Barbara Meek, Stage and TV Actress, Dies at 81

Barbara Meek, a veteran member of the Trinity Square Repertory Company in Providence, R.I., and an actress on television, died unexpectedly in Providence on October 3, 2015. She was 81.

Meek joined Trinity Rep in 1968 and appeared in more than 100 Trinity Rep stage productions. Highlights of Meek’s career at Trinity Rep include leading roles in “Ma Rainey’s Black Bottom,” “Boesman and Lena” and “Master Class.” Meek also appeared in the Broadway production of “Wilson in the Promised Land.” Her final Trinity Rep appearance was in a production of “Julius Caesar.”

Meek is best known to television viewers for playing the character of Ellen Canby on “Archie Bunker’s Place.” Other television credits include Adrian Hall’s adaptations of “Brother to Dragons,” “The House of Mirth” and “Life Among the Lowly,” all broadcast on PBS.

Meek was born in Detroit. As an undergraduate she was asked to join Wayne State University’s graduate theater program.

In 1965 Meek toured with the United Services Organization, performing for wounded soldiers on Okinawa and other U.S. Army bases. In 1968, she joined the Trinity Repertory Company with her husband, Martin Molson, where they debuted together in “Brother to Dragons.”

Meek received the 2004 Pell Award for Excellence in the Arts. She also received the Foundation for Repertory Theatre Award, the Norton Prize for Sustained Excellence and the Edward Bannister and Christiana Bannister History Award.

Meek was predeceased by her husband, Martin Molson, and her brother Harold Meek. She is survived by her daughter, Leslie Matuko Molson.

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