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Barbara Nichols

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Birth Name: Barbara Marie Nickerauer
Born: December 30, 1929 in Queens, New York, USA
Died: October 5, 1976 in Hollywood, California, USA
Cause of Death: Liver ailment

Height: 5' 8"
Measurements: 34-25-35 (in 1948)

Spouse #1: ?


Biography: Barbara Nichols was a wonderful actress who played many characters in many films and TV shows.  She was never really a leading lady, but she stole the spotlight with nearly every one of her roles.  Barbara was instantly recognizable due to her great physical endowments and distinctive high, squeaky, scratchy voice.  She mostly played bimbo blondes and other kinds of floozies.  Comedy was her primary genre, but she could play more serious roles, and she gave all of her characters great pathos.  Barbara's bimbos always seemed more real and human, and not like the fakey dummy women that were so prevalent in movies and television of the era.

    Nichols got her start as a model and burlesque dancer in the late 1940s-early 1950s before film and TV work started to come her way.  1957 was a VERY good year for Barbara, bringing her prominent roles and audience attention in such films as "Pal Joey", "Sweet Smell of Success", and "The Pajama Game".  Film work tapered off at the very end of the decade however, and Nichols became more of a facet of television.  She had very popular recurring roles in the TV series' "The Bob Cummings Show" (three episodes from 1956-1958), "The Jack Benny Program" (four episodes from 1958-1960), and the now-classic episodes of "The Beverly Hillbillies" (two episodes in 1963).  Barbara had only one regular series role in the short-lived sitcom, "Love That Jill" (1958).  But the work she got as a character actress kept her busier for more years than most leading ladies whose careers drop off after only a few years.

    If being typecast bothered Barbara Nichols, she certainly didn't show it publicly.  Nor did being typecast slow her down any.  She worked a LOT, unlike most typecast actresses, because she had a true acting talent.  What DID slow her down was a life-threatening liver ailment that began in the mid-1970s and ultimately took her from us in 1976.  Her health deterioted rapidly and she died at the too-young-age of 46.  Nichols enjoyed a long and pretty successful career, but she seems like a shooting star.  It would have been great to see Barbara Nichols in films and television for many more years.

    I don't believe Barbara ever married or had children, but she did have a steady stream of boyfriends.


Filmography: NOT COMPLETE. This is meant to list her more significant roles.  If there is anything that should be here, please CONTACT ME.

"Studio One", episode Confessions of a Nervous Man (November 30, 1953)
...as First Pretty Girl [allegedly the first filmed work of Barbara Nichols]

"It's a Great Life", episode Glamour Doll (March 25, 1956)
episode The Return of Caroline (April 15, 1956)
...as Caroline Cabot

"Sweet Smell of Success" (1957)...as Rita

"The Pajama Game" (1957)...as Poopsie

"Pal Joey" (1957)...as Gladys

"Love That Jill" (1958)...as Ginger [series regular]

"The Bob Cummings Show", episode The Con Man (April 5, 1956)
"The Bob Cummings Show", episode Bob and Schultzy Reunite (September 23, 1958)
"The Bob Cummings Show", episode Bob and the Dumb Blonde (September 30, 1958)
...as Marian Billington

"Westinghouse Desilu Playhouse", episode The Untouchables Part 1 (April 20, 1959)
episode The Untouchables Part 2 (April 27, 1959)
...as Brandy LaFrance

"The Untouchables", episode The Empty Chair (October 15, 1959)
...as Brandy LaFrance/Barbara Ritchie

"The Red Skelton Show", episode Bolivar Gets Amnesia (1958)
episode Bolivar the Quiz Champ (1958)
episode Bolivar the Songwriter (1959)
episode Bolivar & the Roaring Twenties (1960)
...always as Bolivar's girlfriend, but named Gertie in her first two appearances, then Myrtle, and finally just as Speakeasy Singer

"The Jack Benny Program", episode Christmas Gift Exchange (December 28, 1958)
episode The Jimmy Stewart Show (November 15, 1959)
episode Easter Show (April 17, 1960)
episode Jack Goes to a Concert (December 11, 1960)
...as Mildred Meyerhouser

"The Twilight Zone", episode Twenty Two (February 10, 1961)
...as Liz Powell

"The Beverly Hillbillies", episode Jethro's First Love (October 30, 1963)
episode Chickadee Returns (November 6, 1963)

"The Disorderly Orderly" (1964)...as Miss Marlowe, the Actress Patient

"The Human Duplicators" (1965)...as Gale Wilson

"Batman", episode Shoot a Crooked Arrow (September 7, 1966)
episode Walk the Straight and Narrow (September 8, 1966)
...as Maid Marilyn

"The Swinger" (1966)...as Blossom LaTour

"Green Acres", episode Never Take Your Wife to a Convention (February 8, 1967)
...as Wanda

"Adam-12", episode Truant (November 3, 1971)
episode The Vendetta (November 22, 1972)
episode West Valley Decision (October 3, 1973)
...as Ginger Stephens, Janice Walker, and Elizabeth Mitchell (respectively)

"Won Ton Ton: The Dog Who Saved Hollywood" (1976)...as Nick's Girl [Barbara's last filmed work]