Biography: Barry Corbin

 

 

 

 

Barry Corbin portrays Maurice Minnifield, town patriarch of Cicely. A burly ex-astronaut, gung-ho president of the Cicely Chamber of Commerce, and owner of the town's newspaper and radio station, KBHR, Maurice sees Cicely as a haven of limitless potential, soon to be the new "Alaskan Riviera." He also feels it is his duty to keep Dr. Fleischman (Rob Morrow) practicing in Cicely to secure the town's future urbanization.

Born Leonard Barrie Corbin on Oct. 16, 1940 in Lamesa, Texas, and raised in Dawson County, Texas, Corbin's parents were a successful lawyer and an elementary school teacher.

Corbin got bit by the performing bug at a young age when he would organize neighborhood plays. Later, he was enthralled by Westerns. He studied theatre at Texas Tech, where he performed everything from the great masters to contemporary playwrights. After two years in the Marines, Corbin began searching for acting work at age 21.

He moved to New York in 1964 and during the next decade starred on Broadway, Off-Broadway, and in regional and dinner theaters in such roles as Henry in Henry V, Jud in Oklahoma, Oscar in The Odd Couple, Falstaff in The Merry Wives of Windsor, Henry in Beckett, and Macbeth in Macbeth.

Corbin relocated to Los Angeles in 1977. He was writing plays for National Public Radio when he was cast as Uncle Bob in the feature film Urban Cowboy. He continued t0 create memorable performances in films such as The Man Who Loved Women, Nothing in Common, War Games, Best Little Whorehouse in Texas, Honky Tonk Man, and John Hughes' Career Opportunities. Corbin's television credits include numerous miniseries and television movies such as Lonesome Dove, The Thorn Birds, Fatal Vision, A Death in California, Last Flight Out, Young Harry Houdini, and Better Harvest. He has also starred in the NBC television movies The Chase and The Keys, as well as the TNT western Conagher. Corbin has guest-starred on more than a dozen series including Hill Street Blues, Ellen, Matlock, and Murder She Wrote. He also starred in the series Boone, Spies, and the Showtime series Washington. Since Northern Exposure ceased production, Corbin has continues to work in television, appearing in Columbo and The Big Easy. He has appeared in several made-for-TV movies and Feature Films, including Clover Bend and No One Can Hear You.

In 1996, Corbin returned to the stage with the one-man play "Charlie Goodnight's Last Ride," which he co-wrote with Cowboy/Poet-singer Andy Wilkinson (performed in Roslyn, WA for the 1997 Moosefest!). He has done voice work for commercials, radio, several books-on-tape and video games. Outside of acting, Barry is a cowboy and enjoys riding for celebrity events and on his own.

Corbin has served as the national spokesperson for National Alopecia Areata Foundation. He was diagnosed with it himself and is especially passionate about helping children with alopecia. Alopecia areata (al-oh-PEE-shah air-ee-AH-tah) is a highly unpredictable, autoimmune skin disease resulting in the loss of hair on the scalp and elsewhere on the body. He lives on his ranch in Texas.

During the run of Northern Exposure, Corbin was reunited with a daughter he didn't know about. The actor discovered in late June 1991 he had a 26-year-old daughter when Shannon Ross, who was adopted as an infant, tracked down her biological parents. Ross' mother gave her baby up for adoption at San Antonio's Methodist Mission Home in February 1965 without telling Corbin she was pregnant with his child. She is seen dancing with him at the end of 4.2 Midnight Sun.

In December 1993, Corbin broke his leg after he fell off his horse. This changed the story line for 5.15 Hello I Love You. Originally, it was Maurice who was supposed to travel to Cantwell with Ruth-Anne (minus the romance part). Moultrie Patten's character of Walt had shown up in small parts but was written into the episode to take Maurice's place and also to court Ruth-Anne, thus making him a bigger character in the series. Corbin's injury was written into 5.19 The Gift of the Maggie, when he appears on crutches.

Corbin continues to act in film and television. In 2002, he appeared in the independent film Waitin' to Live, directed by Joey Travolta (John's brother). In 2003, he appeared in two television films, Monte Walsh and Hope Ranch.

Corbin won a Buffalo Bill Cody Award for quality family entertainment and the Western Heritage Award from the National Cowboy Hall of Fame for his performance in Connagher, and was nominated for two Emmy Awards (for Outstanding Supporting Actor in a Drama Series in 1993 and 1994 for Northern Exposure), a Media Owl Award, and an American Television Award for his work in Northern Exposure.

In 2003, Corbin returned to TV drama as "Whitey Durham" in the WB's One Tree Hill. Whitey is the long-time high school basketball coach in the town of Tree Hill. Season five returned as a midseason replacement in 2008. One Tree Hill changes gears in season five as the cast and storylines move four years into the future. Barry has brief appearences as Coach Whitey.

He also reunited with actor John Cullum ("Holling") in an award-winning independent short film, Blackwater Elegy. Corbin and Cullum play old friends who come to terms with their life following the death of a friend.

In the summer of 2004, Corbin filmed the role of Sheriff Buster Watkins in the feature River's End (previously titled Molding Clay), directed by William Katt. Filmed on location in Central, South and West Texas. Corbin plays a fictional Menard County sheriff who uses country savvy and cowboy logic to straighten out his angry teen-aged grandson, Clay, a high school senior who can't seem to stay out of trouble. The movie was filmed in Menard, Texas, and was released in 2005.

In 2005, he also appeared in the independent movie Godless, which made the film festival rounds in 2005.

In 2006, Corbin appeared in Beautiful Dreamer, which also starred Colin Egglesfield (All My Children), Brooke Langton (Melrose Place), James Denton (Desperate Housewives). The film tells the story of a World War II fighter pilot, Joe Kelly (Colin), who is shot down over Europe and declared dead. Two years later, his wife, Claire (Langton), finds him in a small town, but he doesn't remember her.

Corbin's distinctive voice has been lent to advertising over the last several years, most recently for Econo Lodge motels. He also narrates many projects, including A Fair to Remember: State Fair of Texas documentary.

Corbin appeared in several episodes of The Closer, starting with the August 20, 2007 episode, as Brenda Johnson's (Kyra Sedgewick) father. He had several films in 2007: No Country for Old Men, Lake City, In the Valley of Elah, and the short films Trail End, and A Death in the Woods.

When not on a film or television set, Corbin raises horses and cattle on his ranch in Fort Worth, Texas, where he lives with his daughter (Shannon, b. 1965) and grandchildren. He also has three sons: Bernard (b. 1970), Jim (b. 1979) and Chris (b. 1982). He and his second wife, Susan, divorced in 1992. Corbin appears at many roping and charity events. He recently helped the city of Lubbock, Texas celebrate 100 years.

Current and Upcoming Projects:

Currently filming The Homesman with Tommy Lee Jones, Meryl Streep, Hilary Swank and more (March 2013).

Articles:
A man in demand (and having fun) - A conversation with Barry Corbin
A Nice Surprise for 'Exposure' Actor
Corbin breaks leg, foot
FlixUSA Interview with Barry Corbin
'Northern Exposure' Actor Injects A Little Bit Of Cowboy Into His Roles

See Barry Corbin - FacebookOfficial Barry Corbin Web SiteSee when Barry Corbin is on TV
Barry Corbin quotes
Barry Corbin on You Tube

© Copyright, 2013 • Northern Exposure is Copyright Universal City Studios. All Rights Reserved. • Created 12/22/01 • Updated 3/16/13