Barbara Read (Barbara Read)

Barbara Read

Born in Port Arthur, Ontario, Canada, Barbara Read relocated to California during the mid-1930s. Read received her first movie contract while living with in Laguna Beach, California. She was watching a film production in Laguna when she was spotted and offered a screen test. She was given a six-month contract with the production company. When she failed to receive any roles because of her lack of experience, she joined the Laguna Beach Players theater where she acted in a new play each month for two years. Her first film appearance was one of the girls in the 1936 comedy film Three Smart Girls, which also starred Deanna Durbin and Nan Grey. From 1937 through 1939 Read appeared in nine films, most notably starring in The Spellbinder, opposite Lee Tracy. From 1940 through 1948 she appeared in eleven films. Her most remembered role was portraying “Margo Lane” in three films from The Shadow series, starring opposite Kane Richmond. She and Richmond teamed together in The Shadow Returns, Behind the Mask, and The Missing Lady, all in 1946. Her last role was alongside Randolph Scott and Marguerite Chapman in the 1948 western Coroner Creek. In September 1936, Read eloped to Mexico with a young artist named William Paul III, but they divorced two months later. Read married talent agent Bill Josephy in Santa Barbara on December 27, 1947. She married actor William Talman in 1953. They had two children: Barbie and William Whitney Talman III. They divorced on August 23, 1960. Read died of an apparent suicide on December 12, 1963, in Laguna Beach, California. “Notes she left behind blamed ill health for her action.”

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  • December, 29, 1917
  • Canada
  • Port Arthur, Ontario


  • December, 12, 1963
  • USA
  • Laguna Beach, California

Cause of Death

  • suicide


  • Melrose Abbey Memorial Park
  • Anaheim, California
  • USA

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