Barbara Feldon (born March 12, 1932) is an American character actress who works mostly in the theatre but is primarily known for her roles on television. Her most prominent role was that of Agent 99 on the 1960s sitcom Get Smart. She also worked as a model.[1][2]

Early life

Feldon was born as Barbara Anne Hall in Bethel Park, Pennsylvania, near Pittsburgh. She trained at Pittsburgh Playhouse[3] and graduated from Carnegie Institute of Technology (now Carnegie Mellon University) in 1955, with a Bachelor of Arts in drama. In 1957, she won the grand prize on The $64,000 Question in the category of William Shakespeare.


Following some work as a model, Feldon's break came in the form of a popular and much parodied television commercial for "Top Brass", a hair pomade for men. Lounging languidly on an animal print rug, she purred at the camera, addressing the male viewers as "tigers". [4] This led to small roles in television series. In the 1960s, she made appearances in shows such as Twelve O'Clock High, Lorne Greene's Griff, Rowan & Martin's Laugh-In, Flipper, and The Man from U.N.C.L.E. (in "The Never-Never Affair"). In 1964, she appeared with Simon Oakland in the episode "Try to Find a Spy" of CBS's short-lived drama Mr. Broadway, starring film actor Craig Stevens.

Then she was cast as "Agent 99" in the spy comedy series Get Smart opposite Don Adams. She played the role for the duration of the show's production from 1965 until 1970, and was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Comedy Series in 1968 and 1969.

She appeared in the cult-classic TV-movie thriller A Vacation In Hell (1979) with Maureen McCormick and Priscilla Barnes.

Feldon's more recent work includes appearances in Cheers and Mad About You for television. Feldon acted in such feature films as Fitzwilly (1967) and Smile (1975). She was a commercial voice performer for The Dinosaurs! Flesh on the Bone (1993).

Feldon reprised her role as "Agent 99" in made-for-television film Get Smart, Again! (1989) and a short-lived television series also titled Get Smart in 1995. She provided audio commentaries for the DVD release of the original Get Smart series in 2006.

She appeared as a former TV spy star on a 1993 episode of Mad About You, as Diane "Spy Girl" Caldwell.[5]

Personal life

Feldon has served as the actress's last name since her marriage to Lucien Verdoux-Feldon in 1958. The pair divorced in 1967 and Feldon then embarked on a relationship with Get Smart producer Burt Nodella. That union lasted 12 years and upon its ending Feldon moved back to New York City where she resides. She wrote a book, Living Alone and Loving It, in 2003. Barbara Feldon will still occasionally act in off-Broadway plays, but she is "no longer interested in performing". Feldon is now an avid writer, although she has not published since Living Alone and Loving It was published in 2003.


  1. Miller, Laura. At Home With Agent 99. Salon Media Group, Inc.. Retrieved on 26 September 2012.
  2. Rahner, Mark (November 12, 2006). "Classic "Get Smart" on DVD: Q&A with Barbara Feldon, Agent 99". Seattle Times. Retrieved 26 September 2012. 
  3. Conner, Lynne (2007). Pittsburgh In Stages: Two Hundred Years of Theater. University of Pittsburgh Press. pp. 152. ISBN 978-0-8229-4330-3. Retrieved 2011-06-06.
  4. Top Brass commercial
  5. The Spy Who Loved Me, (May 8, 1993)


External links

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