Barbara Rush was born in Denver, Colorado in 1927 and grew up in Santa Barbara, California. She attended UC Santa Barbara and later studied and performed at the Pasadena Playhouse. While there, she caught the eye of a talent agent and soon signed with Paramount Pictures, making her debut in a small role in The Goldbergs (1950). In 1951, Barbara won her first leading role in Douglas Sirk’s The First Legion and went on to star in WHEN WORLDS COLLIDE (1951) and Flaming Feather (1952). In 1953, she starred in another sci-fi cult classic, It Came from Outer Space, for which she received a Golden Globe for Most Promising Newcomer. As a Universal contract player, she again collaborated with Sirk in three films, opposite Rock Hudson: Taza, Son of Cochise (1954), MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954) and Captain Lightfoot (1955). Barbara came to be known as an attractive leading lady often cast in emotional dramas, as seen in Bigger Than Life (1956), The Young Lions (1958), The Young Philadelphians (1959), The Bramble Bush (1960) and Strangers When We Meet (1960).
In the 1960s, Barbara began to work in television, first appearing as a series regular in Saints and Sinners, playing a Washington newspaper correspondent. She garnered attention for her season-long (1968-69) stint as Marcia Russell on ABC’s primetime soap Peyton Place. She then tried her hand at comedy, portraying a temperamental soap opera star on The New Dick Van Dyke Show (1973-74). In the early 80s, she portrayed the matriarch Eudora Weldon on NBC’s Flamingo Road (1981-82) and had a brief turn on ABC’s daytime staple All My Children.
Barbara also stayed active on stage, touring the country in plays like Forty Carats, Same Time, Next Year and Steel Magnolias. For her lead role in Forty Carats, she was awarded with the Sarah Siddons Award for Dramatic Achievement in 1970. She made her Broadway debut in 1984 with the solo theatrical piece A Woman of Independent Means, based on the novel by Elizabeth Forsythe Hailey. More recently, Barbara returned to the small screen in the recurring role of Stephen Collins’ mother in 7th Heaven.