Barbara Feldon it was and will be forever “La 99″the counterpart to Maxwell Smart in the legendary series Agent 86 (Get Smart) a creation of Mel Brooks. After studying in her hometown (Bethel Park, Pennsylvania) and graduating from college with a drama degree, Barbara settled in New York ready to become an actress.
It drew attention from the outset since She was tall and beautiful, had a good figure and a suggestive look.. She landed a few minor roles, mostly as a dancer but never anything significant. Disappointed, she dropped everything and headed for the West Coast. She had by that time married Lucien Verdoux-Feldon, from whom she took her last name (she was Barbara Ann Hall by birth) and she kept it even after parting ways with him a decade later.
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While nothing interesting was happening with her acting career, she participated in the famous question-and-answer program whose prize left for colloquial folklore “the question of 64,000 dollars.” She introduced herself and, to the general surprise, won answering about the life and work of William Shakespeare. with that money she set up an art gallery with her husband and they quickly lost the entire sum.
Barbara started working as model in advertisements and it was precisely one of those that put her on the map: it was a Revlon product, Top Brass, a hair pomade intended for the male audience. Dressed in animal print and lying on a rug, Barbara purring called the men “tigers”.
It was the 60’s and they began to give him small roles on televisionsome appearances in Flipper, the CIPOL agent, etc Finally, in 1965 the moment she was waiting for arrived: she was summoned by Mel Brooks for the sitcom Agent 86, starring Don Adams as Maxwell Smart, CONTROL’s clumsiest and most inept spy.
Barbara Feldon was his partnerthe young and attractive Agent 99, much more skillful, sensible and intelligent than him, who often bailed him out of the jams he got into. It is also true that many times he saved her life in dangerous situations. Late in the series the agents fell in love, in the fourth season they got married and in the fifth they had twins.
The series was a resounding success; agent 86 was a mix between James Bond and Inspector Clouzot; As a good spy, he had his secret weapons, especially the famous “shoephone”: Max had to take it off and when he removed the sole it became a telephone with which he communicated with his boss, the long-suffering agent Q.; Also, by dialing 117 he would transform into a gun. CONTROL functioned as a parody of the CIAas well as its enemy institution, KAOS, was a parody of the KGB.
Were five seasons of indelible successbut at the end of the program and despite the derivative series, movies and comics, Barbara Feldon resigned her status as a star and rejected all the offers that came her way: they all offered her the same thing.
Separated some time ago from her second partner (Burt Nodella) Barbara lives alone in a luxurious apartment in New York. In 2003 she published a book: Living alone and loving it (Living alone and enjoying it) in which he proposes that you can be happy without having a stable partner. Last year she published her second book: getting smarter. To memory. It is a chronicle of the main moments of his artistic career.
Today she is 90 years old and she looks splendid.
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