Betty Garrett and Other Songs: A Life on Stage Screen

Betty Garrett, Author, Ron Rapoport, With Madison Books $25.95 (336p) ISBN 978-1-56833-098-3
From her early days in a chorus line and then in an award-winning performance on Broadway in Call Me Mister (1946), musical-comedy actress Garrett seemed destined for a distinguished career. She enjoyed further success in Hollywood, where she was typecast as the heroine's comic best friend in films including Take Me Out to the Ballgame and On the Town. Along the way, she married actor Larry Parks, who gained fame for playing Al Jolson in The Jolson Story and Jolson Sings Again but whose career was ultimately destroyed when he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee. Both he and the author were seemingly blacklisted as a result of his admission of Communist Party membership, and, compounding that blow, were shunned by left-wing friends who believed that Parks had named names--a charge that Garrett fervently discredits here. With two children to support, Parks turned to working as a building contractor, while Garrett slowly began to pick up acting work. They frequently toured Britain together, and did summer stock. By the 1970s, Garrett found a new audience by playing roles in TV's All in the Family and Laverne and Shirley. Upbeat even when describing down moments, Garrett, writing here with Chicago Sun-Times editor Rapoport, fills her memoir with engaging anecdotes about the many famous people with whom she's worked, including the young Orson Welles, Danny Kaye, Carol Channing, Frank Sinatra and scores of others. Now 78 and still performing, if Garrett were to pick a motto, it would likely be that of Molly Brown: ""I ain't down yet!"" 52 b&w photos not seen by PW. (Dec.)
Reviewed on: 12/01/1997
Release date: 12/01/1997
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Open Ebook - 360 pages - 978-1-4617-1031-8
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