Requiem for an Actress – Jon Voight

Barbara appeared in a scene with Jon Voight while filming “Midnight Cowboy” in Manhattan in the late 1960’s. I believe the scene takes place in an Automat or a similar type of restaurant where Jon is pouring Ketchup on his food.

Barbara and Jon struck up a friendship during the filming of that scene, and Jon made an effort to introduce Barbara to John Schlesinger, the director of the movie. Barbara, unfortunately, could not make the introduction for personal reasons.

Barbara and Jon in Movie Scene

After that day, they parted ways, Jon back to California and Barbara back to New Jersey. But they kept in touch with an occasional phone call.

In the mid-to-late 1970’s, Barbara flew to California to pitch an idea she and I had for a TV show. She had managed to get an appointment to pitch the idea to an NBC-TV executive.

Our TV show idea dealt with a restaurant or bar that was populated with whacky oddball characters for which we had written a book full of ideas for TV episodes.

When Barbara arrived in California, she stayed at the Beverly Hilton. No piker, she. She called Jon Voight and he agreed to visit her. When he arrived at the hotel, he did not call to tell her of his arrival.

Instead, he went to her room, found a hotel cleaning woman working the rooms on that floor, borrowed her outfit and cart and wrapped a scarf on his head as a babushka. He then pounded on Barbara’s door announcing “she” was ready to clean the room.

Of course, Barbara tried to shoo “her” away telling “her” she was expecting a guest. But Jon insisted by continuing to knock on the door.

Barbara finally opened the door prepared to let “her” have it. Jon just barged into the room backwards, cart and all. Barbara was immensely angry until Jon revealed himself. Of course, it all ended in laughter.

Jon may have had a crush on Barbara, but I’m also sure he may have been involved with marital problems of his own at the time. I inadvertently put a kibosh on their relationship.

One summer weekend, we were entertaining guests on our poolside deck when he called. Barbara answered and their conversation was running into half an hour leading our guests to question her absence.

To show equal concern, I entered our kitchen by opening a sliding door. The door was tied into our alarm system and sounded three beeps even though the alarm system was turned off.

Jon accused Barbara of taping their conversation and ended the call abruptly. Barbara was very angry with me and accused me of entering on purpose.

I denied it and, truth be told, I only entered as a result of our guests questioning her absence. I was not even aware of who had called. I said Jon was just being paranoid.

To further prove my innocence, I told her time and time again to call him back and explain what really happened. She never did.

But Jon never forgot Barbara. Only some ten years ago, a casting director friend of ours met Jon on a plane, and, as part of their conversation, he asked about Barbara.

 Who knows what might have happened had I not entered the kitchen that day so long ago?

But can you imagine Barbara as Angelina Jolie’s stepmother?