Barbara Rush's character in Batman explored as legendary actress dies aged 97

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Actress Barbara Rush, popularly known for her role in the Batman TV series, dies aged 97. (Image via Getty Images/Emma McIntyre)

Veteran American actress Barbara Rush, who played Nora Clavicle in the 1960s Batman TV series, breathed her last on March 31. Her daughter Claudia Cowan confirmed the news of her death at age 97 to Fox News Digital.

Claudia, a senior correspondent at the network, shared:

“My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening. I was with her this morning and know she was waiting for me to return home safely to transition.
"It’s fitting she chose to leave on Easter as it was one of her favorite holidays and now, of course, Easter will have a deeper significance for me and my family.”

Barbara Rush portrayed a villainess in ABC’s Batman (1966-1968). She appeared in the show’s third season in Episode 19 titled: Nora Clavicle and the Ladies' Crime Club, aired on January 18, 1968.

Miss Clavicle disguised herself as a women’s rights activist and charmed Mayor Linseed’s wife into making the mayor replace Commissioner Gordon with her. She then fired O’Hara as the Police Chief and appointed Mrs. Linseed instead.

Miss Clavicle further replaced the entire department with untrained women. The new policewomen became more inclined towards new recipes and sales than catching criminals.

Soon, Batman, Batgirl and Robin became suspicious. To lure the three into a trap so that they wouldn’t interfere with Nora Clavicle’s scheme, the villainess sent her goons to mob a bank.

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However, her plan to destroy Gotham City and collect a $10 million insurance claim went in vain when Batman eventually captured her along with her henchwomen.

The superhero trio defeated them using the lethal Siamese human knots technique, which Barbara Rush's Miss Clavicles had initially trapped them with.


Barbara Rush had an enriching career in Hollywood

The legendary big-screen star built an impressive career in the entertainment industry, spanning over seven decades.

Barbara Rush worked opposite several big names in Hollywood, including Marlon Brando, Richard Burton, Frank Sinatra, Dean Martin, Paul Newman and Rock Hudson.

Her acting career began in 1950, at the Pasadena Playhouse, where she was spotted by a talent scout and was signed to Paramount Pictures. Barbara’s debut role was Debby Sherman in The Goldbergs — a 1950 film adaptation of Gertrude Berg’s television sitcom of the same title.

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Barbara Rush won the Golden Globe Award as a newcomer actress for playing Ellen Fields in the 1953 Sci-fi film It Came From Outer Space.

She was also well-known for playing Joan Dickenson — an heiress opposite Paul Newman’s Anthony Judson in the 1959 romance drama The Young Philadelphians. Barbara acted alongside Newman again in the 1967 hit movie Hombre.

Barbara Rush once shared an anecdote about how her friendship with Marilyn Monroe started. She told Fox News Digital in an interview:

“Oh yes, we were friends, we were in the studio club together. At least with me, when you first come to Hollywood, and I went to Paramount, they put me immediately in the studio club.
"It’s kind of like a sorority house. And Marilyn Monroe was there. I loved her. Marilyn was such a darling lady. She was very sweet and nice. All the girls in the studio club just had a good time.”

Barbara Rush once spoke about how the Batman series had a greater impact than anyone could have predicted.

She said that she grew tired of Hollywood movies and thus, switched to TV for a change. Speaking about her antagonistic role in Batman, the actress told Fox News Digital:

“When you’re an actress, you don’t think about things like that.You just think, ‘I have a job!’ You just don’t project what your future is going to be. And [Nora Clavicle] was just so funny. I just love comedy and she was very light-hearted. She was a kick.”

After Batman, the actress went on to play Marsha Russell in Peyton Place — a hit soap opera that ran from 1968 to 1969. Barbara Rush’s final TV appearance was in 2007 on the long-running teen series 7th Heaven where she appeared as Grandma Ruth Camden.

Her last movie role was in Bleeding Hearts: The Arteries of Glenda Bryant, a 2017 short film, where she starred alongside her niece Carolyn Hennesy.

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Edited by Amrita Das