Barbara Trentham- John Cleese’s Ex-wife


Most certainly sad news when we learned Mrs. Trentham, 68, died on Aug. 2 of complications from leukemia at Northwestern Memorial Hospital in Chicago. In the picture above you can see a young beautiful Barbara next to her then husband British actor/comedian John Cleese.

Barbara grew up to become an actress as well, she was born August 27, 1944, in Brooklyn, NY. She moved to Weston, CT, as a child and graduated from Staples High School in Westport, CT, in 1962. She graduated from Mount Holyoke College in 1966 and moved to England that year to study art at the Ruskin School of Drawing and Fine Art at the University of Oxford.

barbara TRENTHAM pic

In 1967 the 23-year-old married Giles Trentham but the union ended in divorce in 1970. Before hitting the big screen and moving to L.A to pursue an acting career she worked as a model in London during the early 1970s; her modeling jobs landed her covers in several magazines including the English edition of Vogue. In the mid 70’s she packed her bags to L.A but having a change of heart that she wasn’t an actress she instead choose to work as a reporter and a producer of Those Amazing Animals until 1980, when she met and married British comedian and writer John Cleese and moved back to London. The couple tied the knot in 1981 she gave John his second child, a daughter named Camilla Cleese born in 1984 but this relationship also ended in divorce in 1990.

Despite her work in modeling and T.V, the talented Barbara had a true passion; oil painting. In 1993 she moved to Chicago, where she met George Covington, a lawyer. She got married for the third and final time to Covington in 1998 and lived in Lake Bluff, IL.

During her acting career she participated in supporting roles including, 1972 “The Possession of Joel Delany” 1975 “Rollerball” 1976 “Sky Riders” the 1976 T.V series “Star Maidens” 1978 T.V movie “Death Moon” and 1979 T.V series “A Man Called Sloane”. Also during this time she hanged out with Hollywood A-listers like Jack Nicholson and Warren Beatty.

Once settle with her new life in Lake Bluff, Barbara built an art studio at their home which became a gathering place and a source of inspiration for local artists. She co-founded a local artist organization, Artists on the Bluff. In about 2003 she began spending a substantial part of each year in Jackson Hole, WY, where the western landscape inspired her art. She became active in the Art Association of Jackson Hole and organized and led events at the Association’s art fairs.

She was represented at various times in Jackson by Center Street Gallery, Lindsay McCandless Contemporary, and Willow Creek Home Furnishings.

babara trentham obituary

She is survived by her husband, George Covington, her daughter Camilla Cleese, her brother Robert Schilling, and her nephew Alex Schilling, as well as four step daughters, Karen Covington, Jean Covington, Sarah Covington, and Cynthia Cleese.

Her ex-husband John said in a statement

“Barbara was a wonderfully kind person and a superbly talented artist”

Barbara who also had dinner with prince Charles while she was married to Cleese, was no snob instead she pursue in life her dreams and was truly happy in the outdoors where she liked wearing cowboy hats; many don’t get to fight for what they really want but she did.

May she rest in peace.