Foxy Lady, The Authorized Biography of Lynn Bari
Lynn Bari played opposite many illustrious film stars during her long screen career—and Foxy Lady features Lynn’s observations about almost all of these luminaries. The Barbara Stanwyck vehicle, Always Goodbye (1938), was the first ‘A’ film in which Bari was prominently cast. Lynn recounted to me her initial apprehension in working with the great Stanwyck; eighteen and insecure, Lynn felt totally out of Barbara’s league. Bari’s fears were soon allayed when trouble came her way on the set and Stanwyck stood up for her. Lynn never forgot Barbara’s supportiveness, considering her one of the most kind and fair-minded people in Hollywood.
Acting honors in Henry Hathaway’s China Girl (1943) went to Lynn, portraying a sultry spy named “Captain” Fifi. Bari’s performance in the WWII actioner was a charged one, lending an interesting contrast to the passive turn delivered by the China Girl herself, Gene Tierney.
“Gene was a nice kid,” Lynn related to me. “I liked her very much. But she was sort of ‘out-of-it’ all the time.”
Edward G. Robinson
Lynn very much like making Tampico (1944). She had much to say about the film an intriguing wartine mystery—in which she played a woman of mystery. Edward G. Robinson was her leading man here. "I was kind of in awe of Eddie," Bari told me. "So he pretented to be frightened of me! He killed himself trying to break me down and make me feel at ease."
"George was fine. I had known him for a long time. He was very, very professional. He did the scenes, never ruffled or angry. He didn’t exert himself other than in the acting thing, though; he had a girl comb his hair, a valet brushed his suits and put on his coat, and somebody drove his car home for him."
The Bridge of San Luis Rey
When Lynn was chosen to headline as the fiery, Peruvian half-breed in the much-touted The Bridge of San Luis Rey (1944), Hollywood was abuzz with the expectation that the movie would catapult her to stardom’s top realm. Bari knew otherwise, however. Production on The Bridge had barely begun when she began to realize she should be bracing herself for the fallout from the biggest misfire of her career; it had taken her no time to perceive that the picture was going madly awry. Foxy Lady has Lynn offering several reasons behind this filmic fiasco—one of them being herself.
"I was not right for it. In fact, I was just awful. I told them from the beginning that I was miscast. I felt that I didn’t look it and I was certainly not a wild street singer and dancer by any stretch of the imagination. I think she should have been played by a hot-blood South American-type, like Lupe Velez, or some really crazy lady.”
Lynn is perhaps best-remembered for twice portraying Glenn Miller’s glamorous blues singer on film, in Sun Valley Serenade (1941) and Orchestra Wives (1942). The pair marked the only features in which the peerless Miller appeared—and they afforded a lip-syncing Bari the opportunity to introduce three matchless songs: “I Know Why (And So Do You),” “Serenade in Blue” and “At Last."
Foxy Lady finds Lynn going into great detail about her participation in the Miller movies. An excerpt: “They say that Sun Valley and Orchestra Wives were seen by more military men during the war than any other pictures shown. I just adored being around Glenn and the band; it was so exciting. And those ballads I did were absolutely lovely; I had a feeling they would become standards. I had wanted to do my own singing. But at that point I was just too scared. I couldn’t really cut it and go in with all those musicians and record.”
“I’ve got only one word for this girl—but I wouldn’t want to mention it!”
Lynn had much to say about Sid Luft and their marriage. In fact, she was never at loss for words when it came to Luft, a former RCAF flying officer and test pilot.
“I thought he was a bit of a hero when I met him,” Bari reminisced. “I never met anybody else after my divorce. And he was so persistent—you know; we were going to get married and all this. I had filed for divorce from Walter Kane in November 1942. But it took a year to go through. So I wasn’t legally divorced from him until November 1943. The next day, like a damn fool, I married ‘dear’ Sid. Oh God.”
Blood and Sand
Lynn Bari was cast as Tyrone Power’s sister in Blood and Sand (1941). She adored Power and very much enjoyed working with him. Nonetheless, Blood and Sand did not rank among her favorite films—to put it mildly. Lynn told me: “My role was terrible and Rouben Mamoulian, the director, was such a bastard.”