Barbara McNair


Barbara McNair (March 4, 1934 - February 4, 2007) was an African-American singer and actress. Born in Chicago, Illinois and raised in Racine, Wisconsin, McNair studied music at the American Conservatory of Music in Chicago. Her big break came with a win on Arthur Godfrey's Talent Scouts, which led to bookings at The Purple Onion and the Cocoanut Grove. She soon became one of the country's most popular headliners and a guest on such television variety shows as The Steve Allen Show, Hullabaloo, The Bell Telephone Hour, and The Hollywood Palace, while recording for the Coral, Signature, and Motown labels. Among her hits were You're Gonna Love My Baby and Bobby. In the early 60s, Barbara made several musical shorts for Scopitone, a franchise of coin-operated machines that showed what were then the forerunners of today's music videos. McNair's acting career began on television, guesting on series such as Dr. Kildare, I Spy, Mission: Impossible, Hogan's Heroes and McMillan and Wife. She caught the attention of the movie-going public with her much-publicized nude sequences in the gritty crime drama If He Hollers Let Him Go (1968) opposite Raymond St. Jacques, then donned a nun's habit alongside Mary Tyler Moore for Change of Habit (1969), Elvis Presley's last feature film. She portrayed Sidney Poitier's wife in They Call Me MISTER Tibbs! (1970) and its sequel, The Organization (1971). McNair's Broadway credits include The Body Beautiful (1958), No Strings (1962), and a revival o...

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