2014 Hall of Fame Inductee
Equally at home in a Shakespearean doublet or a cowboy hat, native Texan Barry Corbin has become the kind of actor who makes an impression on audiences no matter how large or small the role. While he’s a dynamic lead, Corbin has become favored pinch hitter to whom directors turn when they need a performer who can set the stage with just one or two scenes.
Over the course of his extraordinary career, Corbin has played everything from
con men to cowpokes and military men to millionaires. The 80s saw him stealing
scenes in films like War Games (as a general who doesn’t believe
in trusting computers to manage nuclear warfare) and Nothing in Common
(as a no-nonsense airline tycoon who loves horses more than airplanes), and
of course in his unforgettable role as the bumbling deputy Roscoe Brown in the
acclaimed miniseries adaptation of Larry McMurtry’s Lonesome Dove.
(And yes, Dallas fans, that was Corbin playing Sheriff Washburn, the
lawman who tangled with the Ewing clan many times over the run of the series.)
1990 saw the premiere of Northern Exposure, which gave Corbin a plum
role for five seasons as former astronaut Maurice J. Minnifield, the real- estate
tycoon and entrepreneur who pretty much owns the entire town of Cicely, Alaska,
but whose wealth can’t mend the heartbreak of losing his fiancée
to his onetime best friend. The role brought Corbin international recognition
as well as two well- deserved Emmy nominations.
Maurice’s irascible nature was clearly something both character and actor
shared Corbin wrote an open letter to CBS accusing them of harming Northern
Exposure when they moved the show from Monday to Wednesday, and when Universal
refused to pay to transport the show’s cast and crew to the Emmys, Corbin
and his daughter rode up to the ceremony on horseback.
But as a real-life cowboy who got the acting bug as a child, when he decided
he wanted to be Gabby Hayes it’s Corbin’s roles as a good ol boy,
generally one who’s smarter than observers give him credit for, that stand
out the most. In recent films like No Country for Old Men, In the Valley
of Elah, and That Evening Sun, Corbin has dazzled audiences and
critics alike with some of his richest work all of which happened after his
And with a full plate of upcoming projects, plus being a regular cast member on the new TV series Anger Management, Corbin shows no sign of slowing down anytime soon.
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