Betty Garrett, American actress, Died at 91

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Dead, Betty Garrett on February 12, 2011, he was an American actress, comedienne, singer and dancer who originally performed on Broadway before being signed to a film contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer.

Garrett was born in Saint Joseph, Missouri, the daughter of Elizabeth Octavia (née Stone) and Curtis Garrett.

Shortly after her birth, her parents relocated to Seattle, Washington, where her mother managed the sheet music department in Sherman Clay, while her father worked as a traveling salesman.

Born on February 12, 2011 in Saint Joseph, Missouri, the daughter of Elizabeth Octavia (née Stone) and Curtis Garrett, shortly after her birth, her parents relocated to Seattle, Washington, where her mother managed the sheet music department in Sherman Clay, while her father worked as a traveling salesman.

When Garrett was eight years old, her mother married the fiancé she had jilted in order to marry Curtis. They settled in Regina, Saskatchewan, where her new stepfather worked in the meat packing industry.

A year later her mother discovered her new husband was involved in a sexual relationship with his male assistant, and she and Betty returned to Seattle.

After graduating from public grammar school, Garrett enrolled at the Annie Wright School in Tacoma, which she attended on a full scholarship.

There was no drama department there, and she frequently organized musical productions and plays for special occasions. Following her senior year performance in Twelfth Night, the bishop urged her to pursue a career on the stage.

Betty Garrett was a sunny comic actress, dancer, and singer with a handful of Hollywood musicals and Broadway roles under her belt when the Communist scare of the 1950s brought her thriving career to a screeching and ugly halt.

She and Larry Parks, her husband and an Oscar-nominated actor, were summoned by the House UnAmerican Activities Committee and questioned about their Communist involvement.

As the drama played out, a very pregnant Garrett was never called to testify, but her husband was.

His admission that he had briefly belonged to the Communist party, and his refusal to name others who also belonged, earned him a spot on the Hollywood blacklist.

Garrett and Parks suffered repercussions both professionally and socially.

Garrett and her husband took to the stage and appeared in stock productions.

Parks never quite managed to shake the blacklist, although he did win a role in a John Houston film in 1962.

Garrett managed to return to work in 1955, when she starred in My Sister Eileen, a musical by Harry Cohn. She left film work, however, because of her husband’s continued status as persona non grata.

Parks made a living from Real Estate ventures, while Garrett worked in television.

She held recurring roles on the television series Laverne and Shirley and All in the Family.

Garrett received a star on the Hollywood Walk Of Fame in 2003.

On the occasion of her 90th birthday in 2009, she was honored at a celebration sponsored by Theatre West at the Music Box Theatre in Hollywood.

 

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