Betty Garrett

February 13, 2011 by staff 

Betty Garrett, At age of 91 the Actress Betty Garrett passedaway she was in California, (AP) – Betty Garrett, Broadway star who played strong friend of Frank Sinatra in MGM musicals two before her career was hampered by the Hollywood blacklist, died in Los Angeles, said Sunday her son.

Garrett died Saturday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, most often from an aortic aneurysm, said her son, Garrett Parks. She was 91. Garrett has been in good health and has taught her regular class musical at the Theatre West, the nonprofit organization she helped found Wednesday night, but on Friday examined at the hospital with heart problems and he died with her family at her side following morning.

Garrett was best known as the flirtatious girl in love with the shy Sinatra in “Take Me Out to the girlfriend” and “On the Town”, both in 1949 and later in life, she became well known public television with recurring roles in the 1970 sitcom “All in the Family” the “and” Laverne and Shirley. ”

His film career was brief, mainly because of hunting red led by members of Congress who forced her husband, actor Larry Parks, to testify to his previous membership in the Communist Party.

Parks had gained fame and an Oscar nomination as best actor for his portrayal of singer Al Jolson dynamic in 1946 “The Jolson Story”. But in 1951 he was summoned before the committee in the House Un-American Activities, and he admitted he had joined the Communist Party in 1941 and left in 1944 or 1945.

Pressed to name his party colleagues, Parks pleaded not to be compelled “to crawl through the mud as an informant.” He agreed to testify fully closed.

He made another film, “Love Is Better Than Ever” with Elizabeth Taylor, his film career was over.

“It was a dark, crazy, crazy time,” Garrett said in 1998. “It has destroyed many lives and ruined the career of my husband.”

Garrett also had a brief flirtation with the game, but was not called to testify, perhaps, she says, “because I was nine months pregnant with my second son, and they do not think I would be a good witness. ”

Garrett career on stage began to click when she sang the show breathtaking “in South America, Take It Away” in “Call Me Mister” on Broadway in 1946. Who brought Hollywood offers, and at 27 she signed a contract with MGM, and then the king of musicals. His son said outside her family, she reviewed the work that would culminate in MGM’s life.

“She was very proud of the MGM musical,” said Parks.

Particularly memorable “On the Town,” the Betty Comden, Adolph Green and Leonard music on three sailors on leave in New York City Bernstein. She played the taxi driver who has aggressively comic Sinatra (singing of democracy “Come Up to My Place”), while his buddies, Gene Kelly and Jules Munshin, teamed with Vera Ellen and Ann Miller.

Besides the two images with Sinatra, she appeared in “Words and Music” and “Neptune’s Daughter” in which she and Red Skelton sang the Oscar-winning song “Baby it’s cold outside.”

MGM dropped after the testimony of Parks, and she received no offers of films until she co-starred with Jack Lemmon and Janet Leigh in the 1955 version of the music of “My Sister Eileen,” in playing Eileen (Leigh) sister, Ruth.

Cannot find much work in Hollywood, she and Parks on the road with a musical performance. It proved a success in Las Vegas, London and other cities. When bookings thinned, Parks became a homebuilder. He died in 1975.

Betty maintained a busy career in theater and television. She has played recurring roles on “All in the Family” as Edith Bunker talkative friend who duels with Archie, and “Laverne and Shirley” as a hostess who married Laverne’s father.

She received an Emmy nomination in 2003 for Guest Actress in a Comedy Series for an appearance on the Ted Danson sitcom “Becker.”

Over the years, she has also had sporadic roles on Broadway, including parts in “Spoon River Anthology” in 1963 and “Meet Me in St. Louis in 1989. It was back in 2001 on Broadway in a revival Stephen Sondheim’s “Follies.”

In 1998 she published her autobiography, “Betty Garrett and Other Songs,” which was the title of her show-woman.

She also taught and has appeared in plays at the Workshop of the West, where she helped found in 1950.

Asked in 1998 if she kept the bitterness she and Parks have been blacklisted, she replied: “It’s not my nature to be bitter What I feel is profound sadness that we two I think were on the verge of becoming really big stars, including Larry … And he just collapsed. ”

Betty Garrett was born in 1919 in St. Joseph, Mo. His father, a traveling salesman, moved his wife and daughter in Seattle. He died of alcoholism when Betty is 2. She attended Roman Catholic schools if it was not a Catholic.

She showed a talent for dance and theater, and her ambitious mother took her to New York where she won a scholarship to the prestigious Neighborhood Playhouse. Betty is 17.

Garrett debut came with “Danton’s Death” by Orson Welles’ Mercury Theatre in 1938. Later shows included “All in Fun,’’something for the boys,” Room”Laffin only “and” Bells Are Ringing. “She also danced with Martha Graham’s troupe, worked the summer on the Borscht Belt, and even wore a fake jewel in her navel as a chorus girl and 25 per week in the Quartier Latin, Boston.

In addition to Garrett Parks, a composer, his wife Karen Culliver Parks and her granddaughter Madison Claire Parks, her son Andrew Parks, an actor and his wife Katy Melody survive her.

The family has no intention of having a funeral, but was planning a memorial service for later in the month.

Associated Press writer Bob Thomas in Los Angeles contributed to this report.

Copyright © 2011 The Associated Press. All rights reserved.

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