Texas actor Barry Corbin has worked alongside Clint Eastwood, Burt Reynolds, Charlie Sheen, John Travolta, and many others during his long career on stage and screen. The Lamesa native’s expressive face and Texas drawl are unmistakable. He has cowboyed up in tons of Westerns, but Corbin is versatile and adventurous. He’s done Shakespeare, slapstick comedy, and one-man plays, and portrayed everything from generals to cops to wise old sages to conniving weasels. Corbin put his brand on Lonesome Dove, No Country for Old Men, Urban Cowboy, and more than 100 other movies while also tackling TV roles on Anger Management, Dallas, Northern Exposure, and many others. One of Barry’s most famous lines of movie dialogue is an ad-lib from WarGames, when he says, “I’d piss on a spark plug if I thought it’d do any good!” Corbin moved to Fort Worth about 25 years ago after discovering he had a grown daughter living here. (Also, he’d grown tired of the Hollywood smog and traffic.) A woman named Shannon called claiming to be his daughter. Barry asked her name, age, and where she was born and put the puzzle pieces together. Barry recalled a fling with a schoolmate during a semester at Texas Tech in the 1960s. One day, the girl told him she was pregnant. Barry promised to marry her. Not long afterward, however, she said she’d been mistaken and wasn’t pregnant after all but no longer wanted to see him. Barry was hurt but said OK and moved on with his life. In reality, the woman moved away at her dad’s insistence, gave birth in secret, and put the child up for adoption without telling Barry. A family in Arlington adopted the baby and named her Shannon. Years later, Shannon was married with children of her own, including one with physical ailments. Shannon needed to find her biological parents to determine genetic information. She hired a detective to track down her birth mother, who revealed her father’s identity. Shannon was shocked to discover her dad portrayed a leading character on Northern Exposure, one of the only TV shows she watched. She called Barry to introduce herself. They bonded on the phone and met in person and bonded more. Barry bought a house here in the mid-1990s, and Shannon and her kids moved in. They’ve been constants in one another’s lives ever since. Barry is a colorful, fascinating character whose eyes flicker with mischief when he talks. The former cutting-horse competitor is a member of the Texas Cowboy Hall of Fame and the Texas Film Hall of Fame. Barry was a friend to the late, great Leon Rausch –– Toast & Jam’s first-ever guest. Leon, who died in May, sang with the iconic swing band Bob Wills and His Texas Playboys. For our jam, Barry chooses the Wills classic “Faded Love” and does his buddy Leon proud. Thanks for the visit, Barry. Didn’t know you could sing so well! See ya on the silver screen! — Jeff Prince


  1. My wife and I met Mr Corbin at Mama’s Pizza sometime in the early 1990’s. When we introduced ourselves I asked him what he was doing in Arlington. He introduced Shannon and said that he just found out she was his daughter and that he had a ranch in the area. I think he said he raised mini-horses. Very personable and a really great actor. Check out his performance in “No Country for Old Men”, standout.

  2. Shannon can be seen dancing with the Dad she just met in the final scene of the Northern Exposure episode, “Midnight Sun.” (season 4, episode 2)

  3. I’ve been in love with Barry Corbin all my life! Such talent! Hoping to get to meet him someday! Who knows? We live near each other!!!

  4. Absolutely wonderful article. The words describe the great man and father he is.
    He means a lot to me. So does his daughter, Shannon.
    They are the light in the darkness. Full of smiles and joy. They help others at all cost.
    I’m proud to know Barry, Jo, Shannon and Mark.

  5. I love Barry Corbin! He certainly is one is a kind and brings so much entrainment to all. I actually met Barry in the ‘60s. He came home from New York at Christmas. He is my husbands cousin. I remember being so excited because we were spending Christmas with a real actor at their grandmothers!