Thomas Barbour, 84, Perry St. actor, is remembered


Friends and neighbors of Thomas Barbour, actor, playwright and Village activist, who died at the age of 84 at his Perry St. home on Dec. 29, 2005, celebrated his life at a Feb. 7 memorial service at St, John’s Church-in-the-Village on Waverly Pl.

A Perry St. resident for more than 50 years and a leading member of the Perry St. Block Association for 30 years, his theatrical career included six Broadway plays, including “Great White Hope,” with James Earl Jones, and nine feature films, including “Arthur,” a 1981 hit in which he played Dudley Moore’s father.

He also acted in more than 40 off- and off-off-Broadway productions, performed in Shakespeare in the Park and major regional theaters, including Walnut St. Theater in Philadelphia, Cleveland Playhouse, Baltimore Center Stage and Papermill Playhouse in New Jersey.

“He would always include the fact that he was an officer in the Perry St. Block Association in those little biographies in the theater programs wherever he was acting,” said Betty Rinckwitz, a friend and fellow block association member.

A playwright, he had several of his plays published and produced mostly in regional theaters, including “Little Brown Bird” and “The Smoke Weaver’s Daughter.”

He was a longtime member of the Episcopal Actors Guild where he served for a time as treasurer and was a board member until his death. He co-founded and served as president of Polaris North, a nonprofit theater organization, and he established and managed his own philanthropic organization, The Hornet Foundation, according to Diane R. Martella, a friend and neighbor of many years.

Active in the Republican Party, he served as a poll watcher for a few years. He was a member of Actors’ Equity Association, Screen Actors Guild and American Federation of Radio and Television Artists.

He had been diagnosed with a malignant tumor that affected his optic nerve. A sister, Alison Fox, and a niece, of Connecticut, survive. A private family funeral was held in Connecticut and a memorial service was held at Church of the Transfiguration (Little Church Around the Corner), at 1 E. 29th St., the home of The Episcopal Actors Guild.