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Actor leaves 'Rocky Horror' after revelation of 2001 sex case

James Barbour cites his wife's pregnancy in withdrawing from Old Globe Theatre production after a San Diego paper published details of his 2008 guilty plea to endangering the welfare of a child.

August 20, 2011|By Tony Perry, Los Angeles Times

Acclaimed Broadway actor James Barbour has departed from a starring role in the upcoming production of Richard O'Brien's "The Rocky Horror Show" at the Old Globe Theatre in San Diego days after it was revealed locally that he admitted seducing a 15-year-old girl.

Old Globe Executive Producer Lou Spisto said in a press release Thursday that Barbour is leaving the show, set to open Sept. 23, "due to issues with his wife's pregnancy."

Barbour, on his Facebook page, said the same: "As my amazing wife is progressing through the second pregnancy we've encountered some unexpected issues and I felt it vital to be with my family during this time."

Neither statement mentioned the local furor over revelations that in 2001 he seduced a girl who visited him backstage after a performance of "Jane Eyre" on Broadway.

According to the New York Times, Barbour admitted in 2008 that he fondled the girl and that a month later engaged in oral sex with her. In exchange for a guilty plea, prosecutors dropped felony counts.

He pleaded guilty to two counts of endangering the welfare of a child, both misdemeanors. Under a plea bargain, he was required to mention the convictions to any manager, producer or assistant producer of any play, movie or television show that employs him.

The case was mentioned several days ago in the San Diego Union-Tribune. A San Diego radio talk show host picked up the fact and criticized the Old Globe for several days in a row for hiring Barbour.

Barbour, 45, was to play the role of Frank-N-Furter in the sometimes raunchy and daring "Rocky Horror Show." Old Globe materials refer to the character as "the devilishly charming transvestite" who helps a "clean-cut couple … discover a time warp of sexual and scientific possibilities."

Last year, Barbour performed in "Nightmare Alley" at the Geffen Playhouse in Westwood.

The Old Globe statement said that a replacement will soon be named. In his Facebook statement, Barbour noted that he has had no understudy for the role.

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