So Long Mom! Freaky Friday Actress – Barbara Harris

You might say the ’body swapping’ plot in movies has been around for a while. The most popular aspect of this plotline is when an older person swaps with a younger teen. We have seen this in films like 18 Again! (1988) with Georges Burns, Like Father Like Son (1987) with Dudley Moore,  Vice Versa (1988) with Fred Savage and my favorite, the original Freaky Friday (1977) with Jodie Foster.  Freaky Friday has been made 3 times. In it a mother and daughter swap bodies on a crucial day for both. The mothers in the remakes were Jamie Lee Curtis and Shelly Long.  Of course the 1977 version, for me, has the best mom. It was played by actress Barbara Harris.  Unfortunately, Harris has lost her battle with cancer at 83.

A few years after seeing Harris in Freaky Friday I would see her again in a role where her acting abilities really grabbed my attention. She was in the Disney film The North Avenue Irregulars (1979).  In this comedy Harris leads a group of women from a parish’s Ladies Sodality that is fighting a mob of gambling gangsters.  I think what stood out in both roles is Harris’s portrayal of a woman who is forced to take a stand, and who finds the courage – despite her vulnerability.MSDNOAV EC002
Earlier roles for her include Plaza Suite (1971) where she played the love interest of Walter Matthau, Alfred Hitchcock’s Family Plot (1976) where she played a fake psychic and in Robert Altman’s Nashville (1975) where she’s the one who has the final, calming song in the film. Later she acted in Peggy Sue Got Married (1986), The Seduction of Joe Tynan (1979), and Dirty Rotten Scoundrels (1988).

In 1997’s Grosse Pointe Blank, Barbara Harris’ final role was that of a mom once more, this time to hit man John Cusack.

Writer: Jeff Burson
                                                                                                             Editor: Lesa Burson

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