We flipped through our files, and finally found a picture of the real Don ‘Red’ Barry (above left) posing with Donald Gordon.
That dapper gent to the right is THE Donald of THE DONALD GORDON COLLECTION, the marvelously informal stash of Hollywood photos from the early Forties that ClassicMovieChat is delighted to share with you.
Hello, everybody, your Classic Movie guys — Joe Morella and Frank Segers — here again to say that we’re absolutely certain this time that the guy we have pictured above is the real ‘Red’ Barry.
Why the frantic photo search? Well, in our Susan Hayward blog of July 15, we ran a picture of a fellow we thought was Barry, the actor who shared a scandalous, headline-making love affair with the actress in the mid-Fifties.
But, we goofed. One of our alert readers shot us an e-mail declaring that it wasn’t Barry but someone else in the photo we ran. Our alert reader was right.
And, to add mystery to mischief, we are still in the dark as to the identity of the man in the photo that we DID run.
We reran a picture of our mystery man in Monday’s blog (Aug. 22), so take a look and e-mail us immediately if you have a clue to the guy’s identity. We confess, we’re stumped.
If the name of ‘Red’ Barry doesn’t immediately ring a bell, don’t be too hard on yourself. You have lots of company.
Born in Houston in 1912 as Donald Barry de Acosta, the actor was never a notable star and certainly not a household name. Although pint-sized (slightly less than 5-feet-5), he was a college football star before turning to stage roles and then to movies.
After playing a series villains, Barry found his cinematic niche making westerns at Republic Pictures, the B studio run by one Herbert J. Yates — who had plans to capitalize on Barry’s more-than-passing resemblance to James Cagney.
What developed, among other movies, was the 1940 western serial “Adventures of Red Ryder” with Barry in the eponymous leading role (thus his nickname).
By the Fifties, Barry’s movie career sputtered big time. He was a half-way decent actor but his large ego and combative temperament often turned off directors and fellow cast members.
So, beginning in the late Fifties he embarked on a long television career lasting until his death in 1980 at the age of 68. (By the way, we figure Barry to be about 30 when he caught up with our man Donald in the photo above.)
Barry is remembered today more for his off-screen romances. He gained in his day a reputation as a Lothario of the first order even by Hollywood standards. (He once escorted Joan Crawford about town; enough said.)
One of Barry’s former mistresses put it this way. “I can’t define what Don Barry has but whatever it is, he should bottle it.”
A supporting role in MGM’s 1955 weeper “I’ll Cry Tomorrow,” starring Susan Hayward, set the stage for Barry’s fling with the actress. Headlines were made when Hayward walked in on the actor with another woman, and slugged — not him — but the other woman.
Although the affair ended, it made a lasting impression on Barry. Hayward biographer Beverly Linet writes that “before the (68-year-old) ex-loverboy blew his brains out following a fight with his estranged wife in July 1980,” he confessed to writing a poem about the actress. “Every man alive should experience one Susan Hayward in his lifetime.”