Ann Barnes (June 17, 1945 – September 13, 2005) was an actress and pop singer, best known for appearing as Cookie Bumstead on the short-lived television series Blondie (1957), based on the popular Chic Young comic strip.
In the series executive-produced by Hal Roach, Arthur Lake reprised the role of Dagwood, first essayed in the feature films produced by Columbia Pictures in the 1930s–1940’s. “Blondie” was played in the TV series by Pamela Britton.
Barnes played the Bumsteads' daughter as a bright, precocious girl, full of worldly wisdom, and terribly fond of cake. The energetic actress would often dance her way into and out of scenes.
When Blondie was cancelled after 28 episodes, Ann found part-time work as a bit player in other television series, with Leave it to Beaver and My Three Sons being two of the series in which the actress has been positively identified. Several other performances remain unverified.
When even these acting roles dried up, Barnes took a brief stab at a recording career, recording a bouncy pop ballad called "Whispering Wind," circa 1962. Recording under the name Dixie Ann Barnes, she sang about every teenage girl's lament: puppy love. "Whispering Wind" can be found on the pop CD anthologies Soda Pop Babies and Restless Doll. Barnes is pictured on the cover of Soda Pop Babies.
According to the liner notes in Soda Pop Babies, Barnes was crowned the "Princess of Hollywood" for April, 1962, by the Hollywood Chamber of Commerce.
According to long-time colleague and fellow child actor Paul Petersen, Barnes had a difficult childhood at the hands of abusive parents. In her adult life, she rarely spoke about her years in show business, and reclaimed her birth name of Dixie Ann Cheney.
Barnes eventually returned to her birth town of Lansing, Michigan, to retire. She died on September 13, 2005. According to Petersen, the body of this forgotten, exploited talent was not discovered for almost a week.
In 2005, Petersen wrote a loving tribute to his colleague and friend on his website devoted to advocacy for former and current child performers, A Minor Consideration. Entitled "When Sparrows Fall," Petersen recounts the tragic lives and obscure deaths of two underappreciated child actors, Ann Barnes and Tommy Bond.