Barry Dennen (born February 22, 1938) is an American actor, singer, and writer, best known for his role as Pontius Pilate on the original recording, and later in the film, of Jesus Christ, Superstar.
Life and career
Dennen was born in Chicago, Illinois. In New York City from 1960 to 1963, he had a relationship with Barbra Streisand. They lived together for a year, during which time he helped her develop the nightclub act that began her successful career as a singer and actress.
He moved to London for fifteen years and in 1968 landed the starring role of the master of ceremonies in the London version of Cabaret. In 1970, he played Pontius Pilate on the album of Jesus Christ Superstar, and he played the same role in the Broadway production (1971). In the same year, he played Mendel in Norman Jewison's film of Fiddler on the Roof. According to Dennen's website, he suggested to Jewison that he direct a film version of Superstar. Jewison did so, and Dennen played Pilate again (1973). In 1982 Dennen played the role of Buddy in the TV adaptation of Beau Geste.
He was the voice actor who portrayed the Chamberlain SkekSil in The Dark Crystal (1982), and Tulku in The Shadow (1994). He has also done voice work on such cartoons as DuckTales, Batman: The Animated Series, The Pirates of Dark Water, Animaniacs, Avatar: The Last Airbender and Star Wars: The Clone Wars.
Since that time Dennen has had a variety of small parts on American television shows including: Batman, Galtar and the Golden Lance, Tales from the Darkside and Justice League: Throne of Atlantis, and films, such as Madhouse (1974), Brannigan (1975), The Kentucky Fried Movie (1977), The Shining (1980), Ragtime (1981), Trading Places (1983), Superman III (1983), Twin Sitters (1994) and Titanic (1997). He also played auto dealer Irwin Lapsey in Shock Treatment (1981), the sequel to The Rocky Horror Picture Show. He has also done voices for many video games, including Fatman in Metal Gear Solid 2: Sons of Liberty, Master Li in Jade Empire, Police Chief Bogen in Grim Fandango, Mimir in the recent video game Too Human, Dean Domino in Fallout: New Vegas expansion "Dead Money", The Dark One in The Mark of Kri, the Kangxi Emperor in Age of Empires III: The Asian Dynasties, Benedict Burgess Batteric III in Infinity Blade III, Chaos Knight, Phantom Lancer, and Rubick in Dota 2, and The venerable Odo and meister Glimmerheim in Dungeon Siege III
He wrote the screenplay for an episode of Amazing Stories titled "The Secret Cinema" (1985) and cowrote an episode of The Comic Strip Presents... titled "Demonella" (1993). His autobiographical book, My Life With Barbra: A Love Story (1997), deals with their relationship and with his gradual realization that he was gay.