Barry Newman, Star of “The Vanishing Point” and “Petrocelli,” Dies at 92


Barry Newman, known for his roles in “The Vanishing Point” and “Petrocelli,” has passed away at the age of 92. He died on May 11 at NewYork-Presbyterian Columbia University Irving Medical Center, according to his wife, Angela.

Born on November 7, 1930, in Boston, Barry Newman began his career on Broadway and starred in “The Lawyer” in 1970 before transitioning to film. He found success when he was offered the role of Kowalski in the action-packed movie “The Vanishing Point” in 1971. Newman described the character as a rebel and antihero, which he thoroughly enjoyed portraying.

In “The Vanishing Point,” Newman’s character, Kowalski, is a Vietnam veteran, former stock car driver, and dishonorably discharged cop. He embarks on a high-speed journey to transport a Dodge Challenger from Denver to San Francisco, fueled by amphetamines. The film, directed by Richard C. Sarafian, was shot over eight weeks and has since become a cult classic.

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Newman also portrayed defense attorney Anthony Petrocelli in the TV series “Petrocelli,” which aired from September 1974 to March 1976. The character was first introduced in the film “The Lawyer” and later appeared in the telefilm “Night Games.” Throughout his career, Newman made appearances in various films, including “Daylight,” “Bowfinger,” “The Limey,” and “40 Days and 40 Nights.”

Aside from his acting career, Newman had a diverse background. He graduated from Boston Latin School and Brandeis University and initially considered becoming an anthropologist before pursuing acting. He played saxophone and clarinet in the U.S. Army band and studied acting under Lee Strasberg.

Despite “The Vanishing Point” initially not gaining much attention in the U.S., it became popular in London, where people lined up around the block to see it. The film eventually gained a cult following worldwide. Newman continued to be asked about the film throughout his life.

Newman’s career was interrupted in 2009 when he was diagnosed with vocal cord cancer. However, he made a recent comeback in the independent film “Finding Hannah” in 2022, reuniting with writer-director Sidney J. Furie.

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Barry Newman leaves behind a legacy of memorable performances and a cult classic film that continues to captivate audiences. His contributions to the entertainment industry will be remembered.

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