Cherchez La Femme: The Return of Adrienne Barbeau, My Most Dangerous Woman
I've known some dangerous women in my life. They combine killer looks with personalities that threaten to chew up any man who cross them. They have hard romantic histories, burdened by bad men that leave them vulnerable and hard-shelled at the same time. Relationships with them promise passion and ferocious high-decibel drama. Dangerous women can cause men to act in strange ways, perfectly captured in the French phrase cherchez la femme.
Growing up in the 1970s, I decided, in my murky adolescent mind, that the ultimate Dangerous Woman was Adrienne Barbeau, co-star of Maude and then featured in lots of b-movies. Something about her grabbed my imagination in a way no other actress of that era did. So imagine my delight to learn she's now starring in the play, "The Property Known as Judy Garland" at New York's Actors' Playhouse. I can now buy a ticket to enjoy my dangerous woman, seen at her most deadly, below.
On Maude, Barbeau played Maude's single-mom daughter, Carol Traynor. One fan site says the character dated and went with men on "weekend business trips." I can't remember any particular episode with Barbeau, but the cumulative effect was impressive. Much later, she bobbed up in my consciousness when she gave birth to twin boys in 1997, at the age of 51.
Barbeau then fell off my radar screen until I learned about the play. Now, I'm curious, in that way you wonder how the decades have treated an individual with an image formed much earlier in your life. The press photos of Barbeau in the Garland play certainly update me, although they probably depict a time-ravaged Garland more than the natural Barbeau. What do you think?
I've moved on since I first fixated on Barbeau. I'm happy to see she's busy with a biography, There Are Worse Things I Could Do, to debut on April 10, and other projects. I'll look for the book, but first I'm going to set aside some time to watch Swamp Thing, the classic showcase of Barbeau and her substantial charms.