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Fay Babcock

Fay Babcock

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Also Known As: Fay C. Babcock Died:
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Willowy, with an airy frame, but capable of projecting toughness as well as tightly-wound characters, Barbara Babcock was a "working actress" for two decades before a recurring guest role on "Hill Street Blues" in the early 1980s turned her into a TV star. On "Hill Street," Babcock was tough Grace Gardner, hounding Sgt. Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) until she had him. "Tough" seems to be a word threaded through Babcock's personal life as well. The daughter of the US Army General, she was raised in Tokyo and spoke Japanese before English. On screen, Babcock seems very much the "lady." Her early career included guest spots on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (CBS) as a cousin to the rich boy nemesis of the title character. Babcock's deep, cultured voice earned both an appearance on "Star Trek" in the mid-60s as well as several voice-overs for that series.Babcock began working in TV-movies and, less often, in feature films, in the 70s. Perhaps her best known role was the team owner who slyly suggested a homosexual liaison between Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973). She also appeared in "The Black Marble" (1980), "The Lords of Discipline' (1983), Emilio Estevez's "That Was...

Willowy, with an airy frame, but capable of projecting toughness as well as tightly-wound characters, Barbara Babcock was a "working actress" for two decades before a recurring guest role on "Hill Street Blues" in the early 1980s turned her into a TV star. On "Hill Street," Babcock was tough Grace Gardner, hounding Sgt. Esterhaus (Michael Conrad) until she had him. "Tough" seems to be a word threaded through Babcock's personal life as well. The daughter of the US Army General, she was raised in Tokyo and spoke Japanese before English. On screen, Babcock seems very much the "lady." Her early career included guest spots on "The Many Loves of Dobie Gillis" (CBS) as a cousin to the rich boy nemesis of the title character. Babcock's deep, cultured voice earned both an appearance on "Star Trek" in the mid-60s as well as several voice-overs for that series.

Babcock began working in TV-movies and, less often, in feature films, in the 70s. Perhaps her best known role was the team owner who slyly suggested a homosexual liaison between Michael Moriarty and Robert De Niro in "Bang the Drum Slowly" (1973). She also appeared in "The Black Marble" (1980), "The Lords of Discipline' (1983), Emilio Estevez's "That Was Then ... This Is Now" (1985) and Ron Howard's "Far and Away" as Nicole Kidman's mother.

With her regular role as Liz Craig on "Dallas" (CBS, 1978-82), Babcock became steadily employed. But it was as Grace Gardner--originally a one-shot guest appearance--on "Hill Street Blues" that Babcock earned a berth on top casting lists in Hollywood. Armed with an Emmy, she attempted a find a more permanent series slot, but both "The Four Seasons" (CBS, 1984) and "Mr. Sunshine" (ABC, 1986) were short-lived. A later effort as Jerry Orbach's charmingly unpleasant nemesis on "The Law and Harry McGraw" (CBS, 1987-88) lasted only half a season. Babcock portrayed sympathetic mothers in TV TV-movies such as "Salem's Lot" (CBS, 1979) and "Quarterback Princess" (CBS, 1983) and she made occasional guest appearances on series such as "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "The Golden Girls." With her air of refinement tempered by a steel spine, Babcock was well cast as the pioneer newswoman opposite Jane Seymour's "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman" (CBS, 1993-98).

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