernie Orenstein?
Barbara’s husband is writer and producer Bernard “Bernie” Orenstein, who was born on 5 February 1931 in Toronto, Ontario Canada. His most famous works include 1966’s “That Girl,” 1975’s “Grady,” and 1977’s “Carter Country.” Prior to marrying Barbara, Bernie was married to Marion F Freeman, and the couple had one child together.
Barbara has constantly switched between film, TV and theatre during her long career, and has been almost constantly in demand. Her acting debut was in 1967, in the TV series episode “Ironside: The Man Who Believed.” In 1975, she appeared in one of the show’s last episodes, entitled “Ironside: The Organizer,” which unfortunately wasn’t aired, as NBC suddenly canceled the series; however, it aired in syndication.
Her most famous role was as lady bandit Penelope “Bad Penny” Cushings in the comedy-mystery, “The Shakiest Gun in the West” in 1968, opposite Don Knotts, who portrayed her milquetoast husband. Barbara recurred as Jodie Dallas’s future wife, Maggie Chandler, in “Soap” from 1977 to 1981.
At the beginning of her career, Barbara signed a long-term exclusive contract in 1967 with Universal Pictures, and appeared in guest roles in several television series, including Hilda in “It Takes a Thief” in 1968, Bunny in “Love, American Style” in 1969, La Von in “The Partridge Family” in 1970, and in “McMillan & Wife” from 1972-1973, among many others.
Barbara was often a panelist in “Match Game,” a top-rated 1970s game show hosted by Gene Rayburn. She was a recurring cast member in the 1977 sitcom “Busting Loose” as Melody Feebeck, and subsequently in 1989, she recurred as Jessica Gardner in “Generations.” Barbara once again had a recurring role in 2011 as Irene Manning in the popular American soap opera, “One Life to Live.” She plays Victoria Lord (Erika Slezak)’s childhood best friend.
In 1970, Barbara played Miss Jessie Brundidge in “There Was a Crooked Man…” opposite Henry Fonda and Kirk Douglas. In 1972, she was Dr. Bolden in “Up the Sandbox,” starring Barbra Streisand, and the following year Barbara portrayed Elaine in 1973’s “Scream Blacula Scream.”
In 1974, Barbara portrayed Stephanie, a Las Vegas hooker in “Harry and Tonto” – in the movie, her character picks up Art Carney, who at the time was appearing in what turned out to be his Oscar-winning performance.
She played No Balls’ Hadley, a police officer in “The Choirboys” in 1977, and in the same year, she was Donna in “The Goodbye Girl”. More recently, in 2007 she played Nancy in “First Born,” starring Elisabeth Shue.
For 18 months from 1964, Barbara played a showgirl on Broadway in the musical “Funny Girl.” She increased her on-stage skill when she appeared in Summer Stock productions in Fishkill, New York, at the Cecilwood Theater.
Barbara married television producer Bernie Orenstein on 18 February 1979, and they are still together after more than 40 years, rather unusual in the entertainment business. They have one child together.
Barbara has red hair and brown eyes. She is 5ft 10ins (1.78m) tall and weighs around 1435lbs (65kgs).
Net worth and salary
Her net worth is estimated at over $1 million from her work as an actress, and has maintained a healthy income throughout her career, varying only dependent on the number of appearances per year. She has appeared in several box office-successful and well-grossing films such as “The Goodbye Girl” ($102 million) and “Up the Sandbox” ($305 million),