Monday, May 2, 2011

May's Space Babe: Barbara Bain

May's Space Babe is none other than the lovely Barbara Bain, as Space: 1999's coolly efficient medical officer, Doctor Helena Russell. Aside from being Moonbase Alpha's top medic, she was also the love interest of Commander John Koenig, played by her then-husband, Martin Landau.

I'll admit that as a kid, I didn't find Ms. Bain to be particularly pretty, and thought she was "old." But, hey, I was a stupid kid. In later years, especially after watching her on the early seasons of Mission: Impossible, I came to appreciate her finely-sculpted, fashion model features and her genuinely impressive dramatic skills. It's a shame that the producers of Space: 1999 seemed to demand from the cast a cold, unemotional (okay, "wooden") acting style reminiscent - like much of the show - of Stanley Kubrick's 2001: A Space Odyssey (of course, in Year Two, the acting style would trend too far the other way...), because Ms. Bain is an actress of considerable range and warmth, and it would have been nice to see more of that talent evident on the show.

Born Millicent Fogel  in Chicago in 1931, Bain was a successful dancer and model before getting into acting. Bain co-starred with husband Martin Landau not only on Space: 1999, but the aforementioned Mission: Impossible, as well, for which she became the first person to win three consecutive Emmy Awards for "Best Actress."  In recent years, she has contributed much of her time to various charities.

ADDENDUM  5/4/11: Here's a LINK to a recent interview with Ms. Bain!


  1. Wow...she's 80? I always liked her character on Space 1999, but I too found her to be a bit old on the show. Maybe it was just Martin Landau being paired with her that caused that misconception.

  2. I'd have to say my favorite Barbara Bain gig is none of those, but this:

    And this one is great as well:

    Honestly, seeing her do comedy opened my eyes to how good she could be!

  3. Thanks for posting that particular 'between takes' shot of Ms Bain from the ep "Matter of Life and Death"... it's one of my favorites of her from Space: 1999. Her portrayal of Dr Helena Russell as a coolly professional chief medical officer came long before ST:TNG's Beverly Crusher was even thought about, and in one episode ("The Last Sunset") she even got to LEAD a field mission. Man, that show was ahead of its time! (I guess that's why after all these decades, it's still one of my absolute favorite sf shows.)

    Space: 1999 had lots of babes in it, including Sandra & Tanya from Season 1. (If Dr Russell was too old for some, Sandra may have been too young, but Tanya seemed right in between... just right, to paraphrase the old 'Three Bears' fairy tail. Ha, ha!) And of course, everyone's fave, Maya, from Season 2 (though actress Catherine Schell actually debuted as The Servant of the Guardian in Season 1's "Guardian of Piri").

    Of course, Moonbase Alpha's support staff--the uncredited extras and occasional guest stars--were also worthy of placement in the Space Babes category, too!


  4. Ms. Bain was portrayed a lot prettier in the 2nd season in my opinion. Her whole look seemed younger and a lot less "wooden."

  5. Currently I am rewatching some eps of Space 1999 for t first time in almost fourty years. And I am struck by how much Ms Bains Russell character comes off as
    being similar to Dr. Crusher in inflection
    and how her lines are delivered and such.

    I know Dr. Russell came first. But as I
    haven't seen Space 1999 for almost fourty
    years I had simply forgoten all about her. I
    wonder how familiar Gates McFadden
    was w Dr. Russell, if it is just me or what.