Gene Barry (Eugene Klass)

Gene Barry

Gene Barry

Born Eugene Klass to parents of Russian-Jewish ancestry, he acted in drama productions and studied music while attending New Utrecht High School. He made his Broadway debut in the 1942 musical “The New Moon”, and appeared in several more stage productions throughout the decade which include “Rosalinda” (1942 to 1944), “The Merry Widow’ (1943 to 1944) and “Catherine Was Great” (1944 to 1945). During the 1950s he began to appear regularly in motion pictures and television, scoring a memorable performance in the role of ‘Dr. Clayton Forrester’ in the original film adaptation of H.G. Wells’ “The War of the Worlds” (1953). It would be on the small screen which Barry garnered the greatest success, first as a cast member in the series “Our Miss Brooks” (1955 to 1956), later playing the title role in “Bat Masterson” (1958 to 1961), and as crime solver ‘Captain Amos Burke’ in “Burke’s Law” (1963 to 1966). Barry had the distinction of playing the first foe of Peter Falk’s character “Columbo” in the 1968 television-movie “Prescription: Murder”, which launched the series. Other starring roles were included in the programs “The Name of the Game” (1968 to 1971) and “The Adventurer” (1972 to 1973). After a 20-year absence from the Broadway stage, he returned with critically acclaimed performances in the musical “La Cage aux Folles” (1983 to 1987), for which he received a Tony Award nomination in 1984. In 1994, he repeated his role of ‘Amos Burke’ in the updated television series of “Burke’s Law” (1994 to 1995).

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  • June, 14, 1919
  • New York City, New York


  • December, 09, 2009
  • Los Angeles, California

Cause of Death

  • died at age 90 of unknown causes


  • Hillside Memorial Park
  • Culver City, California

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