Barbara Rush: The 7th Heaven actress dies at 97

American actress Barbara Rush, one of the last icons of the golden age of Hollywood, has died aged 97.

Barbara Rush death 7th Heaven
© Gregg DeGuire / Getty Images
Barbara Rush death 7th Heaven

It's sad news for movie enthusiasts. Barbara Rush, best known for her appearance in the cult series 7th Heaven, passed away on Sunday, 31 March 2024. Her daughter announced her passing in a statement to Fox News.

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Barbara Rush passed away at Easter

Claudia Cowan, Barbara Rush's daughter, announced the death of her 97-year-old mother on Sunday 31 March 2024. She told Fox News, for which she works as a correspondent:

My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 pm. I was with her this morning and I know she was waiting for me to get home before she left.
She decided to leave for Easter, which was one of her favorite holidays.

Barbara Rush was born in Colorado in 1927, before moving to California. It was there that she discovered the wonderful world of cinema, and made a name for herself in the 1950s. Over the course of her long career, she gravitated towards some of the biggest names in cinema. She worked with Marlon Brando, and was friends with Marilyn Monroe and Frank Sinatra. And that's just the beginning!

A fan of science fiction

A lover of science-fiction films, Barbara Rush made a name for herself in the movie world with appearances in classics such as When Worlds Collide (1951) and It Came from Outer Space (1953). For the latter, she won the Golden Globes for Most Promising Newcomer – Female in 1954, a major accolade in the industry.

After breaking into film, she also tried her hand at theater, winning the Sarah Siddons Award in 1970. Barbara Rush continued to act in both film and theater throughout her career, which spanned no less than seven decades.

Barbara Rush on TV

Though her movie and theatre career is most impressive, the younger generations will know her for her appearance in the iconic 1990s TV show, 7th Heaven. The show began in 1996 and ran for 11 seasons, with its finale airing in 2007.

The show tells the story of Reverand Eric Camden (Stephen Collins) and his family as they navigate the ups and down of life. Throughout the show, he and his wife Annie (Catherine Hicks) raise 5 children of all different ages.

Barbara Rush was a recurring character and played Grandma Ruth Camden.

To this day, 7th Heaven is known to be a family-friendly show, and though it focuses of the family of a Reverend, it manages to not be too preachy. On Rotten Tomatoes, the show's first season is rated 75 and reviews praise its lightheartedness and humour.

7th Heaven is also the show where some now big Hollywood faces first started. Indeed, Jessica Biel played Mary Camden.

Reactions to her death

On social media, many movie lovers praised her role in It Came from Outer Space sharing bits of the movie. The New York Times also shared the news of her passing. In their obituary they wrote:

If Ms. Rush’s portrayals had one thing in common, it was a gentle, ladylike quality, which she put to use in films of many genres.

They explain that her career was mostly made of her being 'treated as a pretty face' but that her stage work was like a rebirth. They also talk about her personal life.

Rush was married and divorced three times and she is survived by her two children and four grandchildren.

This article has been adapted from Oh!MyMag France.

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Ouest-France / Fox News

Rotten Tomatoes

The New York Times: Barbara Rush, Award-Winning TV and Film Actress, Dies at 97

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