Betty Hutton

Betty Hutton
Bud Fraker / Paramount

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Betty Hutton
Film: North side of the 6200 block of Hollywood Boulevard
Actress | Singer
Born Betty June Thornburg on Feb. 26, 1921 in Battle Creek, Mich.
Died March 11, 2007 of colon cancer in Palm Springs, CA

Betty Hutton was an exuberant singer-actress who shot to Hollywood fame in the 1940s in musicals and comedies such as the madcap classic "The Miracle of Morgan's Creek."

One of Hutton's greatest screen triumphs came in 1950 when she starred as Annie Oakley in the Irving Berlin musical "Annie Get Your Gun," which landed her on the cover of Time magazine.

She followed that by starring as a trapeze artist in Cecil B. DeMille's 1952 drama "The Greatest Show on Earth," winner of the best picture Oscar.

But Hutton's movie career ended a short time later. Although she cashed in on her movie fame, performing a nightclub act in Las Vegas, New York and Europe and made a stab at a television series, she virtually disappeared from the limelight.

Her rise had begun in 1936, when the 15-year-old Hutton took a $15-a-week summer job at a lake resort singing with a local band.

After a smash engagement at Billy Rose's Casa Manana nightclub in New York in 1938, a vaudeville tour with the band and appearances on bandleader Vincent Lopez's late-evening radio show, Hutton struck out on her own in 1940.

She made her Broadway stage debut early that year in the musical revue "Two for the Show," wowing the critics with her "riotous" performance.

She followed that up later in the year with a supporting role in "Panama Hattie," a long-running Cole Porter Broadway musical hit starring Ethel Merman.

Her movie career over, Hutton gave television a try. In 1959, she starred in the short-lived situation comedy "The Betty Hutton Show."

In 1967, Hutton filed for bankruptcy, reportedly having gone through career earnings of more than $9 million. That year, her marriage to her fourth husband, trumpeter Pete Candoli, ended in divorce. Her previous marriages also ended in divorce.

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