Barbara Bolton Dello Joio
Barbara died peacefully this past Tuesday, September 24, with her two children, Katie Costello Bar-Tur and Ned Costello, holding her hands. Always playful, Barbara referred to herself as a member of the 1925 Birthday Club at Peconic Landing. She would have been 94 years old this December 10th.
Barbara Bolton began her career as an actor in the Golden Age of Television. She appeared with Jack Lemmon in “The Wisdom Tooth” for Studio One, and played numerous ingenue roles with the likes of Tony Randall and Leslie Nielsen on Playhouse 90, The Defenders, Philco Playhouse, Hallmark Hall of Fame and many other shows. She was a life-long member of both the Screen Actors Guild and Actors’ Equity. She studied acting with Sandy Meisner at the Neighborhood Playhouse.
Barbara was a long-time resident of the East End. She first summered in Amagansett in the 1950s and became a full-time resident of East Hampton with her second husband, composer Norman Dello Joio. Barbara frequently acted and directed productions at Guild Hall. She was an active member of the LVIS and spent many hours volunteering for the Bargain Book Store.
Some of Barbara’s fondest professional memories were of the time she lived in Boston when Norman was Dean of B.U.’s School of Fine Arts. In Boston, Barbara returned to her first love, the theater, and created the role of “Mother” in two Jean Shepherd television productions for PBS Boston and WNET. Barbara joined the Massachusetts Center Repertory Company, starring as Mary Tyrone in Long Day’s Journey Into Night, directed by Michael Kahn. Later she performed the roles of Dolly Scupp and Nurse Benson in Bad Habits at Piccadilly Square Theater Company, and delivered an extraordinary performance as Lady MacBeth in completion of her master’s thesis at Brandeis University’s Springold Theater.
Barbara was born in Sioux City, Iowa to Helen Davidson Bolton and Thomas Cornish Bolton. Barbara went East to attend the Baldwin School for Girls where she was the Head of the Drama Club. She knew she wanted to be an actor from the start. After Baldwin, she went on to Sarah Lawrence where she earned her BA.
In 2008, after Norman’s death, Barbara moved to a cottage at Peconic Landing, Greenport. She is survived by her children and their spouses: Katie and Amnon Bar-Tur of Orient and New York City; and Ned and Beverly Costello of Old Lyme, Connecticut; and five step-children. Her five grandchildren are Blair Costello McGregor, Owen Costello, Sasha Bar-Tur Edelstein, Armon Bar-Tur and Gil Bar-Tur. She had three great-grandchildren.
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