Actress Betty Garrett died Saturday in Los Angeles. She was 91. KPCC’s Shirley Jahad has more on her 65-year career in show business.
Betty Garrett's career followed the arc of the last century. She starred on stage, screen and later television.
Garrett performed on Broadway in the 1930s. In the '40s, she starred in sparkly MGM musicals before her career was tarnished by the Red Scare of the '50s.
In the musical “On the Town,” Garrett played a spunky New York City cab driver. She flirted with a sailor on leave, played by Frank Sinatra. Then Sinatra and Garrett sing a duet called "You’re Awful."
Garrett stopped getting work soon after her husband, the actor Larry Parks, was accused of being a communist and blacklisted.
She said in a 1998 interview that "it was a dark and foolish period." By the '70s, she was a regular on popular TV sitcoms, playing a neighbor on “All in the Family” and a landlady in “Laverne and Shirley.” She also founded a non-profit theater company called Theater West in North Hollywood and taught classes there as recently as the last couple of weeks.