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1970s / Barbara Colby - Murdered TV Actress
Thirty-six-year-old Barbara Colby's acting career was very much on the upswing in the summer of 1975 when her life was cut short for no apparent reason. She had appeared in occasional TV roles in some of the 1970s most prominent shows such as Medical Center, The FBI, Columbo, The Odd Couple, Gunsmoke, MacMillan & Wife and the Mary Tyler Moore Show. By 1975 she had earned a prominent role as the title character's boss in Phyllis (a spinoff of the Mary Tyler Moore Show). Colby's character was Julie Erskine, a proprietor of a San Francisco photography studio where Phyllis was employed. Three episodes of Phyllis had been taped when Colby and fellow acting colleague James Kiernan were gunned down in a seemingly random act of violence on July 24, 1975. Both had just left an acting class when they were fatally shot in a parking lot in Venice, CA. Colby died almost instantly. Kiernan lived long enough to give the police description of two males who had done the shooting, but he succumbed to his wounds shortly thereafter. Robbery was not a motive as nothing was taken from the two victims. The crime has never been solved.