She also attended Cooley High School and Wayne State University, where she won the Eva Woodridge Victor Scholarship and graduated with a bachelor in 1963. Earned her Master’s degree in Theatre from the University of Michigan. She then went to Indiana University to work as the lead actress in their inaugural theatre touring company season. She also began to work on her Ph.D. and taught beginning acting. While at Indiana University, she was granted a Fulbright Scholarship to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art (LAMDA). She then moved to New York to pursue her acting career.
Among Tarbuck’s many televisions credits were roles on ABC soap opera General Hospital (as Jane Jacks), NBC’s Santa Barbara (as Sister Allegra), CBS’s Falcon Crest (as Dr. Randall), ABC’s Dynasty (as Dr. Holt), CBS’ Dallas (as Agnes) and FX’ American Horror Story (as Mother Superior Claudia).
Trained on a Fulbright Grant to the London Academy of Music and Dramatic Art, her New York theater work included “Landscape & Silence” by Harold Pinter, “Water Engine” by David Mamet, Neil Simon’s “Brighton Beach Memoirs” and “Broadway Bound”, Joseph Chaikin’s production of “America Hurrah!”, and “Enter The Night” by Marie Irene Fornes.
Tarbuck’s favorite screen screen roles included the woman with 12 dogs on ER (1994), the aged mother on Cold Case (2003) who comes to terms with her murdered son’s homosexuality, Dwayne Johnson’s mother in Walking Tall (2004), and Kevin McKidd’s mother on Journeyman (2007).