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Don "Red" Barry 1912 - 1980

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Don "Red" Barry 1912 - 1980

Posted: 1199650747000
Classification: Obituary
Surnames: DeAcosta,Barry,Acosta,Poimbieuf,Acosta,Dupuy,Patin,Stewart
Don 'Red' Barry

Real name:
Donald Michael Barry DeAcosta

1910 or 1911 --- 1980

Don "Red" Barry

Don "Red" Barry (January 11, 1912 – July 17, 1980) was an American film actor who got his nickname "Red" after appearing in the highly successful Red Ryder film Adventures of Red Ryder (1940). Barry went on to bigger budget films following the success of Red Ryder, but none reached the success of the Ryder film series (later the role was played by "Wild Bill" Elliott and Allan Lane, each of whom worked with Robert Blake as young sidekick "Little Beaver," although Barry didn't appear with Blake).

By the 1950s, Barry was a supporting actor instead of playing leads in westerns; one more or less typical example of his work was as a black-clad gunfighter in a 1961 episode of the western television series Maverick with Jack Kelly and Buddy Ebsen called "Last Stop: Oblivion." Barry played supporting roles in dozens of TV shows, particularly westerns. Earlier in life, Barry had been a high school and college football player. During the height of his Red Ryder fame, he married B-movie actress Peggy Stewart. In 1980 he committed suicide by shooting himself.

Don Barry is front center with the blue suit and tie, and has his arm around Mitchell Dugas, son of Theresa Acosta Dugas and Alcee Dugas. Theresa's sister Regina Acosta was Don Barry ... and the Family Tree

Narcisse Bernard Acosta (born: August 20, 1837) and Marie Pamela Domingue (born: May 3, 1845) were married May 24, 1865 and had three children who lived: Therese Josephine Acosta (born: March 18, 1866), Marie Regina Acosta (born: May 29, 1867) and Marcis Raimond Blaze Acosta (born: February 3, 1869).

Narcisse Bernard Acosta died November 30, 1868 at the age of 30 after being married just over 3 years. Pamela married Narcisse's third cousin Julian Acosta. They had 11 Children, 3 who lived to adults, Eva, Adam, and George. When Pamela divorced Julian she moved to Morgan City, LA with her children from the second marriage. Julian remarried and had another family with his new wife. Later, Pamela left Morgan City, LA and moved to Houston, Texas where Eva and Regina were living.

Marie Regina Acosta is the grandmother of Don 'Red' Barry.the grandmother of Don Barry. Regina Acostas' married name was Regina Acosta Poimboeuf.

'Boone' Dugas is on the left patting Don on the back while Barry has his arm around Wallace Broussard.

Special thanks to the brothers Ken and Homer Dupuy for these great photos and information on their relative, Don 'Red' Barry. Following are a variety of tidbits, photos and family tree information which have been consolidated from several Homer and Ken e-mails that were received in the Fall of 2003. Ken provided the photos and ALVAREZ KELLY material, and Homer (who missed the September, 1965 family reunion because he was in the Navy) furnished the family background and history.

The film ALVAREZ KELLY was filmed north of Baton Rouge in 1965, and starred William Holden and Richard Widmark. Our distant cousin, Don 'Red' Barry, had a supporting role, and our uncle, 'Boone' Dugas was given a role as an extra in the movie. On the day that I took some photos they were shooting the same scene over, several times. There were many extras, and Don Barry and Harry Carey, Jr. were there also, with little or no involvement in the shooting. It was interesting to see William Holden get sprayed on his back and under his arms to give the impression that he had been sweating. There was little or no interaction between the stars, once the scene was shot, if I recall correctly. I was too star struck to approach Holden or Widmark, and no one else seemed to be doing so. Therefore, I simply shot from a distance without a zoom lens. Such an attachment would have been great, but I made do with my Agfa.

I was always told that Don Barry's real name was Milton Poimboeuf. My Mom's Grandmother (Theresa Acosta) and Don's Grandmother (Regina Acosta) were sisters. Family members who knew and visited Don in California said that this is correct. I have included family photos that were taken while Don was in Baton Rouge, Louisiana filming ALVAREZ KELLY. Don came to Scott, Louisiana where he met with many long lost relatives.

arie Regina Acosta
Grandmother of Don 'Red' Barry

Marie Regina Acosta (born: May 29, 1867) married Jules Francois Poimboeuf (born: July 19, 1864) on April 23, 1885 and they are the grandparents of Donald 'Red' Barry. Regina Acosta and Jules Poimboeuf had 6 children:

(1) Louis Leonce "Leon" Poimboeuf (born May 15, 1887; died October 11, 1936) (Don Barry's father? See obituary below)
(2) Julius "Jules" Poimboeuf (born: May 16, 1893; died January 28, 1916)
(3) Louise Poimboeuf (born: February 23, 1889); married Frank Wilkins
(4) Auguste "Gus" Joseph Poimboeuf (born: March 19, 1891); married Belle Julian; married twice
(5) Lillie Anne Poimboeuf (born: October 14, 1896); married George Nickalis
(6) Joseph Luis Poimboeuf (born: February 3, 1886, died: March 12, 1886 at age 1 month)
Homer has contacted two of Mitchell Dugas' sons and they both are almost positive that the father of Don Barry was Leonce Poimboeuf. Mitchell Dugas was 7 or 8 when Don was born, and one of his sons told Homer that his dad used to tell him how he would carry Don on his shoulders when Don was young.

In summary, is Don 'Red' Barry's real name Milton Poimboeuf? We'll learn more as Ken and Homer uncover new information in their family tree investigations. The generally accepted real name for Barry is Donald Michael Barry DeAcosta, and that name is on Barry's grave marker (Find A Grave link below). However, the last name of "DeAcosta" appears to be incorrect.

Looks like Barry adapted/modified the surname of his grandmother, Regina Acosta Poimboeuf. Another possibility is that a friend or relative furnished wrong information at the time of Barry's death.

You may want to visit the In Search Of ... page on the Old Corral. Then go to the California Death Records database and you will find a record for Donald Michael Barry, born 1/11/1911 in Texas, his Mother's maiden name was Barry, Father's name is not listed, and he passed away on 7/17/1980. There is also a record in the Social Security Death Index, and that shows his birth date as January 11, 1910.

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website has a picture of the grave marker for Donald Michael Barry DeAcosta at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills, Los Angeles, California:

March, 2004 update from Homer Dupuy: "I spoke with a Granddaughter of Louise Poimboeuf, but she was unable to answer the question of Don’s parents. She is in her 70’s and like she said all of the old timers who knew the answers are no longer with us. She said she did visit Don in California when he was in his prime. She said when Don would come to Louisiana they would go to Houston to visit Lillie Anne Poimboeuf. I’m working to find someone who has access to records from Texas. I’ll keep you informed of any information that I uncover." A geneology researcher friend was able to find 1910 Houston, Texas census records on Regina: Regina Poimbouef (age 41, born in LA); living with her were her children: Leon, 23, Gus, 19, Julius, 16, and Lillie, 13.

May, 2004 update from Homer Dupuy who credits friend Anna Marie Hayes with discovering lots of additional info on the Poimboeuf genealogy. Two bits of info relate to our search for Don Barry:

Obituary from the Houston POST, 13 OCT 1936, sec. 2, page 8:
POIMBOUEF---Louis Leonce Poimbouef, 50, of 1602 [?] Brooks, died at midnight Sunday in a hospital. He had been a resident of Houston for 50 years. Surviving are his wife, Mrs. Louis Leonce Poimbouef of Houston; three daughters, Mrs. Ruth King of Houston, Mrs. Juanita Sands of Corpus Christi, Miss Janet Poimbouef of Houston, one son, Milton Poimbouef of Hollywood, Cal; one sister, Mrs. George Nicholas of Houston; two brothers, Julius Poimbouef of Weslaco and J. A. Poimbouef of Mexia; four stepchildren and three grandchildren. Services will be held at the Fogle-West chapel at 4 p. m. Tuesday with Rev. D. L. Griffith officiating. Burial will be in the Forest Park cemetery. Active pallbearers: Hugh Booker, J. Gaber, William J. Goode, J. C. Pullen, J. E. Bock and O. R. Spencer. Fogle-West company directing.

Anne Marie writes about census data:
"I finally found Milton in 1920. He was listed as Milton PINEBLUFF. He was age 10 (making him born in 1909 or 1910). He was living with his adopted father, John B. FANE(?) (not sure of this last name....bad copy) and Virginia, age 50, b. LA (who might be Regina ACOSTA, ex-wife of Julian POINBOUEF (sic)." Later in her report, Anne Marie notes that it is not John B. FANE, but FAAE.

've always viewed Don Barry as pugnacious, a real scrapper, and a man with a short fuse. At around 5 foot 8 inches tall (probably less), Barry was relatively short ... but what he lacked in height, he made up in determination and energy ... and that vitality translated onto the screen. Born in Texas, Barry was in Hollywood in the mid 1930s doing traditional bit parts that were the norm for Tinseltown newcomers, and examples include minor roles in several of the MGM Dr. Kildare films.

He found his way to the new Republic Pictures where he landed several meaty roles: as Jesse James in the Roy Rogers' DAYS OF JESSE JAMES (Republic, 1939); a baddie again in the Rogers' SAGA OF DEATH VALLEY (Republic, 1939); and as the titled outlaw in the Three Mesquiteers' feature WYOMING OUTLAW (Republic, 1939).

The Republic brass must have been impressed. They had acquired the rights to the popular Red Ryder comic strip character by Fred Harman. Republic was planning a Red Ryder cliffhanger, and the legal arrangements included options for some features. Though Harman's creation was thin and tall, Republic hired Barry for the role. The story goes that Barry objected ... but Republic boss Herbert Yates said sumthin' like "you play Red Ryder or you're out". And as they say, the rest is history!

The Barry westerns kicked off in 1940 and ran for 29 films, concluding in 1944. The heroine in 16 was pretty blonde Lynn Merrick. The first entry, GHOST VALLEY RAIDERS (Republic, 1940) hit the screen in early Spring, 1940.

THE ADVENTURES OF RED RYDER (Republic, 1940) serial, released during the Summer of 1940, was a success with Barry in the lead, and Dave Sharpe doing most of the stunting and doubling for the star. This was also the time when Barry picked up the moniker of 'Red' which would stay with him for the rest of his life.

The Barry westerns were rock solid and exciting and the best ones include his initial entry, GHOST VALLEY RAIDERS, as well as THE TULSA KID (Republic, 1940), WYOMING WILDCAT (Republic, 1941), DEATH VALLEY OUTLAWS (Republic, 1941), SUNDOWN KID (Republic, 1942), and THE SOMBRERO KID (Republic, 1942). But toward the end, they seemed to lose steam ... and then Republic assigned the young Twinkle Watts to the series to add some juvenile appeal (when the Barry features ended, Watts would help Allan Lane). Bringing a youngster into a series had been done before. A little curly haired moppet named Sugar Dawn was added to the early 1940s series of Tex Ritter and Tom Keene at Monogram.

While Wally Vernon (with that "New Yawkish" accent) sticks in my mind as Barry's primary sidekick, he did have others --- many others --- including Dub Taylor, Syd Saylor, Al 'Fuzzy' St. John, Emmett 'Pappy' Lynn and Lloyd 'Arkansas Slim' Andrews.

Producer George Sherman was in charge of the Barrys and he directed seventeen of the first eighteen. Sherman was moved to other things, and 'musical chairs' occurred as various directors came and went on the last eleven films, beginning with OUTLAWS OF PINE RIDGE (Republic, 1942) --- helming these were William 'Bill' Witney, John English, Howard Bretherton, Spencer Gordon Bennet and Elmer Clifton. No negative implication here, as these were quality folks. My only reason for mentioning the director changes is that some pattern and consistency may have been lost because the boss kept changin'.

Circa 1943-1944, Republic was loaded with talent. They had Roy Rogers, Allan Lane and Sunset Carson. Bill Elliott had signed on with the studio and was doing a series of eight (and after that group, he would be the lead in the new Red Ryder features). Republic cancelled the Three Mesquiteers after the 1942-1943 season. Don Barry was the next to go, and his last starring oater at the studio was OUTLAWS OF SANTA FE (Republic, 1944), released in the Spring of 1944. Apparently this was OK with him, as he had hopes of doing other, higher grade filmwork. From what I've read, he was also tired of doing B grade westerns.

During the remainder of the 1940s, Barry occasionally returned to Republic and you can spot him in such films as: BELLS OF ROSARITA (Republic, 1945), the all-star extravaganza starring Roy Rogers; Bill Elliott's THE PLAINSMAN AND THE LADY (Republic, 1946); and OUT CALIFORNIA WAY (Republic, 1946) with Monte Hale.

Beginning in 1949, he began doing features of both western and non-western varieties for Robert L. Lippert (Lippert Pictures), and some of the titles are: THE DALTON GANG (Lippert, 1949), GUNFIRE (Lippert, 1950), TRAIN TO TOMBSTONE (Lippert, 1950) and I SHOT BILLY THE KID (Lippert, 1950). Barry's last starring movie role was in JESSE JAMES' WOMEN (UA, 1954). It was during this period that he dabbled behind the camera, trying his hand at script writing, directing and producing.

From the 1950s through the 1970s, he appeared in scores of TV shows such as GUNSMOKE, MAVERICK, COLT .45, THE VIRGINIAN, BONANZA, THE LAWMAN, PERRY MASON, KOLCHAK:THE NIGHT STALKER, F TROOP, more. In the mid 1970s, he had a brief but ongoing role in several episodes of LITTLE HOUSE ON THE PRAIRIE. Barry even did a villain role on the BATMAN TV show with Adam West. Bobby Copeland reminded me about SURFSIDE 6, one of many detective shows on TV which was produced by Warner Bros. (at the time, Warners was also doing MAVERICK, 77 SUNSET STRIP, lots of others). SURFSIDE 6 ran for two seasons, 1960-61 and 1961-62. Barry played Lt. Ray Snedigar in season one (Richard Crane was Lt. Gene Plehn for season two).

Some reference material on Barry notes that he was up for an Academy Award for his performance in THE PURPLE HEART (20th Century Fox, 1944), a movie he made on 'loan out' from Republic. This film is about a B-25 Mitchell bomber crew that was shot down during the Doolittle raid on Tokyo in the early days of World War II. The crew is being tried for war crimes in a Japanese military court, and Barry plays Lieutenant Peter Vincent who endures torture at the hands of his captors. I did check the Academy Awards database as I was researching this piece , but could find no mention of Barry being among the Oscar nominees. Regardless of the Oscar situation, Barry did a nice job in the THE PURPLE HEART.

Barry was married several times, including a hitch to pretty B western leading lady Peggy Stewart. Despite published information, he was not married to Republic heroine Helen Talbot. There were also a variety of stories (rumors) about Barry's romantic escapades with Hollywood actresses, including several prominent leading ladies.

My memory may be a bit faulty on the following --- but I do recall that in the 1960s, Barry put out some flyers requesting donations so he could begin a new series of westerns or serials ... films that would have a clean cut hero figure that the kids of the time could look up to. Thought I had a copy of what he was advocating, but couldn't find it in my CFS (chaotic filing system). Perhaps an Old Corral visitor can confirm and provide further details.

Don Barry was a talented guy who did some good western films. Counting the bit parts and supporting roles on the big screen and TV, his overall career encompassed 40+ years.

But in real life --- or at least in his later life --- something was seriously wrong. Don Barry committed suicide on July 17, 1980. Sad ending.

Don 'Red' Barry
* photos * board Resume add * contact * details
Date of Birth
11 January 1912, Houston, Texas, USA

Date of Death
17 July 1980, Hollywood, California, USA. (suicide)

Birth Name
Donald Barry De Acosta

5' 4½" (1.64 m)

Mini Biography

A college football star, Donald Barry went from the stage to the screen. After four years of playing villains and henchmen at various studios, Barry got the role that would change his image: Red Ryder in the Republic Pictures serial Adventures of Red Ryder (1940). Although he had appeared in westerns for two years or so, this was the one that would keep him there. He would acquire the nickname "Red" from his association with the Red Ryder character. After the success of "Red Ryder" Barry starred in a string of westerns for Republic. Studio chief Herbert J. Yates got the idea that Barry could be Republic's version of James Cagney, as he was short and had the same scrappy, feisty nature that Cagney had. Unfortunately, while Barry could in fact be a good actor when he wanted to be--as he showed in the WW II drama The Purple Heart (1944)--his "feistiness", combative nature and oversized ego caused him to alienate many of the casts and crews he worked with at Republic (ace serial director William Witney detested him, calling him "the midget", and director John English worked with him once and refused to ever work with him again). Barry made a series of westerns at Republic throughout the 1940s, but by 1950 his career had pretty much come to a halt, and he was reduced to making cheaper and cheaper pictures for bottom-of-the-barrel companies like Lippert and Screen Guild. Barry would continue to work and still appeared in westerns up through the 1970s, but they were often in small supporting roles, sometimes unbilled. In 1980 he committed suicide by shooting himself to death.

Barbara Patin (1963 - 17 July 1980) (his death) 2 children
Peggy Stewart (1940 - 1944) (divorced)


Ex-brother-in-law of Patricia O'Rourke and Wayne Morris.

He felt he had been miscast as Red Ryder because the comic strip character was tall and lanky, whereas he was short and stocky.

Ghost Valley Raiders (1940) $150/week

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