Barbara Britton was an American film and television actress.
She was the first actress to play Laura Petrie on television on the pilot program, Head of the Family, which was retooled and became The Dick Van Dyke Show with the role taken over by Mary Tyler Moore. The California native signed a film contract with Paramount Pictures in 1941. Her first two films were that same year, first in the William Boyd western Secret of the Wasteland, followed by Louisiana Purchase starring Bob Hope. Her first big film appearance was a small role in the 1942 John Wayne film Reap the Wild Wind.
During the 1940s she starred in three films that, today, are her most recognizable film roles, two of which placed her starring opposite Randolph Scott. The first was with Scott in the 1945 film Captain Kidd, followed by The Virginian in 1946, opposite Joel McCrea. The third was in the 1947 Randolph Scott film Gunfighters. She would team with Randolph Scott again in the 1948 western Albuquerque, and that same year she starred opposite Gene Autry in Loaded Pistols. In total she starred or appeared in twenty-six films during that decade.
Reportedly, due to lasting trauma which she suffered making the 1943 war picture So Proudly We Hail!, she sought the help of physician and psychoanalyst, Dr. Eugene J. Czukor, in 1944. The memorable film was about a group of nurses returning from the war in the Philippines recall their experiences in combat and in love. Britton and Dr. Czukor married soon after, lasting until Britton’s death 35 years later.