40 Facts About Barbara Cook


Barbara Cook was an American actress and singer who first came to prominence in the 1950s as the lead in the original Broadway musicals Plain and Fancy, Candide and The Music Man among others, winning a Tony Award for the last.


Barbara Cook continued performing mostly in theatre until the mid-1970s, when she began a second career as a cabaret and concert singer.


Barbara Cook was particularly admired for her vocal agility, wide range, warm sound, and emotive interpretations.


At the time of her death, Barbara Cook was widely recognized as one of the "premier interpreters" of musical theatre songs and standards, in particular the songs of composer Stephen Sondheim.


Barbara Cook was named an honoree at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors.


Barbara Cook was born in Atlanta, the daughter of Nell and Charles Bunyan Barbara Cook.


Barbara Cook's father was a traveling hat salesman and her mother was an operator for Southern Bell.


Barbara Cook's parents divorced when she was a child and, after her only sister died of whooping cough, Barbara lived alone with her mother.


In 1947 Barbara Cook was engaged as a featured performer for Atlanta's Southeastern Fair at the Lakewood Fairgrounds.


Barbara Cook began to sing at other clubs and resorts, eventually procuring an engagement at the Blue Angel club in Manhattan in 1950.


Barbara Cook made her Broadway debut as Sandy in the short-lived 1951 musical Flahooley.


Also in 1952, Barbara Cook made her first television appearance on the show Armstrong Circle Theatre which presented her in an original play entitled Mr Bemiss Takes a Trip.


In 1954, Barbara Cook appeared in the short-lived soap opera Golden Windows and starred as Jane Piper in a television version of Victor Herbert's operetta Babes in Toyland.


Barbara Cook has appeared regularly on television in the late 1950s, starring in a 1956 Producers' Showcase production of Bloomer Girl, a 1957 live broadcast of The Yeomen of the Guard, and a 1958 musical adaptation of Hansel and Gretel.


Barbara Cook made appearances on Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Ed Sullivan Show, The Dinah Shore Chevy Show, and The Play of the Week.


Barbara Cook starred in an acclaimed 1960 City Center revival of Rodgers and Hammerstein's The King and I and in the short-lived 1961 musical The Gay Life.


Barbara Cook starred in national tours of The Unsinkable Molly Brown in 1964 and Funny Girl in 1967.


In 1972, Barbara Cook returned to the dramatic stage in the Repertory Theater of Lincoln Center's production of Maxim Gorky's Enemies.


In 1986, Barbara Cook was nominated for an Olivier Award "The Observer Award for Outstanding Achievement" for her one-woman show, accompanied by Harper, at London's Donmar Warehouse and the Albery Theatre.


Barbara Cook won the Drama Desk Award "Outstanding One Person Show" in 1987 for her Broadway show A Concert for the Theatre, again with Harper.


Barbara Cook is the only popular singer active today who should be taken seriously by lovers of classical music.


In November 1997, Barbara Cook celebrated her 70th birthday by giving a concert at Albert Hall in London with the Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, joined by performers including Elaine Stritch and Maria Friedman.


Critically acclaimed from the start, Barbara Cook then took the concert to the West End Lyric Theatre in 2001.


Barbara Cook garnered two Olivier Award nominations for Best Entertainment and Best Actress in a Musical for the concert.


Barbara Cook went on to perform Sings Mostly Sondheim at Lincoln Center for a sold-out fourteen-week run from December 2001 to January 2002, and again in June 2002 to August 2002.


Barbara Cook was nominated for a Tony Award for Best Theatrical Event.


Barbara Cook took the show on a National tour throughout major cities in the United States.


In June and August 2002 Barbara Cook performed Sings Mostly Sondheim at the Terrace Theater, Kennedy Center as part of the Sondheim Celebration.


Barbara Cook received the New York Drama Critics Circle Award and a nomination for the Drama Desk Award, Outstanding Solo Performance.


Barbara Cook's voice is remarkably unchanged from 1958, when she won the Tony Award for playing Marian the Librarian in The Music Man.


Barbara Cook presented a solo concert of Broadway show tunes and classic jazz standards, and was supported on a few numbers by guest singers Audra McDonald and Josh Groban and Elaine Stritch.


On June 25,2006, Barbara Cook was the special guest star of the Award Winning Gay Men's Chorus of Washington, DC, celebrating GMCW's Silver Anniversary in a performance at the Kennedy Center in Washington DC.


In June 2008, Barbara Cook appeared in Strictly Gershwin at the Royal Albert Hall in London, England, with the full company of English National Ballet.


Barbara Cook performed in a cabaret show at Feinsteins at the Regency which opened in April 2009.


Barbara Cook returned to Broadway in 2010 in the Roundabout Theatre's Stephen Sondheim revue Sondheim on Sondheim, created and directed by long-time Sondheim collaborator James Lapine, at Studio 54.


Barbara Cook starred opposite Vanessa L Williams, Norm Lewis and Tom Wopat.


Barbara Cook was nominated for a Tony Award for her performance in the category of Best Performance by a Featured Actress in a Musical.


Barbara Cook was named an honoree at the 2011 Kennedy Center Honors, held on December 4,2011.


Barbara Cook married acting teacher David LeGrant on March 9,1952, after meeting at a resort on the Borscht Belt.


Barbara Cook died from respiratory failure at her home in Manhattan on August 8,2017, at age 89.