Barbara Rush, Golden Globe-winning star of 'It Came from Outer Space' and 'Peyton Place,' dead at 97

LOS ANGELES - 2007 actress Barbara Rush poses for a portrait in Los Angeles, California. (Photo by Harry Langdon/Getty Images)

Barbara Rush, the Golden Globe-winning star of "It Came from Outer Space" and "Peyton Place" has died. She was 97.

Rush's daughter and Fox News Channel senior correspondent Claudia Cowan confirmed her beloved mother's death to Fox News Digital. 

"My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening. I was with her this morning and know she was waiting for me to return home safely to transition," Cowan shared. "It’s fitting she chose to leave on Easter as it was one of her favorite holidays and now, of course, Easter will have a deeper significance for me and my family."

The legendary actress, whose career spanned seven decades across the stage, screen and television, starred opposite some of Hollywood's most iconic leading men including Paul Newman, Rock Hudson, Dean Martin, Marlon Brando, Frank Sinatra and Richard Burton.

Rush launched her acting career on the stage, performing at the Pasadena Playhouse, where she was spotted by a talent scout who signed her to Paramount Pictures in 1950. She made her big-screen debut in the 1950 film "The Goldbergs," which was based on Gertrude Berg's comedy-drama radio and television broadcast of the same name.


After starring in 1951's "When Worlds Collide" and 1952's "Flaming Feather," Rush made her career breakthrough in the 1953 science fiction horror movie "It Came From Outer Space." In 1954, Rush won the Golden Globe Award for most promising newcomer – female for her performance in the film.

Rush teamed up with Rock Hudson for the first time in the 1954 Western movie "Taza, Son of Conchise." The two would reunite that same year for the romantic drama "Magnificent Obsession" and again in the 1955 adventure movie "Captain Lightfoot."

During a 2018 interview with Fox News Digital, Rush shared fond memories from her experiences working with Hudson, who died in 1985 at the age of 59 from AIDS-related complications.

"He started off in film pretty much the same time I did," she said. "He was a lot of fun to be with. He had a wonderful sense of humor. He loved to laugh. We just had the best time working."

Rush gained further prominence after starring in the critically-acclaimed 1956 drama "Bigger Than Life" opposite James Mason. In 1956, Rush played socialite Margaret Freemantle, the love interest of American soldier Michael Whiteacre (Dean Martin) in the World War II drama "The Young Lions," which also starred Marlon Brando and Montgomery Clift.

The actress, who became known for playing high-society women, portrayed heiress Joan Dickenson opposite Paul Newman in the 1959 legal drama "The Young Philadelphians." She and Newman starred together again in the 1967 Western movie "Hombre." 

Rush played the mob boss's vengeful daughter Marian in the 1964 musical "Robin and the 7 Hoods," which also starred Martin, Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr. and Bing Crosby.

During her time at Paramount, Rush told Fox New Digital that she befriended Hollywood legend Marilyn Monroe.

"Oh yes, we were friends," she said. "We were in the studio club together. At least with me, when you first come to Hollywood, and I went to Paramount, they put me immediately in the studio club. It’s kind of like a sorority house. And Marilyn Monroe was there. I loved her. Marilyn was such a darling lady. She was very sweet and nice. All the girls in the studio club just had a good time."

However, in a 2019 interview with Marin magazine, Rush explained that she became weary of the Hollywood studio system after shuffling between contracts with Paramount, Universal and 20th Century Fox. She decided to venture into television and landed the role of the evil Nora Clavicle in the hit series "Batman" in 1968.

The show, which featured Adam West as the Caped Crusader and Burt Ward as his sidekick Robin, aired from 1966 until 1968.

Rush told Fox News Digital that at the time, no one thought that "Batman" would have such a lasting impact on television history.

"Oh... when you’re an actress, you don’t think about things like that," said Rush. "You just think, ‘I have a job!’ You just don’t project what your future is going to be. And [Nora Clavicle] was just so funny. I just love comedy and she was very light-hearted. She was a kick."

After starring in "Batman," the actress went on to play Marsha Russell in the popular soap opera "Peyton Place," starring in 75 episodes between 1968 and 1969. She later starred in the long-running ABC soap opera "All My Children" for 38 episodes from 1992 to 1994.

In addition to her film and television work, Rush also continued to act on the stage. She was awarded the prestigious Sarah Siddons Award for her lead performance in the Chicago theatrical production of "40 Carats." In 1984, Rush starred in the one-woman Broadway play "A Woman of Independent Means." 

Rush was a member of the national touring company for the stage production of "Steel Magnolias" in 1989, playing the role of M'Lynn Eatonton. 

Rush's other film credits included "Flight to Hong Kong," "Oh Men! Oh Women!," "No Down Payment," "Harry Black and the Tiger," "The Bramble Bush," "Strangers When We Meet," "Come Blow Your Horn," "The Man, "Superdad," and "Can't Stop the Music."


She also made appearances on the television shows "The Fugitive," "Outer Limits," "The New Dick Van Dyke Show," "The Bionic Woman," "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat," "Flamingo Road," "Knight Rider," "Night Gallery," "Magnum, P.I.," "Murder, She Wrote" and "Hearts Are Wild."

Rush's last regular television role was playing Granma Ruth Camden in the hit teen series "7th Heaven" in 2007. Her final film performance was in the 2017 short "Bleeding Hearts: The Arteries of Glenda Bryant," in which she starred alongside her niece Carolyn Henessy. 

Born in Denver, Colorado on January 4, 1927, Rush graduated from the University of California, Santa Barbara in 1948.

From 1950 to 1955, she was married to the late actor Jeffrey Hunter, with whom she shared son Christopher. Rush married the late publicist Warren Cowan in 1959 but they divorced in 1969. 

The former couple shared their daughter Claudia. Rush and sculptor Jim Gruzalski tied the knot in 1970 but divorced in 1973.

On Rush's 97th birthday, Claudia shared a touching tribute to her mother. Alongside a photo of herself with the actress, Claudia wrote, "She is golden, she is a diamond, she glows like the moon and shines like the sun. Age does not diminish the light in her eyes, the sweetness of her heart."

"To me, she is 97 years young."

Fox News Digital's Stephanie Nolasco contributed to this report. Read more of this story from FOX News