Broadway legend Barbara Cook has died at age 89.
Cook starred in a number of hit musicals, like “The Music Man”, “She Loves Me”, and “Candide”.
1. Cook Was Married to Acting Teacher David LeGrant
Cook married acting teacher David LeGrant in 1952. He passed away in 2011 at age 87.
LeGrant coached a number of successful actors and actresses over the course of his life, including Tobey Maguire, Danny Glover, Carol Burnett, Bernadette Peters, Steve Martin, Walton Goggins, Alyson Hannigan, and Sara Gilbert.
According to Variety, he was born in LA to a father who was a carpenter and a mother who was in the movie industry.
LeGrant worked as a flight engineer in the Army Air Corps during WWII. In the late 1940s, he performed at the Borscht Belt resort, which is where he and Cook met. After marrying in 1952, the couple toured together in the musical “Oklahoma”.
LeGrant studied alongside Marilyn Monroe at the Actors Studio with Lee Strasberg.
2. Cook and LeGrant Divorced in 1965
Cook and LeGrant divorced in 1965. In addition to Adam, LeGrant has a son named Jacob.
According to Variety, it was Cook who persuaded him to become an acting coach.
3. Cook Is Survived By Her One Son
Together, Cook and LeGrant had one child: Adam, born in 1959. On Tuesday, Adam told The NY Post that his mother passed away from respiratory failure.
Speaking to The Post on Tuesday, Adam said, “Vanilla ice cream is the last thing she ate — the God’s honest truth.”
In 2003, Cook spoke about her son coming out to her in an article recorded by The Free Library. In the piece, Cook reflects on her own life and her relationship with her son, saying:
I’ve always felt that I was not a part of the mainstream of life. I don’t know what the hell I mean by that, but it’s the only way I know how to put it. When I had a son, that seemed to connect me more to the stream of life. When Adam told me that [he was gay], I felt, I’m no longer a part of the mainstream. And then my next thought was, My son is not here to make me feel comfortable. He’s here to be the fullest person he can be, and what I have to do is help him fulfill himself as much as I can. And when that came to me, the whole thing lifted. I love him so much. I loved him then, and I love him now… And I like him, that’s the thing.
4. Cook’s Father Left Her and Her Mother at a Young Age
In an interview with NPR in 2016, Cook explained that she grew up in Atlanta during the Depression. Her father left when she was young, and Cook and her mother moved in with her grandmother. “… it was a pretty crowded house. There were three rooms. And my mother and I slept in the middle room with my grandmother and one of her daughters.”
5. Cook Spoke About the Potential of Her Mother Being Mentally Ill in a 2016 Interview
In the same NPR interview, host Terry Gross tells Cook that while reading her memoir, she found herself growing angry with Cook’s mother.”I found myself getting angry with your mother as I read your book. But then I had to pull back and say your mother might have been mentally ill and undiagnosed.” Cook responds by saying:
You know, that never occurred to me during that time because people didn’t talk about that then, you know? We didn’t know that much about mental illness. And I don’t want to paint this too strong – with too strong a brush. I think she had something called – what is it called? – borderline personality disorder. And, you know, she was a good lady in lots of ways, but she didn’t have any idea that she was hurting me sometimes in the things that she would say.