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Garrett, Betty 1919–

GARRETT, Betty 1919–


Born May 23, 1919, in St. Joseph, MO; daughter of Curtis and Elizabeth Octavia (maiden name, Stone) Garrett; married Larry Parks (an actor and building contractor), September 8, 1944 (died, 1975); children: Andrew (an actor), Garrett (a composer). Education: Attended schools in Tacoma, WA; trained for the stage at the School of the Theatre and the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York. Avocational Interests: Painting and ceramics.


Actress, director, and singer. Appeared in a musical revue at the Pauline Edwards Theatre, New York City, 1940; made London debut with a program of songs with husband, Larry Parks, Palladium, 1950; in vaudeville, U.S. and Canadian cities, 1952; previously worked as an elevator operator and shop girl.


Actors' Equity Association, American Federation of Television and Radio Artists.

Awards, Honors:

Donaldson Award, best musical comedy performance, 1946, for Call Me Mister; Golden Globe Award, best supporting actress—television, 1975, for All in the Family; Emmy Award nomination, outstanding guest actress in a comedy series, 2003, for Becker; Star on Hollywood Hall of Fame, 2003; L.A. Drama Critics' Circle Award, 1995, for lifetime achievement; L.A. Stage Board of Governors award for Career Achievement, L.A. Ovation Awards, 2004.


Stage Appearances:

(Stage debut) Danton's Death, Mercury Theatre, New York City, 1938.

Railroads on Parade, World's Fair, New York City, 1939.

You Can't Sleep Here, Barbizon–Plaza Theatre, New York City, 1940.

A Piece of Our Mind, Mail Studios, New York City, 1940.

All in Fun, Majestic Theatre, New York City, 1941.

Of V We Sing, Concert Theatre, New York City, 1942.

Let Freedom Sing, Longacre Theatre, New York City, 1942.

Mary Francis and understudy for the role of Blossom Hart, Something for the Boys, Alvin Theatre, New York City, 1943.

Sergeant Maguire, Jackpot, Alvin Theatre, 1944.

Singer, Laffin' Room Only, Winter Garden Theatre, New York City, 1944.

Call Me Mister, National Theatre, New York City, 1946.

Ella Peterson, Bells Are Ringing, Shubert Theatre, New York City, 1958.

Clara, Beg, Borrow, or Steal, Martin Beck Theatre, New York City, 1960.

Reader, Spoon River Anthology (staged reading), Booth Theatre, New York City, 1963–64.

Penny Moore, A Girl Could Get Lucky, Cort Theatre, New York City, 1964.

Who's Happy Now?, Mark Taper Forum, Los Angeles, 1968.

Call Me Mister, National Theatre, 1969—.

Something for the Boys, Alvin Theatre, 1969—.

Betty Garrett and Other Songs, Los Angeles, 1974–75.

Mae, The Supporting Cast, Biltmore Theatre, New York City, 1981.

Sarah McKendree Bonham, Quilters, Mark Taper Forum, 1984.

Katie, Meet Me in St. Louis, George Gershwin Theater, New York City, 1989–90.

Tom Tom on a Rooftop, Theatre West, Los Angeles, 1997.

Happy Lot!, Theatre West, 1998.

Tallulah & Tennessee, Theatre West, Hollywood, CA, 1999.

Hattie Walker, Follies, Belasco Theater, New York City, 2001.

Also appeared as lead dancer with the Martha Graham Company, 1938.

Major Tours:

Meet the People, U.S. cities, 1941.

Marion Maxwell, The Anonymous Lover, U.S. cities, 1952–53.

Gloria, The Tiger, and Sylvia, The Typists, U.S. cities, 1965.

Karen Nash, Muriel Tate, and Norma Hubley, Plaza Suite, U.S. cities, 1968–70.

Catherine Reardon, And Miss Reardon Drinks a Little, U.S. cities, 1972.

Also appeared in Betty Garrett and Other Songs, San Francisco, CA, New York City, and London.

Stage Director:

Spoon River Anthology, Theater West, Hollywood, CA, 2002.

Film Appearances:

(Film debut) Miss Grady, Big City, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1948.

Peggy Lorgan McNeil, Words and Music, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1948.

Brunhilde "Hilde" Esterhazy, On the Town, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1949.

Star of Tomorrow, 1949.

Betty Barret, Neptune's Daughter, Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1949.

Shirley Delwyn, Take Me Out to the Ball Game (also known as Everybody's Cheering), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1949.

(In archive footage) Herself, The Costume Designer (short film), RKO Pictures, 1950.

(Uncredited) Moments in Music (short film), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1950.

Ruth Sherwood, My Sister Eileen, Columbia, 1955.

Linda Atlas, The Shadow on the Window, Columbia, 1957.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) Herself, That's Entertainment! (documentary), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1974.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) Herself, That's Entertainment, Part II (documentary), Metro–Goldwyn–Mayer, 1976.

Herself, Broadway: The Golden Age, by the Legends Who Were There (documentary; also known as Broadway, Broadway: The Golden Age, and Broadway: The Movie), Dada Films, 2003.

Television Appearances; Series:

Irene Lorenzo, All in the Family (also known as Those Were the Days), CBS, 1973–75.

Mrs. Edna Babish De Fazio, Laverne and Shirley (also known as Laverne & Shirley & Company and Laverne & Shirley & Friends), ABC, 1976–81.

Television Appearances; Movies:

Veronica, The Long Way Home, CBS, 1998.

Television Appearances; Specials:

Mary Hallen, Who's Happy Now?, PBS, 1975.

Gene Kelly … An American in Pasadena, CBS, 1978.

Catherine, All the Way Home, NBC, 1981.

Herself, The American Film Institute Salute to Gene Kelly (also known as The Best of Gene Kelly), 1985.

Legacy of the Hollywood Blacklist (documentary), PBS, 1987.

(Uncredited; in archive footage) Herself, MGM: When the Lion Roars, TNT, 1992.

Ethel Merman: There's No Business Like Show Business (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 1999.

Ann Miller: I'm Still Here (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2000.

Herself, All in the Family: The E! True Hollywood Story (documentary), E! Entertainment Television, 2000.

Herself, TVography: Laverne & Shirley (documentary), Arts and Entertainment, 2001.

Herself, Gene Kelly: Anatomy of a Dancer (documentary), PBS, 2002.

Entertainment Tonight Presents: Laverne and Shirley Together Again, ABC, 2002.

Television Appearances; Pilots:

Susannah Somerset, Somerset Gardens, ABC, 1989.

Television Appearances; Episodic:

Lorry Erskine, "A Smattering of Bliss," The Ford Television Theatre, NBC, 1955.

Georgia Penland, "The Penlands and the Poole," The Ford Television Theatre, ABC, 1957.

The Art Carney Show, 1959.

Love Is Funny, 1960.

The Best of Anything, 1960.

Ellen Pennington, "Mr. Pennigton's Machine," The Lloyd Bridges Show, CBS, 1962.

Margaret Ruskin, "Escape into Black," The Fugitive, ABC, 1964.

Mrs. McCoy, Julie's mother, "Julie's Dilemma/Who's Who/Rocky," The Love Boat, ABC, 1978.

"Change of Venue," Mr. Merlin, CBS, 1982.

Martha Neilson, "Trouble in Eden," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1987.

Kit Parkins, "Who Killed J. B. Fletcher?," Murder, She Wrote, CBS, 1991.

Sara, "Old Boyfriends," The Golden Girls, NBC, 1991.

Phyllis, "The Mother–in–Law," The Good Life, NBC, 1994.

Thelma, "Ghost Run," Harts of the West, CBS, 1994.

Mrs. Gunders, "Faith, Hope, & Charity," Townies, ABC, 1996.

Agnes, "Out and In," Union Square, NBC, 1998.

Miriam Guber, "Chapter Fifty–Seven," Boston Public, Fox, 2003.

Molly Firth, "Nightmare on Becker Street," Becker, CBS, 2003.


Film Songs:

"Boca Chica," Hit Parade of 1951, Republic Pictures Corp., 1950.


Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage and Screen, Madison Publishing, 1977.

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