Saturday, September 26, 2020

"Jesus Christ Superstar" Actor Barry Dennen 2017 Hollywood Forever Cemetery

Barry Dennen (February 22, 1938 – September 26, 2017) was an American actor, singer, voice actor, and writer. He played Pontius Pilate on the original recording and later in the film of Jesus Christ Superstar.[1]

Life and career

Dennen was born in Chicago, Illinois, in 1938. In New York City from 1960 to 1963, he had a relationship with Barbra Streisand. They lived together for a year, during which time he helped her develop the nightclub act that began her successful career as a singer and actress.[2]

He moved to London for 15 years and in 1968 landed the starring role of the master of ceremonies in the London version of Cabaret. In 1970, he played Pontius Pilate on the album of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he played the same role in the Broadway production (1971). In the same year, he played Mendel in Norman Jewison's film of Fiddler on the Roof. According to Dennen's website, he suggested to Jewison that he direct a film version of Jesus Christ Superstar. Jewison did so, and Dennen played Pilate again (1973).

Dennen also played a variety of small parts on American television shows including: Batman, Galtar and the Golden Lance, Tales from the Darkside, and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and films, such as Madhouse (1974), Brannigan (1975), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Shining (1980), Ragtime (1981), Trading Places (1983), Superman III (1983), Twin Sitters (1994), and Titanic (1997). He also played auto dealer Irwin Lapsey in Shock Treatment (1981), the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. In 1982, Dennen played the role of Buddy in the TV adaptation of Beau Geste.

Dennen also ventured into voice acting. He portrayed the Chamberlain SkekSil in The Dark Crystal (1982) as well as Tulku in The Shadow (1994). He also did voice work on cartoons such as DuckTales, Batman: The Animated Series, The Pirates of Dark Water, Animaniacs, Avatar: The Last Airbender, and Star Wars: The Clone Wars. He also did voices for many video games, including Fatman in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Master Li in Jade Empire, Police Chief Bogen in Grim Fandango, Mimir in the video game Too Human, Dean Domino in Fallout: New Vegas expansion "Dead Money," The Dark One in The Mark of Kri, the Kangxi Emperor in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, Benedict Burgess Batteric III in Infinity Blade III, Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, and Rubick in Dota 2, and the venerable Odo and meister Glimmerheim in Dungeon Siege III.

In 1984 Dennen wrote the lyrics for a children's musical revue, Wanna Play?!, which was produced in Kansas City and later produced on television twice. The show, written with writer Linda Bergman and composer Jeff Rizzo, is licensed by Samuel French. He wrote the screenplay for an episode of Amazing Stories titled "The Secret Cinema" (1985) and cowrote an episode of The Comic Strip Presents... titled "Demonella" (1993). His autobiographical book, My Life With Barbra: A Love Story (1997), deals with their relationship and with his gradual realization that he was gay.[3]


In June 2017, Dennen suffered a fall in his Burbank home and required hospital care. He never fully recovered and died on September 26. His brother is Lyle Dennen.[4][5]

Barry Dennen is interred at Hollywood Forever Cemetery in Los Angeles, California. 



Year Title Role Notes

1970 The Juggler of Notre Dame The Juggler

1971 Fiddler on the Roof Mendel

1973 Jesus Christ Superstar Pontius Pilate

1974 Madhouse Gerry Blount

1975 Brannigan Julian

1976        The Monster Squad    Mr. Mephisto

1977 The Kentucky Fried Movie Claude LaMont Segment "High Adventure"

1978 Rabbit Test Mad Bomber

1980 The Shining Watson

1981 Shock Treatment Irwin Lapsey

1981 Ragtime Stage Manager

1982 The Dark Crystal Chamberlain / Podling Voice[6]

1983 Trading Places Demitri

1983 Superman III Dr. McClean

1984 Memed, My Hawk Hikmet

1984 Not for Publication

1991 Liquid Dreams The Major

1994 Clifford Terry the Pterodactyl

1994 The Shadow Tulku Voice, Uncredited

1994 Twin Sitters Thomas

1997 Titanic Praying Man

2003 Manhood Singing Groom

2014 Heavenly Sword Flying Fox / Prophet Takashi Voice[6]

2015 Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Defense Advisor Voice, Direct-to-video[6]

2016 Alleluia! The Devil's Carnival Heaven's Denizen Uncredited


Year Title Role Notes Source

1968 Batman Fred 2 Episodes

1987 Tales from the Darkside Aldo the Puppeteer Ep. "No Strings"

1992 Batman: The Animated Series Shadow Agent (voice) Ep. "Off Balance" [6]

1993 Animaniacs Czar (voice) Ep. "Pavlov's Mice"

1999 Batman Beyond Captain (voice) Ep. "Disappearing Inque" [6]

2006 The Grim Adventures of Billy & Mandy Gepetto, Blubbery Joe, Salesperson (voice) 2 Episodes

2006 Avatar: The Last Airbender General Sung, Additional Voices 2 Episodes [6]

2010 The Dalton's Jack Dalton, Peabody (voice) Ep. "Cowed" [6]

2012 Star Wars: The Clone Wars King Ramsis Dendup, Citizen, Rebel (voice) 3 Episodes

2013 Mad Shifu, Gatored Community Announcer Ep. "POblivion/Umbrellamentary"

2013 Lego Marvel Super Heroes: Maximum Overload Mandarin (voice) [6]

Video games

Year Title Role Notes Source

1995 Wing Commander IV: The Price of Freedom Melek

1998 Grim Fandango Chief Bogen, 1st Thunder Boy, Blue Casket's Waiter [6]

1999 Star Trek: Hidden Evil Adm. Ratok

2001 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Fatman English Dub [6]

2002 Star Trek: Bridge Commander Gul Oden, Captain Terrik

2002 The Mark of Kri The Dark One [6]

2003 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Vizier [6]

2005 Jade Empire Master Li

2005 Fantastic Four Mole Man

2007 Law & Order: Criminal Intent Crime Scene Tech, George Bennett, Frederick Grant, others

2007 Avatar: The Last Airbender – The Burning Earth Additional Voices

2008 Too Human Mimir

2009 Dragon Age: Origins Uldred, Rogek, Senior Enchanter Torrin

2010 Fallout: New Vegas Dean Domino Dead Money DLC [6]

2011 White Knight Chronicles II Lorias [6]

2011 Dungeon Siege III The Venerable Odo, Mayor Moritz Grimmelhaus, Additional Voices

2012 Darksiders II The Chancellor, Eternal Throne Guard 2, Human Soul 2 [6]

2013 Dota 2 Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, Rubick [7]

2013 Infinity Blade III Benedict Burgess Batteric III

2014 Lightning Returns: Final Fantasy XIII Poltae Headman English Dub

2014 Diablo III: Reaper of Souls Additional Voices [6]

2015 Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Commandant English Dub [6]

2016 World of Warcraft: Legion


1. Donald P. McClarey. "Screen Pilates: Barry Dennen." The American Catholic. Retrieved 13 November 2016.

2. William J. Mann (16 December 2012). "The Gays Behind Barbra (And Nearly Every Other Gay Icon)." Huffington Post. Retrieved 13 November 2016.

3. Dennen, Barry (1997), My Life with Barbra: A Love Story, Prometheus Books, ISBN 1-57392-160-2

4. Ramos, Dino-Ray; Gerard, Jeremy (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen Dies: 'Jesus Christ Superstar's Pilate And Barbra Streisand Mentor Was 79." Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved September 27, 2017.

5. Geier, Thom (September 26, 2017). "Barry Dennen, 'Jesus Christ Superstar' Actor and Barbra Streisand Ex, Dies at 79." Retrieved September 27, 2017.

6. "Behind the Voice Actors – Barry Dennen." Behind The Voice Actors. Retrieved August 17, 2019.

7. Valve (2013-07-09). Dota 2 (PC). Valve.

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