Betty Garrett Broadway Star Dies

By: John Lester - Staff Writer
Feb 13, 2021

Broadway Star Dies

Betty Garrett Dies - Broadway star was 91. Betty Garrett, the vivacious Broadway star who played Frank Sinatra’s sweetheart, dies at the age of 91. She played in two MGM musicals before her career was hampered by the Hollywood blacklist.

Garrett died Saturday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, most likely from an aortic aneurysm, said her son, Garrett Parks. The Broadway star had been in good health and taught her usual musical comedy class at Theater West, the non-profit organization she helped found, on Wednesday night. However, she checked into the hospital with heart trouble late Friday.

She was best known as the flirtatious girl in love with the shy Sinatra in “Take Me Out to the Ballgame” and “On the Town.” Later in life Garrett became well-known to TV audiences with recurring roles in the 1970s sitcoms “All in the Family” and “Laverne and Shirley.” Her movie career was brief, largely because of the Red Hunt led by congressmen who forced her husband, actor Larry Parks, to testify about his earlier membership in the Communist Party.

Parks had won stardom and an Academy Award nomination as best actor for his dynamic portrayal of singer Al Jolson in the 1946 “The Jolson Story.” But in 1951, he was called before the House Un-American Activities Committee, and he admitted that he had joined the Communist Party in 1941 and left in 1944 or 1945. Pressed to name his fellow members of the party, he pleaded not to be forced “to crawl through the mud as an informer.”

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