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Betty Garrett (1919 - 2011)


hlywdkjk
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Betty Garrett (1919 - 2011)

 

Actress Betty Garrett has passed away of natural causes at the age of 91.

http://blogs.laweekly.com/stylecouncil/2011/02/stage_raw_betty_garrett_dies_a.php

 

She is the widow of actor Larry Parks, who passed away in 1975.

 

She received a star on the Walk Of Fame in a ceremony attended by her godson, Jeff Bridges.

http://projects.latimes.com/hollywood/star-walk/betty-garrett/

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Her legacy includes appearances on stage and in television. But it is her film work that is probably the source of affection for most members here.

 

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*Take Me Out To The Ballgame*

 

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*Neptune's Daughter*

 

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*On The Town*

 

*Neptune's Daughter* was screened at very special Opening Night event at the First TCM Classic Film Festival in 2010

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(Photo Courtesy of TCM's Facebook Page)

 

Ms. Garrett was in attendance along with Esther Willams. The screening was preceeded by a performance by "The Aqualillies" water ballet company.

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(Photo Courtesy of TCM's Facebook Page)

 

*On The Town* can be seen this week on TCM in previously scheduled showing on the 18th.

 

Kyle In Hollywood

 

Edited by: hlywdkjk on Feb 13, 2011 8:16 AM

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Aww, Betty was a really special lady. She certainly had a bright spunky personality that came through film. I never would have guessed she was 91, all that spunk kept her vivacious.

 

I loved seeing her as recurring charactor Irene Lorenzo on ALL IN THE FAMILY, as wife of another great Vincent Gardenia. Although many disregard TV appearances by former film or Broadway greats, I find it exciting to spot these talented people in their golden years. Their talent just bursts out of the small screen and elevates those actors who only had TV experience.

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RIP, Betty Garrett, you lit up every movie you were in. Until reading the AP obit, I was not aware that the blacklist was a factor in her near-disappearance from movies. I guess if I gave it any thought at all, I blamed the decline of mega-musicals.

 

Has TCM ever produced or hosted an in-depth look at the blacklist and its effects? I know the topic comes up frequently, in mentions of Dalton Trumbo and other talented people known to have taken a hit from Congressional hustlers and busybodies in the '50s, but I think this chapter of film history could be a worthy focus of a series or a month-long focus, a la pre-Code women or African-Americans in film. Was it already done, and I missed it?

 

Looking forward to a top-notch "TCM Remembers" video Mass card for Miss Garrett, who earned it.

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*"Has TCM ever produced or hosted an in-depth look at the blacklist and its effects?"* - eebyo

 

I believe there was a monthly Spotlight dedicated to the Hollywood Blacklist in the late '90s. I think I've seen a few references to the Blacklist programming on TCM webpages stored at archive.org. But I personally don't remember any details from the event.

 

The Associated Press Obit -

http://www.nytimes.com/aponline/2011/02/13/arts/AP-US-Obit-Betty-Garrett.html?ref=entertainment

 

Los Angeles Times Obit -

http://www.latimes.com/news/obituaries/la-me-betty-garrett-20110213,0,2531900.story

 

Kyle In Hollywood

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Here in the City of Angels, she was a great friend of the Los Feliz Public Library and would give talks there about once a year to standing room only crowds.

 

I'm glad we got to see her last year at the TCM Festival. She and Esther Williams were terrific together talking about the making of the film and she was, as she has always been, quite witty, especially when joking with Esther.

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Kyle,

 

I've been out of town and just read your post. Betty Garrett gone. What a lovely person. I met her in the early eighties in SF. What a nice, funny, enthusiastic, and giving person she was. I'm so happy that I met her then and that so many of us were able to see her in April, at the TCM Festival. Once again, we are so lucky to have film. It captures some of the specialness of those talented personalities.

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Yes--She and her husband Larry Parks were both blacklisted. I always had the upmost respect for them and how they maintained their dignity, when so many others lost theirs. They both were such tremendously talented people, whose leagcy is their contribution to the American Hollywood musical.

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Something I don't understand about a lot of people; why so much emphasis on when a person died instead of being positive and celebrating their birthday. A few days ago was the anniversary of my mother's death. I certainly was aware of it, but I prefer to celebrate her birthday, that was always a day of good memories.

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Well TCM does celebrate birthdays quite often. In March a whole month will be dedicated to Jean Harlow's centennial. And throughout the year films are scheduled for birthday tributes.

 

But when someone just dies it makes sense for TCM to do a tribute as well. It's not emphasizing their death but celebrating the life they lived.

 

However I just realized why they decided to make the tribute on May 23rd. That would have been Betty Garrett's 92nd birthday. So in this case they are doing a bit of both.

 

Edited by: Kinokima on Feb 14, 2011 3:58 PM

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Her husband Larry Parks was an admitted Communist who tried to disavow it only when questioned and saw his career disappearing. Why would you have respect for anyone who is a committed communist and the legacy and facts that prevail about Communism and its treatment of human beings, especially those in Hollywood who have it so good? *I have no idea whether she or Larry kept their dignity or not, but that is very easy to say when they are sitting in their cozy homes while millions suffered starvation and torture in the gulags of Russia.* People who support these Hollywood lefties of yesteryear or today only do so because they know nothing of the history of the Communist Party and love to romanticize about it, just like they do in movies. I liked Betty Garrett and I hope she rests in peace. But to say they were blacklisted isn't telling the whole story. They blacklisted themselves because of their associations and bad decisions to be card carrying members of the Communist Party of America, as did everyone else who was blacklisted in the 1950's. Stupid is as stupid does.

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As an American, I believe that everyone is entitled to have their own political beliefs, no matter how much I might disagree. Also, their political beliefs should not determine whether they are allowed to work or not, only their ability to perform the job. To believe otherwise is to be a totalitarian of some kind, that is akin to the Communists.

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> SoCalGal16 . . .

 

It is true that both Betty and Larry refused to admit to their past political affiliations in public. However, Larry would finally come to discuss with the House Un-American Activities Committee his member in the communist party. The reasons for this are plain and simple along the lines that both were being persecuted and harassed to reveal events, situations and the activities of people they didn?t know about and no longer had any interest in. Both Betty and Larry had by 1951, left the party and all its trappings. Anyway, Larry really couldn?t have been such a hardcore card carrying communist, because he worked for one of the most ruthless and toughest studio bosses, Harry Cohn of Columbia Pictures. In time, Larry saw the handwriting on the wall and little by little his career diminished before him. The damage of this political affiliation had deeply cut a scar into both his career and his personal life. He suffered several breakdowns and while Betty?s career managed to stay solvent, she never once ever felt a need to abandon him, regardless of the hardships that ensued. Theirs was in a strong sense of emotional thinking, one of the greatest love stories of Old Hollywood and that?s a fact there is no way around.

 

One of the most touching stories that concerns Betty was the time Larry had passed away in 1975. His death almost went unnoticed and with little in the way of any news coverage. There wouldn?t be much in the way of many people from the past coming forward to pay their respects to Larry and comfort Betty. However, one very big entertainer did, when upon hearing about Larry?s death, called Betty to ask if she needed any help in her time of sorrow. The person was none other than Frank Sinatra. Betty would for the rest of her life, talk about Frank?s kindness to her and how he would for the rest of his life, stay in touch with her. While she wasn?t such a big star, she was a wonderful one and in time, with a new career in television ahead of her, Betty managed somehow to quell the hardships of the past and she emerged a new and highly respected performer.

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