Betty Garrett RIP

“Go to My Place” with Frank Sinatra.

“You’re Awful.”

Both from the 1949 “On the Town.”


From the 1949 “Neptune’s Daughter”

Betty Garrett (1919-2011), star of stage, screen and television, died Saturday morning of natural causes at UCLA Medical Center following a brief illness. She was surrounded by her family at the time of her death. She was 91.

A revered figure in the Los Angeles theatre community, she was the recipient of nearly every artistic award the city could bestow, including Career Achievement Awards from the Los Angeles Drama Critics’ Circle and the Ovation Awards, and the Queen of the Angels Award from L.A. Weekly. She was a founding member of the 49-year-old Theatre West, and was moderator of its Musical Comedy workshop until the time of her death. She frequently appeared on the Theatre West stage. Her final shows there included “Nunsense,” the Los Angeles premiere of Noel Coward’s “Waiting in the Wings,” and a revue, “Betty Garrett, Closet Songwriter.”

A Broadway star, she appeared in thirteen Broadway shows, among them “Call Me Mister,” “Bells Are Ringing,” “The Supporting Cast,” the revival of “Follies,” and the 1963 production of “Spoon River Anthology” originally developed at Theatre West.

She performed a one-woman show, “Betty Garrett and Other Songs,” all over the country, entitling her autobiography after that show.

She appeared in a dozen films, including classic Hollywood musicals including “Words and Music,” “Take Me Out to the Ball Game,” “Neptune’s Daughter,” “On The Town,” “Hit Parade of 1951,” and “My Sister Eileen.”

She was also a popular television performer, best known for her work on “All in the Family,” for which she received a Golden Globe ®, and “Laverne and Shirley.” She received an Emmy ® nomination in 2003 for a guest appearance on “Becker.” Her final TV appearance was on “Grey’s Anatomy” in 2006.

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

A longtime social activist, in her later years she was active in supporting activities of charities assisting those living with HIV/AIDS.

Widowed in 1975 from the late actor Larry Parks, she is survived by her son , actor Andrew Parks and his wife Katy Melody; her son, composer Garrett Parks and his wife, actor Karen Culliver Parks; and a granddaughter, Madison Claire Parks.

A memorial will be planned for a later date. Donations in Ms. Garrett’s memory can be made to Theatre West, the Actors’ Fund, or S.T.A.G.E.

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About Jana J. Monji

I've written for the Rafu Shimpo, LA Weekly, LA Times, Examiner.com and, more recently, the Pasadena Weekly and RogerEbert.com. I formerly worked for a dot-com more interested in yodeling than its customers.

Posted on February 14, 2011, in Movies and tagged , , , , . Bookmark the permalink. Leave a comment.

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