A slim, intense character actor, Barry has had a career that has slowly built up steam since the 1960s. Active as both actor, playwright and director in experimental theater, he has worked with such NYC groups as Open Theater, The New York Shakespeare Company and Living Theater. Barry made his Broadway debut in "The Leaf People" (1975) and also appeared off-Broadway in "Landscape of the Body" (1977), "Curse of the Starving Class" (1978), "Antigone" (1982) and "Once in Doubt" (1989).
Barry--like many New York actors--eked out his living by appearing on such soaps as "One Life to Live", "As the World Turns", "All My Children", "Texas" and "The Doctors". He played the veteran officer who was the boss of Paul Sorvino on TV's "The Oldest Rookie" (CBS, 1987-88) and has also made guest appearances on "Scarecrow and Mrs. King", "L.A. Law", "Melrose Place" and in a recurring role of a US Senator on "The X-Files". Beginning with "Daddy, I Don't Like It Like This" (CBS, 1978), TV-movies have also provided good roles for the actor. He has had good supporting parts in "The Face of Rage" (ABC, 1983), "Slow Burn" (Showtime, 1986), the miniseries "Drug Wars: The Camarena Story" (NBC, 1990), "Two-Fisted Tales" (Fox, 1992), "Between Love and Hate" (ABC, 1993) and "Fugitive Nights: Danger in the Desert" (NBC, 1993).
But it has been on the big screen where Barry has shone. Since his debut in the 1986 teen comedy "Playing for Keeps", he has been a frequent player. Not all of his films or roles have been stellar, of course, but among the high points have been appearances as Tom Cruise's bitter father in Oliver Stone's "Born on the Fourth of July" (1989), as the wealthy expedition leader in "K2" (1991), as a cop in the underrated "The Ref" (1994), and as the father of one of Sean Penn's victims in Tim Robbins' "Dead Man Walking" (1995). Barry also portrayed a deranged gunman who holds a group of men hostage in a sleazy nightclub in "Headless Body in Topless Bar" (also 1995) and appeared as Chris O'Donnell's adversary in the film adaptation of John Grisham's "The Chamber" (1996).