Region 8 Woman is Childhood Friend of Brad Pitt

JONESBORO--  Talk about a brush with fame!  A Jonesboro woman watched today's Oscar nominees announcement with pride for a classmate she knew from Drama Club.  The "Curious case of Benjamin Button" leads the field of Oscar nominees with 13.   And the actor who brings the film to life, Brad Pitt.

"A very good guy.  Very sweet," said Barr as she described Pitt. "Very nice.  Kind.  Caring.  We would have swim parties and he was alot of fun."

One person watching the Oscar announcement with particular interest, a classmate of Pitt from high school.  Shawna Barr, then Shawna Erney, was in Drama Club with Brad Pitt at Kickapoo High School in Springfield, Missouri.  There he is on the right wearing the football jersey number 18, Shawna's on the left.

Barr has watched Pitt's career unfold since high school in earnest.  Both were members of the Class of 1982.  She says he was quite active in school as a member of the swim team, Student Council, Speech and Drama clubs, as well as, the football basketball and tennis teams.

Always popular, she's not surprised by Pitt's success... but there was a time he came in second--to her date to the school dance.

"I actually went to prom with a gentleman who won Class King," explained Barr.  "And Brad came in second!"

A passion for children is something Barr and Pitt have in common.   Both have adopted children.  And she says it is probably his mother's influence as a child that has helped him feel grounded and find success amidst the scrutiny of Hollywood's sometimes difficult life.

"The values that he brought from the Midwest are so important," said Barr.

Barr says she's cheering Pitt on to the road to Oscar, and is glad to have had memories of him as the lifeguard at the local swimming pool and school classmate.

Not many people can say that.

"I have used it on occasion just a couple of times...when we need a babysitter really badly," laughs Barr.