Equally at home in a Shakespearean doublet or a cowboy hat, native Texan Barry Corbin has become the kind of actor who makes an impression on audiences no matter how large or small the role. While he’s a dynamic lead, Corbin has become favored pinch hitter to whom directors turn when they need a performer who can set the stageread the rest
Equally at home in a Shakespearean doublet or a cowboy hat, native Texan Barry Corbin has become the kind of actor who makes an impression on audiences no matter how large or small the role. While he’s a dynamic lead, Corbin has become favored pinch hitter to whom directors turn when they need a performer who can set the stage with just one or two scenes.
Born in Lamesa, Corbin began acting while a student at Texas Tech. Following a stint in the Marines, he was taking the stage on Broadway and around the country through- out the ’60s in plays as varied as ‘Becket’, ‘The Odd Couple’, and ‘The Merry Wives of Windsor’. He moved to Los Angeles in the late 1970s to write plays for National Public Radio, but his movie career took off following his memorable portrayal of Uncle Bob in ‘Urban Cowboy’.
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Corbin has played everything from con men to cowpokes and military men to millionaires. The ’80s saw him stealing scenes in films like ‘War Games’ (as a general who doesn’t believe in trusting computers to manage nuclear warfare) and ‘Nothing in Common’ (as a no-nonsense airline tycoon who loves horses more than airplanes), and of course in his unforgettable role as the bumbling deputy Roscoe Brown in the acclaimed miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s ‘Lonesome Dove’. (And yes, ‘Dallas’ fans, that was Corbin playing Sheriff Washburn, the lawman who tangled with the Ewing clan many times over the run of the series.)
1990 saw the premiere of ‘Northern Exposure’, which gave Corbin a plum role for five seasons as former astronaut Maurice J. Minified, the real- estate tycoon and entrepreneur who pretty much owns the entire town of Cicely, Alaska, but whose wealth can’t mend the heartbreak of losing his fiancée to his onetime best friend. The role brought Corbin international recognition as well as two well- deserved Emmy nominations. He then appeared as Coach Whitey Durham for five more seasons in the teen choice favorite ‘One Tree Hill’, and as Kyra Sedgwick’s dad for 3 seasons on ‘The Closer’.
Maurice’s irascible nature was clearly something both character and actor shared- Corbin wrote an open letter to CBS accusing them of harming ‘Northern Exposure’ when they moved the show from Monday to Wednesday, and when Universal refused to pay to transport the show’s cast and crew to the Emmys, Corbin and his daughter rode up to the ceremony on horseback. But as a real-life cowboy – who got the acting bug as a child, when he decided he wanted to be Gabby Hayes – its Corbin’s roles as a good ol’ boy, generally one who’s smarter than observers give him credit for, that stand out the most. In recent films like ‘No Country for Old Men’, ‘In the Valley of Elah’, and ‘That Evening Sun’, Corbin has dazzled audiences and critics alike with some of his richest work – all of which happened after his 65th birthday.
And with a full plate of upcoming projects, including his one man theatre show ‘Charlie Goodnights Last Night’, a voice in Pixar’s soon to be released ‘Planes’, the voice of the Wolf, A role in Tommy Lee Jones new movie ‘The Homesman’ plus being a regular cast member on the new TV series ‘Anger Management’ Barry shows no sign of slowing down soon!read less