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.
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.
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.
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.
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
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
2015 Justice League: Throne of Atlantis Defense Advisor Voice, Direct-to-video
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" 
1993 Animaniacs Czar (voice) Ep. "Pavlov's Mice"
1999 Batman Beyond Captain (voice) Ep. "Disappearing Inque" 
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 
2010 The Dalton's Jack Dalton, Peabody (voice) Ep. "Cowed" 
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) 
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 
1999 Star Trek: Hidden Evil Adm. Ratok
2001 Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty Fatman English Dub 
2002 Star Trek: Bridge Commander Gul Oden, Captain Terrik
2002 The Mark of Kri The Dark One 
2003 Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time Vizier 
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 
2011 White Knight Chronicles II Lorias 
2011 Dungeon Siege III The Venerable Odo, Mayor Moritz Grimmelhaus, Additional Voices
2012 Darksiders II The Chancellor, Eternal Throne Guard 2, Human Soul 2 
2013 Dota 2 Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, Rubick 
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 
2015 Final Fantasy Type-0 HD Commandant English Dub 
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." thewrap.com. 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.