Barry Bostwick
Birth Date:
February 24, 1946
Birth Place:
San Mateo, California, USA
Famous for:
His role in miniseries War and Remembrance (1988)
Show more

War and Remembrance


Golden Globe Award winning actor Barry Bostwick began his career in theater n college and picked up his first Tony nomination in 1972 with his role of Danny Zuko in the musical “Grease.” By the mid 1970s, he appeared onscreen thanks to his portrayal of straight laced Brad Majors in the midnight movie phenomenon “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975). Before deciding to focus his energy onscreen, the tall actor netted his second Tony nomination for “They Knew What They Wanted” (1976). He eventually won the prestigious award for his performance of Jamie Lockhart in “The Robber Bridegroom” (1977). Bostwick continued to gain recognition during the 1980s for his notable performances in a string of TV miniseries, including the Judith Krantz adaptations “Scruples” (1980), “I’ll Take Manhattan” (1987) and “Till We Meet Again” (1989) as well as the top rated “George Washington” (1984) and its sequel “George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation” (1986). His career in TV miniseries reached its peak when he took home his Golden Globe award for his supporting turn in “War and Remembrance” (1988). The energetic actor enjoyed a career renaissance as the inept New York City mayor, Randall M. Winston Jr., in the ABC sitcom “Spin City” (1996-2002), opposite Michael J. Fox and then Charlie Sheen. More recently, he is known for having recurring and guest roles in such TV series as “Scrubs” (2003, as Mr. Randolph), “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit” (2004-2007, as Oliver Gates), “What I Like About You” (2005-2006, as Mr. Tyler) and “Ugly Betty” (2008, as attorney Roger Adams) and for playing various roles in the movies “Swing” (2003), “Chestnut: Hero of Central Park” (2004), “Evening” (2007), “Nancy Drew” (2007) and “Hannah Montana: The Movie” (2009).

Off screen, Bostwick has been married twice. He and first wife Stacey Nelkin were married from 1987 to 1991. He and his second wife, Sherri Jensen, have two children together. The couple has reportedly filed for divorce. Bostwick was linked to actress Lisa Hartman from 1980 to 1984.

In 1997, Bostwick took a hiatus from acting because of prostate cancer. He underwent successful surgery and in 2004 was awarded the Gilda Radner Courage Award from the Roswell Park Cancer Institute.

Take Her, She’s Mine

Childhood and Family:

Barry Knapp Bostwick was born on February 24, 1945, in San Mateo, California, to Henry Bostwick Jr., a city planner and actor, and Betty Bostwick, a homemaker. His only sibling, Peter Bostwick (born in 1941), died in a car accident on July 20, 1973, at age 32. A pupil of San Mateo High School, Barry and his brother put on musicals and puppet shows for students. In the mid 1960s, he attended the United States International University in San Diego and studied music, but made the switch to acting after he got a part in the play “Take Her, She’s Mine” at the Valley Music Theater. He graduated with a BFA in acting in 1967 and went on to earn his MFA in acting from New York University's Tisch School of the Arts.

In 1987, Barry married actress Stacey Nelkin, but they divorced in 1991. He married actress Sherri Jensen on November 27, 1994, and the couple welcomed a baby son, Brian Lake Bostwick, on April 29, 1995. Their second child, daughter Chelsea Evelyn Bostwick, was born on October 14, 1996.

The Rocky Horror Picture Show


Barry Bostwick, who once worked as a circus performer, made his professional stage debut in “Take Her, She's Mine” (1965), alongside Walter Pidgeon, while a sophomore student at college. He headed to New York City after graduation to further his acting studies but put his education on hold for a year to perform out west with the APA-Phoenix Repertory Company. Now with a Master’s degree in his pocket, Bostwick made his Broadway debut as a star of “Cock-a-Doodle Dandy” (1969) and performed in his first off-Broadway role in “Salvation” that same year. His first feature film role arrived two years later when he was cast as Nanki in director Noel Black's comedy “Jennifer on My Mind” (1971), opposite Michael Brandon and Robert De Niro.

Bostwick's stage career gained a boost when he was nominated for a Tony for Best Actor (Musical) for his role of Danny Zuko in “Grease” (1972). He suffered a tragedy when his older brother died in 1973, but in 1974, starred in the film “Road Movie,” helmed by Joseph Strick. He then offered a notable performance as Dick Kanipsia in the TV film “Slither,” which was originally an unsold sitcom pilot for CBS. He also had a supporting role in the TV film “The Chadwick Family” (ABC, 1974).

Following a starring role in Carson Davidson's comedy “The Wrong Damn Film” (1975), Bostwick was cast with Tim Curry and Susan Sarandon in the British musical “The Rocky Horror Picture Show” (1975), an adaptation of the popular British stage production “Rocky Horror Show” by Richard O'Brien. The film gained a large following after it began its midnight run in New York in April 1976. Grossing over $139 million, the film has become one of the most popular and financially successful midnight movies of all time. Bostwick, who played Brad Majors, the clean cut fiancé of Sarandon, enjoyed immediate success with the film. Returning to stage, the actor gained additional attention with his second Tony nomination, for Best Actor (Featured Role - Play), for his portrayal of Joe in the Broadway revival of the Pulitzer Prize award winning drama “They Knew What They Wanted” (1976). Bostwick, however, did not win until he portrayed the lead role of Jamie Lockhart in the Broadway revival of the country themed musical “The Robber Bridegroom” (1977), a role he originally created at the Mark Taper Forum in Los Angeles.

Bostwick returned to feature film when he played the dual role of Johnny Danko and Dick Cummings in Stanley Donen's Golden Globe award nominated comedy film “Movie Movie” (1978), opposite George C. Scott, Red Buttons, Eli Wallach and Harry Hamlin. He did not have another big screen role until 1982 when he starred as Ace Hunter in the science fiction “Megaforce,” for director Hal Needham.

In lieu of film work, Bostwick dedicated his time to small screen projects. He played Tony in the star studded made for TV film “You Can't Take It With You” (1979), which won an Emmy for Outstanding Achievement in Lighting Direction (Electronic), costarred as Spider Elliott in the TV miniseries adaptation of Judith Krantz's novel “Scruples” (CBS, 1980), and starred as silent screen star John Gilbert in “The Silent Lovers” (NBC, 1980), a TV movie based the novel “Moviola” by Garson Kanin. He also made his series regular debut in the short lived ABC sitcom “Foul Play” (1981), based on the 1978 film of the same name, which was written and directed by Colin Higgins and starred Goldie Hawn and Chevy Chase. Bostwick returned to the stage to play the role of the Pirate King in the west cost premiere of “Pirates of Penzance” (1981).

In 1984, Bostwick portrayed the President of the United States in the CBS miniseries “George Washington,” helmed by Buzz Kulik. The show was nominated for six Emmy Awards, including Outstanding Limited Series. The same year, he portrayed Major Paul McGill on the syndicated World War II miniseries “A Woman of Substance,” based on the 1979 novel of the same name by the author Barbara Taylor Bradford. Following performances in the TV films “Deceptions” (1985), “Betrayed by Innocence” (1986) and “Pleasures” (1986), he reprised the role of George Washington for the 1986 miniseries sequel “George Washington II: The Forging of a Nation,” which centered on Washington’s early political life and the birth of democracy. He then headlined the ill-fated ABC sitcom “Dads” (1986-1987), was cast as Zachary Amberville in the CBS miniseries “I’ll Take Manhattan” (1987), starred as Larry Hogan in the ABC movie “ Addicted to His Love” (1988), portrayed Jeffrey Wyatt in NBC's “Parent Trap III” (1989) and “Parent Trap: Hawaiian Honeymoon” (1989), and played Terrence 'Mac' McGuire in Judith Krantz's “Till We Meet Again” (CBS, 1989). However, it was Bostwick's scene stealing portrayal of Carter Aster in the epic miniseries “War and Remembrance” (ABC, 1988) that brought the actor a Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV. Costars of the miniseries included Robert Mitchum, Jane Seymour, Hart Bochner, Victoria Tennan, Sharon Stone, Steven Berkoff, Robert Hardy, John Gielgud and Peter Graves.

Bostwick next starred as Commander Dick Scobee in the Emmy Award winning TV film “Challenger” (1990), opposite Karen Allen as Christa McAuliffe, played Genie in Disney Channel's movie “Aladdin” (1990), and was cast as the husband of Joanna Kerns in the thriller television movie “Captive” (1991) before having a supporting role in the independent thriller “Russian Holiday” (1992). He also revisited Broadway as a star of the 1991 musical production of “Nick and Nora,” opposite Joanna Gleason. The production was closed after nine shows.

Throughout the 1990s, Bostwick remained busy with roles the TV films “Praying Mantis” (1993), “Between Love and Hate” (1993), “Das letzte U-Boot” (1993), “Danielle Steel's Once in a Lifetime” (1994, with Lindsay Wagner), “919 Fifth Avenue” (1995), “The Secretary” (1995), “The Return of Hunter” (1995), “A Different Kind of Christmas” (1996), “One Hot Summer Night” (1998, opposite Erika Eleniak, Brian Wimmer and Tobin Bell) and “Men in White” (1998). He also appeared in the motion pictures “Weekend at Bernie's II” (1993), “Eight Hundred Leagues Down the Amazon” (1993, played a South American plantation owner), “In the Heat of Passion II: Unfaithful” (1994), Alessandro De Gaetano's science fiction film “Project: Metalbeast” (1995, as Miller), “The Secret Agent Club” (1996), and the Leslie Nielsen/Nicollette Sheridan comedy starring vehicle “Spy Hard” (1996), which spoofed James Bond movies and other action films.

Bostwick guest starred in several television series during the decade, including “The Golden Palace” (1992), “Grace Under Fire” (1995), “High Society” (1995), “Lexx” (1996) and “Beggars and Choosers” (1999). He eventually found a real network home with the ABC situation comedy “Spin City,” where he portrayed Randall Winston, the Mayor of New York City. Debuting on September 17, 1996, the show was canceled in April 2002 because of declining ratings. He starred in the series with Michael J. Fox from 1886 to 2000 and Charlie Sheen from 2000 to the show's cancellation.

After “Spin City” left the airwaves, Bostwick landed guest spots in “She Spies” (2002, as Governor Gary McNamara), “Baby Bob” (2003, as Jack Collins), “Less Than Perfect” (2003, as Max Damarius) and “Scrubs” (2003, as Mr. Randolph). He landed the recurring role of Oliver Gates in “Law & Order: Special Victims Unit,” which he played from 2004 to 2007. In 2005, he replaced Peter Scolari as Jack Tyler in an episode of the sitcom “What I Like About You,” starring Amanda Bynes. He would reprise the role in a 2006 episode called “Finally.” During 2005-2006, Bostwick also appeared in “Cold Case” “Las Vegas” “Out of Practice” and “Three Moons Over Milford.”

Meanwhile, on the film front, Bostwick provided the voice of Thunderbolt in the direct to video installment “101 Dalmatians II: Patch's London Adventure” (2003), teamed up with Constance Brenneman, Innis Casey, Tom Skerritt, Jacqueline Bisset, Jonathan Winters, Nell Carter, Dahlia Waingort, Adam Tomei and Mindy Cohn in the romantic comedy “Swing” (2003), directed by Martin Guigui, supported Makenzie Vega and Abigail Breslin in the family film “Chestnut: Hero of Central Park” (2004), which won the Crystal Heart Award at the 2004 Heartland Film Festival, and appeared in the Canadian film “Spymate” (2006, starred Emma Roberts and Chris Potter). He also played Mr. Wittenborn in Lajos Koltai's “Evening” (2007), starring Claire Danes, Toni Collette and Natasha Richardson, and Dashiel Zachary Biedermeyer in the movie adaptation of “Nancy Drew” (2007), starring Emma Roberts as the teen detective. His TV film credits included “A Capitol Fourth” (2005), “The 12th Man” (2006), “The News” (2007) and “Love Is a Four Letter Word” (2007).

2008 saw Bostwick portray President Taylor in the action TV movie “Depth Charge,” opposite Corbin Bernsen and Hallock Beals, and star as Pete Murphy, the estranged husband of Cheryl Ladd, in the dramatic film “Baggage,” which was co-written and directed by Stephen Polk. He also played lawyer Roger Adams in two episodes of the hit series “Ugly Betty” (2008). The following year, Bostwick was cast as Mr. Bradley in “Hannah Montana: The Movie,” starring Miley Cyrus, and appeared in episodes of “Ghost Whisperer” (as Don Sullivan), “Nip/Tuck” (as Roger Payne) and “'Til Death” (as George Von Stuessen). He then voiced Grandpa Clyde in several episodes of the animated series “Phineas and Ferb,” from 2008 to 2009.

Bostwick will appear in “Bedrooms,” a drama starring Julie Benz and Moon Bloodgood, “Miss Nobody,” a dark comedy starring Leslie Bibb, Adam Goldberg and Kathy Baker, and “The Selling” (2010), a comedy written by and starring Gabriel Diani. In addition, he will portray Arlen Hanley in the movie “It's a Dog Gone Tale: Destiny's Stand” (filming) and Uncle Henry in the adventure TV series “The Mountain,” slated to be released in 2010.


  • Golden Globe: Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role in a Series, Mini-Series or Motion Picture Made for TV, “War and Remembrance,” 1989

  • Tony: Best Actor (Musical), “The Robber Bridegroom,” 1977

Show Less
© Retna
© Focus Features
© Retna
© Warner Bros. Pictures
© Retna
© Focus Features
© Retna