Barbara Dean was born in Cincinnati, Ohio. She moved to New York City and began working as a secretary. In 1920 she made her Broadway debut in the musical Sally. The following year she joined the cast of the Ziegfeld Follies. Barbara had a small role in the 1921 film Forever. She was offered other movies, but she turned them all down. The gorgeous blonde often posed nude for photographer Alfred Cheney Johnston. He said that she was “one of the most beautiful creatures I have ever photographed”. Barbara’s last show business job was in the 1924 Broadway musical Holka Polka.