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Betty Garrett Has Died


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Lucy's friend Betty Garrett passed away today at the age of 91. :(


Betty Garrett


We’ve just learned that veteran character actress Betty Garrett passed away this morning at the age of 91. Details will be forthcoming.


Born in 1919, Garret was encouraged to pursue a career on stage after high school by her bishop. A friend of her mother’s also arranged for an interview with Martha Graham who then in turn recommended Garrett for a scholarship at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York City.


During the summer months, she performed in the Borscht Belt where she had the chance to work with legendary talents like Jerome Robbins, Imogene Coca, and Danny Kaye. Garrett made her Broadway debut in 1942 in a revue. Not long after, she was signed to understudy Ethel Merman for a lead role in a Cole Porter musical. She went on to other musicals which led to her being signed to a contract with MGM by Louis B. Meyer. She co-starred in movies like Words and Music, On the Town, Take Me Out To The Ball Game, and Neptune’s Daughter.


In the early 1970s, Garrett had a regular role on Norman Lear’s All in the Family as Edith’s friend and neighbor, Irene Lorenzo. She was Irish Catholic and liberal and frequently battled verbally with Archie. When Irene began working at Archie’s plant, she spoke out about being paid less than the man she replaced. Irene also provided comfort to Edith when she found a lump in her breast and confided that she was a breast cancer survivor. Garrett appeared on the series from 1973 until 1975.


Shortly afterward, Garrett was offered a role on Laverne & Shirley as the girls’ landlady, Edna Babish. The character was a five time divorcee who went on to marry Laverne’s father, Frank. The actress felt that she was underutilized on the series but her musical theatre talents were sometimes worked into the plots.


When it looked like the series was going to end, she committed to The Supporting Cast on Broadway. When Laverne & Shirley was extended for another season, Garrett had to be written out and her character was said to have divorced Frank. Unfortunately, the Broadway show closed after just eight performances.


In her later years, Garrett continued to be active in the theatre world and made guest appearances on TV shows like The Golden Girls, Boston Public, Grey’s Anatomy, and Murder, She Wrote. Garrett was nominated for an Guest Actress Emmy for her work on Becker. She received a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003.


Garrett met her future husband in the mid-forties and after a short courtship the two were married. The had two sons together and remained married until his death in 1975.








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Here are a couple of photos from an event last April promoting Neptune's Daughter with Esther Williams:


At over 90, she was indeed amazing, still performing LIVE ON STAGE until as recently as last year. She was co-host and always made and appearance at the annual S.T.A.G.E. show, a wonderful "variety show" (if you will) and auction to benefit APLA, the Los Angeles AIDS organization. As a matter of fact, if you look at their website and ad for the upcoming show (in April), she was again listed as one of the scheduled performers. While she was feted on stage with a tribute for all her volunteer work "behind the scenes" in just the last year or two (I think it was in conjunction with celebrating her 90th birthday!), I'm sure this year there now will be a lovely tribute to her and all her work for the organization.





For those in the Los Angeles area or even if not but looking for a good reason to come visit or vacation, I can't urge you strongly enough to come and enjoy this marvelous annual event -- it's a chance to not only help a worthy cause, but it's a wonderful evening of live entertainment, featuring many familiar faces from stage and television, some of whom you rarely get to see anymore, not the least of which is our own Carole Cook, who invariably brings the house down in her usual spot of last act next to closing. Other luminaries scheduled to appear this year include Patrick Cassidy, star of Broadway and TV (and for me, the fact that Shirley Jones is his mom is enough for me!), Mary Jo Catlett ("Diff'rent Strokes") and Charlotte Rae ("The Facts of Life" (TV show)), among many others -- including the incomparable CAROL CHANNING!!!



Please check out these websites for more info:




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