Barbara Feldon is an American character actress mainly known for her work in theater and television. Feldon’s most prominent role was that of  Agent 99 on the 1960s TV spy spoof, Get Smart.

As an agent assigned to the shadowy and comical control, a secret government agency, 99 fought evil with her partner Agent 86, played by Don Adams.

Early Career of Barbara Feldon

Barbara Feldon (born March 12, 1933) began her career as a dancer and model before getting into theater and then television. She trained at Pittsburgh Playhouse and graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology with a Bachelor of Arts in drama. She studied acting at HB Studio.

Smiling Barbara Feldon during her early career

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Agent 99 on the show Get Smart.

Her famous and much-parodied television commercial for Top Brass led her to win minor TV roles in shows like Twelve O’Clock HighGriff, and Flipper. She rose to prominence after starring as Agent 99 in the show Get Smart, for which she won two consecutive Emmy nominations in 1968 and 1969.

Barbara Feldon in the role of Agent 99. She is pointing gun towards someone. The picture is B&W.

As her character depicted a capable woman in a stressful career, it was unusual for the era. She was a role model for many women because she was brilliant. She talked about her unprecedented popularity,

“When you have a success like that, out of the blue, it does knock you off balance a little bit. I had tremendous anxiety; I wasn’t ready to be successful. Then you learn, it doesn’t change anything really.”

She added,

“You can get a table in a restaurant, but you still have to wake up in the morning and get your breakfast and do the laundry. And I understood: it doesn’t last forever. I just saved my money like crazy and I never settled into being into a certain position in the business. When you’re in Hollywood, it is sobering: Is your status rising or are you falling? It is a very insecure thing, I decided to protect myself for the future.”

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Late Career of Barbara Feldon

Feldon made notable appearances on The Dean Martin Show from 1968 to 1972, singing and dancing and performing in comedy skits. She has starred in TV movies like Let’s Switch!’ and A Vacation in Hell and films like FitzwillySmile, and No Deposit, No Return.

Barbara Feldon holding toy dog bones and laying inside a kennel for a photoshoot

Her last film is 2006’s Last Request, a comedy film with Danny Aiello and Joe Piscopo. She has occasionally performed in off-Broadway plays and heard many radio and TV commercials.

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Barbara Feldon works as a Writer.

However, she is no longer interested in performing. The 86-year-old is an accomplished writer and is still actively creating content. She wrote a book, Living Alone and Loving It, in 2003 and had two editorial pieces featured in Metropolitan Magazine in 2015.

Barbara Feldon folding her arms and smiling in her old age

She moved to the Big Apple in 1977, leaving LA behind and retired in 2006. When asked why she left Hollywood, she said, “I never had the acting itch.”

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Personal Life

Barbara Feldon in the arms of her first husband Lucien Verdoux Feldon

Feldon was married to Lucien Verdoux-Feldon from 1958 to 1967. She was in a relationship with the show Get Smart producer Burt Nodella for 12 years from 1968.

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Net Worth 2019

smiling Barbara Feldon

After her breakup with Novella, she moved to New York City and resided there. Barbara Feldon owns an estimated net worth of $3 million as of 2019.

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