Barbara Cowan: Everything About Melissa Gilbert’s Mother

Barbara Cowan: Everything About Melissa Gilbert's Mother

Who is Barabara Cowan?

Barbara Cowan is an American actress and producer best recognized for the production of the movie Unwed Mother, a movie made in 1958 and many others. Barbara Cowan is also known for being the wife of famous American actor Warren Cowan and being previously married to some others. She was born in Brooklyn, New York City, NY, USA, on April 25, 1936, making her 87 years old as of 2023. 

Cowan’s birth sign is known to be Taurus. Barbara Cowan was married to Warren Cowan from November 5, 1995, to May 14, 2008, when he died, but was also married to Manuel Udko, Harold Alfred Ables and Paul Gilbert, whom she divorced. Cowan has three children with different men. In her prime, she was described as a beautiful, tall, elegant lady with high class and a natural talent for acting and movie production.

Her parents were professionals in the movie industry

Barbara Crane Cowan is the daughter of Harry Crane, who lived from April 23, 1914, to September 13, 1999, and contributed to the idea for The Honeymooners and the show’s iconic characters. Harry Crane had two marriages. Stephanie Crane Hirsh and Barbara Gilbert Cowan (who was married to publicist Warren Cowan) were his two children from his marriage to his first wife, Julia Grandes. 

Cowan’s mother, Julia Grandes Crane, born on April 28, 1917, in Connecticut, passed away on December 1, 2018, in Los Angeles, California, at 101. She was an actress, a dancer, and a model. The main characters of “The Honeymooners,” Ralph and Alice, were based on Harry and Julia Crane.

Lillian Reifman (1918-2010) was the second woman Crane married, and they were united in marriage until his passing in 1960. Ed Scharlach, a writer, was trained by Harry Crane by her son from a previous marriage. Jonathan Gilbert, Melissa Gilbert, and Sara Gilbert, all television actors, descended from Harry Crane. Ennis Cosby, the son of Bill Cosby, was acquainted with Stephanie Crane and died in 1997 while traveling to see her. At the Mount Sinai Memorial Park Cemetery, he was buried.

Barbara Cowan is a mother of three children

Barbara Cowan married four men and had children with them. Barbara married famous actor Paul Gilbert and did not produce children of their own but adopted Melissa and Jonathan. Melissa Ellen Gilbert is now an American actress, politician, television producer, director, and former head of the Screen Actors Guild. She was born on May 8, 1964.

In the late 1960s, Melissa Gilbert debuted as a child actor in several television guest spots and commercials. She appeared in the NBC TV Little House on the Prairie from the year 1974 to the year 1983 as Laura Ingalls Wilder, the child of Charles Ingalls. Melissa Gilbert made many television appearances throughout Little House, including The Miracle Worker and The Diary of Anne Frank. 

Jonathan J. Gilbert is also now an American actor best known for playing Willie Oleson on the television series Little House on the Prairie. He was born on April 28, 1967.

Cowan then had a daughter named Sara, her sole biological child, with her second husband, Harold Abeles. Sara Gilbert, an American actress best known for playing Darlene Conner on the ABC comedy Roseanne (1988–1997; 2018), for which she was nominated for two Primetime Emmy Awards, and its spin-off The Conners (2018–present), was born Sara Rebecca Abeles on January 29, 1975. She also had a recurring role as Leslie Winkle on CBS’s The Big Bang Theory, in addition to being the founder and former co-host of the daytime chat program The Chat.

Barbara is an actress and producer by profession

Barbara Cowan, as mentioned earlier, was an actress and producer mainly recognized for the movie Sorority Girl (1957), which depicts the story at a girls’ boarding school, a poor little affluent girl who feels estranged by her mother does a series of progressively cruel crimes against her classmates until she crosses the line.

Barbara Cowan also contributed to the movie Unwed Mother (1958), where Betty (Norma Moore) relocates to Los Angeles from an agricultural village. She is captured by a super-cad (Robert Vaughn), left pregnant, and pregnant. She plans to place the child for adoption after seeing a drunken abortionist but changes her mind. The conclusion is a masterpiece of melodrama from “Peyton Place” director Walter Doniger, a master of the genre.

Another popular piece of her work was The Miracle Worker (1979), which tells the story of a dedicated teacher named Anne Sullivan who leads a deaf and blind girl, Helen Keller, into the light of learnedness.

All about Barbara Cowan’s four marriages

Barbara Cowan married four men. Her first husband was Paul Gilbert, and they married on June 8, 1962, till the year 1972, when they divorced. She married her second husband, Harold Alfred Abeles, on May 26, 1973, and divorced on May 13, 1983. Barbara Cowan then found Manuel (Manny) Udko and wed on May 2, 1988, but once again did not last. She married the famous Warren Cowan on November 5, 1995, until he died on May 14, 2008. Barbara Cowan is currently single.

Barbara Cowan’s first husband, American film and television actor Paul Gilbert (born Ed MacMahon; December 27, 1918 – February 13, 1976) was born in the United States. Gilbert started his career as an aerialist until he suffered a fall; his family were vaudeville artists. He kept up his musical, dancing, and comedic performances. He played a former boxer in the 1954 television series The Duke, who decided to give up fighting to open a reputable nightclub. Gilbert sings, dances, juggles, and plays four instruments in the band in the premiere episode. Gilbert performed in several different roles, including one on The Spike Jones Show in 1954. He played Harrison Boring, the murder victim, in the 1964 Perry Mason episode “The Case of the Blonde Bonanza.” Gilbert also appeared on other vintage television programs, including Lux Video Theatre, The NBC, and The Colgate Comedy Hour.

Barbara Cowan’s second husband, Harold Alfred Abeles, was a lawyer born in 1926 to Victor and Celia Abeles, a welcoming American family. He also has a sister. After graduating from high school, the man went to Vanderbilt University to study law. After earning his degree, he moved to Los Angeles and began working as an attorney in the entertainment sector. He spent a significant portion of his life trying to control media concerns. Harold had the opportunity to work with some of the day’s big names, including the actors George Hamilton and Steve McQueen, the comic Red Buttons, and others.

Barbara Cowan’s fourth husband, Warren Cowan (March 13, 1921 – May 14, 2008), worked as a publicist for the American cinema business. In 1954, he co-founded the public relations firm Rogers & Cowan, and in 1994, he established his own business, Cowan & Associates. At the time of his passing, he was said to be the most formidable and creative publicist.

He was the son of lyricist Rubey Cowan and Grace Cowan, and he was born into a Jewish household in New York City. Stanley, his older brother, was a composer as well. He went to Townsend Harris High School, a specialized institution for young men. While attending the University of California, Los Angeles, Cowan studied journalism and worked as Linda Darnell’s agent. During World War II, Cowan spent three years in the American Army Air Forces.