Betty Garrett

Betty Garrett
Associated Press

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Betty Garrett
Live: South side of the 6700 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Actress | Singer | Songwriter
Born May 23, 1919 in St. Joseph, MO
Died Feb. 11, 2011 of aortic aneurysm in UCLA Ronald Reagan Medical Center, CA

A fixture in 1940s musicals, Betty Garrett starred opposite Frank Sinatra in "On the Town" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game,' but her antecedents also included an early stint as a Martha Graham dancer and later roles on several television series, including "All in the Family" and "Laverne & Shirley."

The singer, songwriter and actress also survived the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s, during which she and her husband, Larry Parks, plummeted from celebrity to unemployment. Undaunted, Garrett and Parks toured widely in England and managed to raise two sons along the way.

Parks was the first witness at the House Un-American Activities Committee to admit his own membership in the Communist Party and name others. His career never recovered, but Garrett went on to appear in several TV shows.

In 2007, she premiered a musical revue in Los Angeles, "Betty Garrett: Closet Songwriter," and joked that her son advised her to reveal her age (then 88) early on in the show, just for the hearty round of applause it would elicit.

Several composers, including Garrett, contributed the music, but the lyrics were entirely written by Garrett, a "closet songwriter" since her earliest memory.

Garrett died Feb. 11, 2011, of an aortic aneurysm at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center . She was 91.

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