Barry was born in Chicago; his family moved to Los Angeles when he was a child. After graduating from U.C.L.A. (where George Takei was a classmate), he began his career in New York City, performing in workshops and on the cabaret circuit while living with, and nurturing the singing career of, his girlfriend – a young actress named Barbara Streisand who hadn’t yet dropped the “a” from her first name.
After a couple years, Barry decided to explore professional opportunities “across the Pond,” and shortly after relocating to London, he was selected by legendary theatre producer Hal Prince to create the role of the Emcee in the original West End cast of “Cabaret.” Barry’s striking performance opposite Dame Judi Dench – preserved on the cast album – earned him the “Evening Standard Award for Best Actor.”
It was while he was living and working in London that Barry was invited by Sir Andrew Lloyd Webber to sing the part of Pontius Pilate on the famous double disk LP of Webber & Rice’s ground-breaking “Jesus Christ Superstar.” On his return to the States a few years later, Barry co-starred as Pilate in the original Broadway production of the hit show, and again in Norman Jewison’s acclaimed feature film version.
Barry created the role of Bertold Brecht in the world premiere of “Silent Partners” by Charles Marowitz at the Scena Theatre in Washington, DC; and was seen most recently as The Old Actor in “The Fantasticks” for Jason Alexander’s Reprise theatre at the Freud Playhouse in Los Angeles. Other notable stage appearances include the ventriloquist’s Dummy in “Ghetto” (Mark Taper, Los Angeles); the testy Headwaiter in “She Loves Me” (Ahmanson, Los Angeles); Mr. Wilson in “Annie Get Your Gun” (ACT, San Francisco); and the Major-General in “The Pirates of Penzance” (Santa Barbara CLO, Santa Barbara); as well as numerous tours over the years of “JCS.”
Among his feature films are TRADING PLACES; Stanley Kubrick’s cult classic, THE SHINING (Bill Watson); SUPERMAN III; Jim Henson’s THE DARK CRYSTAL (voice of The Chamberlain), FIDDLER ON THE ROOF (Mendel); and the box office smash, TITANIC (as the ship is sinking, Barry is seen as the Valley of Death praying man whom Leonardo De Caprio urges “Could you move a little faster through that Valley, fella?”) Television credits include “Wonder Woman,” “Batman,” “L.A. Law,” “Newhart,” “Hill Street Blues,” “Tales From the Darkside,” “Murphy Brown” and “Murder, She Wrote.”
In 1997, Barry published his moving personal memoir, My Life with Barbara: A Love Story, sharing for the first time in his own words the fascinating background behind the nightclub act he created and directed that launched Streisand’s early stardom.
Barry’s extraordinary versatility as a voice-over artist has been featured on many billion unit-selling video games, including World of Warcraft; Kingdoms of Amalur: Reckoning; KDota 2; Darksiders 2; Fallout: New Vegas; Dragon Age: Origins; The Rise of the Argonauts; and Avatar: The Last Airbender; among others.
Barry lives in the Hollywood Hills of Los Angeles.