The Catacombs Catacombs Credits Guide

BARBARA BAIN Doctor Helena Russell

picture by martin willey- click for larger image

Born Mildred ("Millie") Fogel, on Friday 13th September, 1929, in a car en route to the maternity hospital in Chicago. She was 1.7 m (5'7") tall, blonde, with green eyes.

Bain gained a B.S. at the University Of Illinois in 1950, majoring in Sociology and minoring in Philosophy. She moved from Chicago to New York to study dance under Martha Graham, but found the art insular and ill paid. She took a part time job modelling with the Frances Gill Agency. She found considerable success, though she disliked it. A friend suggested she go to Curt Conway's drama classes, meeting Martin Landau in one class after a modelling assignment in 1955. After their marriage in 1957 her first acting role was a small part in the play Middle Of The Night when it went on tour, after which they settled in Beverly Hills. Accompanying her husband to film locations and raising their two daughters, Susan Meredith (born 1960) and Juliet Rose (born 1965), left her little time to pursue her own acting career, but she has done some stage and television work, some to critical acclaim. Her television debut was as a guest in Harbormaster (renamed Adventures at Scott Island) in 1958. She appeared in episodes of Richard Diamond Private Detective (1959), Perry Mason (1960 and 1964), Wagon Train (1963), The Dick Van Dyke Show (1963), Ben Casey (1964) and Get Smart (1965).

From 1965 to 1968 Bain played Cinnamon Carter in Mission: Impossible alongside Landau, winning the Emmy best actress award three years in succession. She also appeared with Landau in the Steven Spielberg directed pilot Savage (1973). She appeared in the 1973 TV movie A Summer Without Boys, before moving to London for Space 1999.

Maida Avenue from Regent's Canal

While filming the first series of Space: 1999, the Landaus lived at 31 Maida Avenue, Little Venice, by Regent's Canal. In this picture (from the canal) it is the white house on the right. For the second series they lived at 49 Chester Square, in a fashionable Georgian square in Belgravia. Tony Curtis had previously rented this house while filming The Persuaders; neighbours included Dirk Bogarde at 44. Previously Mick Jagger lived on the street; later Margaret Thatcher would live there.

Landau and Bain rented the houses with a housekeeper-cook. Their two children, Susie (aged 14 in 1974) and Julie (9) attended the American school in London (ASL). For Christmas 1973 Landau and Bain bought their daughters a lhasa apso dog from Harrods that they named Pippin. They were chauffeured to Pinewood Studios by a Rolls Royce Silver Cloud III, driven by their personal driver, Ray Atkins.

Barbara with her London dog, Pippin Barbara with her London dog, Pippin Ring Around The Moon Behind The Scenes

Subsequently Bain has guested in The Harlem Globetrotters On Gilligan's Island (1981), and Moonlighting (1985). She has earned critical acclaim and awards for her theatre work, notably Long Day's Journey Into Night (1984) and Wings (1985). Bain appeared in the films Trust Me (1989), Skinheads (1989) and Spirit Of 76 (1990, produced by her daughter, Susan Landau). Other work includes a recurring role in My So Called Life tv series (1994), and guest roles in The Visitor (1997), Diagnosis Murder (1997), Walker Texas Ranger (1997), Millenium (1999), CSI (2006). Films include: Gideon (1999), Panic (2000) and an important supporting role in American Gun (2002) with James Coburn. She appeared as the villain in the lesbian TV movie Trapped! (2006) and an episode of CSI: Crime Scene Investigation (2006).

In 2002 and 2003 she directed plays for the Actors Studio in Los Angeles.

In 1993, Barbara founded the BookPALS program (Performing Artists for Literacy in Schools), in which actors read stories to children in low income elementary (primary) schools.

Roy Finch, Barbara, Aria Finch, Susan Landau Finch

At the Hollywood Walk of Fame ceremony, 28 April 2016: son in law Roy Finch, Barbara Bain, granddaughter Aria Finch, and daughter Susan Landau Finch. More photos

Barbara Bain on the series (2019): It was ground breaking at the time, obviously. I've never been much of a science fiction person. I'm very avid reader, but it wasn't my cup of tea particularly. But then I started thinking about it, it got very exciting, the whole idea of being on the moon. The idea, the premise was very exciting. And we were benign, we had no weapons. Many elements of were very appealing. I thought well, here's this very, very driven woman. Not alien to me, that kind of energy, that kind of spirit in her. And I thought, well, okay, maybe her father had cured cancer on Earth, so now she had to really do something spectacular.

Fred Freiberger on Bain: When I had spoken on the phone to Barbara, whom I had never met, she was charming and delightful. I said, "Barbara, why don't you do that in the series?" Her training at the Actor's Studio in New York told her: Be economical, which was all wrong for this type of show. I tried to give her more to do. I tried to give her some sense of humour because she's a natural in social situations. She's sharp. She knows story and character very well.

Some directors of Space: 1999 have indicated that Bain was a difficult actress with very fixed views. Val Guest described her as a real pain. She was always late, and took everything much too seriously. Ray Austin stated she was very Hollywood and said Barbara did a journeyman's job all the time. A lot of the other artists never liked playing scenes with Barbara at all; they'd rather play with anyone else than Barbara. They always said to me, 'I'm not getting anything back from her at all.'

However, many of the cast and crew have commented that she was very friendly and supportive. According to Bob Kellett, Bain suggested the story for the episode The Last Enemy.

Barbara Bain in 2019

She was a guest at the 1986, 1992, 1999 and 2012 conventions in the U.S.A. She joined internet conventions in 2021 and 2022.

She appeared in The Space: 1999 Documentary (1996) and Mission to Moonbase Alpha: An Interview with Actress Barbara Bain (2019), a 10 minute documentary on the Shout! Factory Blu-ray.

Bain autographed cards for Unstoppable cards (2016) and wrote a foreword for the book The Final Revolution by William Latham (Powys, 2015).

Copyright Martin Willey