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Leonard Barr

Leonard Barr
Barr as Shady Tree in Diamonds Are Forever (1971)
Personal information
Birth nameLeonard Barra
Birth date27 September 1903,
Place of birthWest Virginia
Date of deathNovember 22, 1980(age 77)
Death placeWest Hollywood, California
OccupationComedian, film actor

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Leonard Barr (September 27, 1903 November 22, 1980), born Leonard Barra, was an old-style, one-liner standup American comic in the tradition of Henny Youngman. He was the uncle of Dean Martin (being the brother of Dean Martin's mother Angela). Thanks to Martin, and TV talk shows, he achieved a significant amount of visibility and recognition in the twilight of his career.

He had a brief role in The Sting, appropriately as a burlesque comic. That is also the way his character is listed in the credits—as an anonymous comedian. However, in the wings of the stage just before the comic's entrance, he has a brief conversation with Johnny Hooker (Robert Redford), who addresses him as "Leonard".

He is perhaps best remembered internationally for his appearance in the 1971 James Bond film Diamonds Are Forever in which he played Shady Tree, a stand up comedian and smuggler in Las Vegas who was assassinated by henchmen Mr. Wint and Mr. Kidd.

He also appeared in The Odd Couple usually in the non-dialogue New York street scenes in the first season or 5 episodes later in 1975 with dialogue and, albeit unnamed, on an episode of M*A*S*H as a USO Comedian. He also made numerous guest appearances on The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson. John Read and Dave Maskin recall that the year 1957 was Barr's favorite year in show business. Cameron Crowe briefly depicted Barr as a foul-mouthed real-life character in Almost Famous, his semi-autobiographical film of 2000.

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