Barbara Rush, Award-Winning TV and Film Actress, Dies at 97

Barbara Rush, the supremely poised actress who rose to fame with supporting roles in 1950s films like “Magnificent Obsession” and “The Young Lions,” died on Sunday at her home in Westlake Village, Calif., in Los Angeles County. She was 97.

The death, in a senior care facility, was confirmed by her daughter, Claudia Cowan.

If Ms. Rush’s portrayals had one thing in common, it was a gentle, ladylike quality, which she put to use in films of many genres. She was Jane Wyman’s concerned stepdaughter in the 1954 romantic drama “Magnificent Obsession” and Dean Martin’s loyal wartime girlfriend in “The Young Lions” (1958), set during World War II. In 1950s science fiction pictures like “It Came From Outer Space” and “When Worlds Collide,” she was the small-town heroine, the scientist’s daughter, the Earthling most likely to succeed.

Ms. Rush with Frank Sinatra in the 1963 film “Come Blow Your Horn,” about a swinging Manhattan bachelor’s life.Credit…Paramount Pictures, via Silver Screen Collection/Getty Images

In both “The Young Philadelphians” (1959), with Paul Newman, and “The World in My Corner,” a 1956 boxing film with Audie Murphy, Ms. Rush was the prized rich girl. In “Bigger Than Life” (also 1956), with James Mason, she played a vapid but supportive wife. And in “Come Blow Your Horn” (1963), with Frank Sinatra, she played the only “nice girl” in a swinging Manhattan bachelor’s life.

But she did transcend type occasionally, as an Indian agent’s bigoted wife, for instance, in the western “Hombre” (1967), with Paul Newman. She also played Kit Sargent, the Hollywood screenwriter attracted to and repelled by the ruthless title character in the classic 1959 television production of “What Makes Sammy Run?”

Ms. Rush in 1966. Her stage work became a second career. Credit…John Downing/Express, via Hulton Archive, via Getty Images
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