Married Thrice: Meet Barbara Rush’s Husbands and Kids

By Chakku HaruPublished on: April 1, 2024 Updated on: April 28, 2024
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Barbara Rush was an esteemed actress, who graced the silver screen for decades and led a life full of noteworthy achievements and personal experiences. She passed away at the age of 97 on March 31, 2024. Known for her dynamic acting career, Rush’s personal life was equally eventful, marked by her three marriages.

She was last married to a sculptor, but by the time of her death, Barbara was alone, survived by her two children. Her daughter Claudia Cowan confirmed her death. “My wonderful mother passed away peacefully at 5:28 this evening,” Cowan told Fox News.

The following article will explore the story of her love life!

Also Read: How Was Barbara’s Lifestyle Before Her Death? Find Out

Her First Marriage To Jeffrey Hunter

Barbara, who won a Golden Globe Award for her iconic role in the 1953 movie, It Came from Outer Space, first married actor Jeffrey Hunter in 1950. However, their marriage ended in divorce in 1955. They also had a son, Christopher Merrill Hunter, born in 1952.

Rush and Hunter at a movie premiere in Los Angeles,CA.
Barbara and Jeffrey. (Image: Getty)

After divorcing Barbara, Rush’s first husband Hunter was married to model Dusty Bartlett from 1957 to 1967. During his marriage to Dusty, he adopted her son Steele and had two more children, Todd and Scott. Shortly before his death in February 1969, he married actress Emily McLaughlin.

Barbara's son Christopher at the Universal-International Studio barber shop, 1953.
Christopher, at the Universal-International Studio barber shop. (Image: Instagram)

Second Husband Warren Cowan

For the second time, Barbara, known for her role in the television series, Peyton Place (1968-1969), married publicist Warren Cowan in 1959.

Barbara and Warren
Rush and Cowan attended the premiere party for “The Color Of Money” on October 8, 1986, at the Palladium in New York City, New York. (Image: Getty)

The couple divorced in 1969 but shared a daughter, Claudia Cowan, a Fox News Channel reporter.


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A post shared by Claudia Cowan (@claudialcowan)

Recalling their time together, Rush once mentioned to SFGATE how holidays and occasional weekends allowed them to bond, despite their busy careers.

“We actually get to spend some time together,” Barbara said. “Otherwise her busy life as a reporter and mine as an actress and travel addict intersect mostly only on holidays and the occasional stolen weekend.”

Claudia also recalled her childhood.

“We traveled a lot as a family and my mom still has this habit of exploring cities on foot,” she said. “My earliest memories were trying to keep pace with her as she took me on walking adventures, sometimes to really depressing parts of whatever town we happened to be visiting.”

Barbara’s daughter, Cowan, had previously married Steve Baker, a sports agent from San Francisco, and they have twins, Sabrina & Ben Baker.


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A post shared by Claudia Cowan (@claudialcowan)

Besides, Rush-hubby, Warren, with a marital history of five times, experienced four divorces, including two with Rush. From his first marriage to Ronnie Cowan (1946-1955), he had two daughters, Bonnie and Linda, the latter dying tragically in a car accident in 1989.

His third wife was French actress Josette Banzet, whom he married in the early 1970s. His fourth marriage was to Barbara Gilbert-Cowan, lasting until his death on May 14, 2008. Cowan left behind eight grandchildren, including those from his marriage to Gilbert-Cowan, mother to actors Melissa, Sara, and Jonathan Gilbert. He died of cancer in Los Angeles and was laid to rest at Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery.

Third Husband Sculptor Jim Gruzalski

Rush married sculptor Jim Gruzalski, in September 1970. They met at an Engelbert Humperdinck concert at the Greek Theatre in Hollywood, where he sat next to her and immediately caught her eye. Their connection quickly intensified and faced a pivotal decision to either break up or marry, they chose the latter.

Barbara spoke highly of Jim, saying to Beaver County Times, “We both agree that love gives life impetus. Love of fellow man. Love of creativity. Love for each other. Our word is love.”

However, this marriage too ended in divorce in 1973.

A Brief About Her Parents

Barbara was born to Marguerite and Roy Rush. Her father, Roy, a Harvard-educated lawyer, worked for a mining company in the Midwest. He had also spent time in India studying Buddhism with a guru.

He would often take Barbara to various places of worship every Sunday, including Jewish temples, Catholic churches, and Baptist revivals. She once talked about her spiritual upbringing with the Beaver County Times, “I’m not so cynical anymore. I don’t go to church, but I pray a lot.”

About Author: Chakku Haru

Chakku, a seasoned celebrity content writer with a profound passion for the entertainment industry. With years of experience in the field, Chakku specializes in capturing the essence of actors, singers, YouTube stars, and journalists. His expertise extends to providing in-depth insights into their lives, from their career milestones to personal anecdotes that resonate with fans worldwide. Through his captivating writing, Chakku brings the stories of these luminaries to life, leaving readers inspired and engaged