Barry Newman, Star of ‘Vanishing Point’ and TV’s ‘Petrocelli,’ Dies at 92

The Emmy-nominated actor’s credits also include stints on “The O.C.” and “Nightingales”

barry newman petrocelli
Barry Newman was nominated for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe award for "Petrocelli." (NBC)

Barry Newman, who somehow made souped-up muscle cars look even cooler in the 1971 film “Vanishing Point” and starred in the titular role on NBC’s legal drama “Petrocelli,” has died. He was 92 years old.

Newman died at Columbia University Irving Medical Center on May 11, according to media reports.

Born and raised in Boston, Massachusetts, he took a college course with renowned acting instructor Lee Strasberg, who inspired him to become an actor. After graduating from Brandeis University and serving time in the army, Newman moved to New York City to study with Strasberg.

Newman went on to perform in various Broadway and New York theater shows before moving into feature films like 1971’s “The Lawyer” and, of course, “Vanishing Point,” in which he played Kowalski, a car delivery driver known for transporting hot rods in record time — but with a knack for running into trouble with highway cops.

He went on to star on NBC’s “Petrocelli,” which followed the Harvard-educated lawyer from Boston as he sets up shop in a small Arizona town. The series ran for two seasons through 1976. It garnered Newman nominations for both an Emmy and a Golden Globe Award.

In the years since “Petrocelli” ended, Newman has appeared in several TV series, including “The O.C.,” “Nightingales,” “Ghost Whisperer,” “NYPD Blue,” “L.A. Law” and “Murder, She Wrote.”

He also went on to appear in notable films, including Sylvester Stallone’s “Daylight,” Steve Martin’s “Bowfinger,” and Stephen Soderbergh’s “The Limey” with Peter Fonda.

Newman is survived by his wife, Angela.