“Barbara was a life force. I cannot imagine a world without her in it.”
— Georgia Clinton
“Barbara’s indomitable spirit was an inspiration to us all. Both on stage and off, she was a force to be reckoned with.”
— Carolyn Wickwire
support and a smile were always there from our friend ... and a loving word.
no matter her life, she always lifted us up as only she could
“She is forever in my heart and soul and forever part of my life.”
— Linda Comess
Dallas — Barbara Bierbrier passed away early on Nov. 14, 2017 after a multi-year struggle with lymphoma. Always passionate and determined in everything she did, she had successfully fought the disease back many times over the years, but in the end her embattled body grew tired and simply could not keep up with her tremendous spirit and huge heart.
Barbara has been a part of the DFW theater community since moving here from Canada in the early 1970s. She was born in Brooklyn, N.Y., and grew up in Detroit, and her family moved to Ontario, where she worked on television.
She has worked in many theaters in the DFW area, including Circle Theatre, Contemporary Theatre of Dallas, WingSpan Theatre Company, Theatre Arlington, Teatro Dallas, Pegasus Theatre, and Theatre Three. She created and performed pieces about strong women, such as Sophie Tucker, Tallulah Bankhead, and Sarah Bernhardt, for various women’s clubs, and she worked extensively in the commercial film industry.
After a hiatus due to her illness, she and I presented ourselves as a “package deal” to Andy Baldwin, who was directing The Tale of the Allergist’s Wife at Theatre Arlington. Thanks to Andy, we were both cast as mother and daughter. Her New York Jewish mom was quintessential Barbara: smart, sassy, strong willed and with a fierce love for her family. She won the theatre’s “Best Supporting Actress” that year. We continued our mother/daughter act with Moon Over Buffalo at Pocket Sandwich Theatre in the summer of 2016. This would be her last full-length, staged performance. Slowing down, but still determined, she especially loved a scene where she had to wear a wig that was almost as big as she was.
She was the founder of the Encores. According to Connie Coit, she organized the Encores as a monthly luncheon to form friendships with women who were so often auditioning for the same roles—theater, film and commercials—over and over again. Her concept was to create a place where usually competing actresses could come together and bond through mutual respect, interests and experiences. The quotes above are from just a few of its members.
Perhaps her hardest and most memorable experience was performing in the staged reading of Martin Sherman’s one-woman show Rose for Wingspan Theatre Company. It was directed by her most treasured and dearest friend, René Moreno, who passed away before the show would open. Once again, she found that inner force of will and overcame her own pain and loss to give an outstanding performance in his memory. It would be her last appearance on stage.
In one of her very last conversations, she spoke of her mind and heart outlasting her embattled body. She yearned to see her beloved René again. She feared leaving behind her friends and family and most importantly, her beloved husband, Paul. When asked about a small photo of a beautiful, vivacious young woman taped onto the bathroom mirror, Barbara quipped, “It’s me! I have that there so I can look at it every day…. Who wants to see this old face?”
I do, Barbara, we all do.
» The funeral for Barbara Bierbrier is 11 a.m. Friday, Nov. 17 at Temple Emanu-El, 8500 Hillcrest Road, Dallas.
» In lieu of flowers, the family asks that donations in Barbara's memory be made to the Vogel Alcove or to the charity of your choice.
» You can read her official obituary here.