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Betty Garrett remembers a life of stage, screen and the blacklist

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Legendary actress-singer Betty Garrett, who is being feted for her 90th birthday by Theatre West Sunday at the Music Box at Henry Fonda Theater, endured many slings and arrows during the Hollywood blacklist of the 1950s, which destroyed the film career of her Oscar-nominated husband, Larry Parks (“The Jolson Story”), and caused problems for her to get work. She recently recalled one of the times she was spurned from attending a luncheon.

“I was serving on a committee in Los Angeles,” said Garrett. “It was some charity and we met up at Pickfair — all the ladies who were going to take part in this thing. They went around the room and said how do you want your place card to read? Do you want your professional name or your married name?. So when it got to me, I said ‘Mrs. Larry Parks.’ Ida Koverman, who was Louis B. Mayer’s secretary, took me aside and said ‘You little idiot.’ I didn’t really understand what it was about, but one of women complained that they didn’t want Mrs. Larry Parks at that luncheon. This poor lady called to tell me — she kept saying I am really sorry, I don’t want to do this, but they told me I had to make the phone call.”

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Read more about Betty Garrett here.

-- Susan King


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