Broadway Star Betty Garrett Dies at 91


Broadway star Betty Garrett died in Los Angeles at the age of 91.  Garrett died Saturday at Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, most likely from an aortic aneurysm, according to her son Garrett Parks. Garrett was in good health and even taught her musical comedy class at Theater West on Wednesday night. Theater West is a non-profit organization which she helped found. Friday, she checked into the hospital with heart trouble and died the next morning, with her family at her side. 

The actress was best known as the girl in love with Sinatra in both "Take Me Out to the Ballgame" and "On the Town," in 1949. She was also known to television audiences for "All in the Family" and "Laverne and Shirley."

Garrett's movie career was cut short, mainly due to the Red Hunt, which forced her husband and fellow actor Larry Parks to testify about his prior membership in the Communist Party.

Garrett's stage career took off with her performance of "South America, Take It Away" in "Call Me Mister" on Broadway in 1946. At 27 she signed a contract with MGM. "She was very proud of the MGM musicals," Parks said.

Her other film credits included "Words and Music," "My Sister Eileen" and "Neptune's Daughter." Garrett received an Emmy nomination in 2003 for her guest role on "Becker"

Garrett's stage credits include MY ONE AND ONLY (Reprise, Los Angeles 2006), FOLLIES (Roundabout 2001), MEET ME IN ST. LOUIS (1989), THE SUPPORTING CAST (1981), BETTY GARRETT AND OTHER SONGS (Los Angeles, 1974), A GIRL COULD GET LUCKY (Broadway, 1964), SPOON RIVER ANTHOLOGY (Broadway, 1963), BEG, BORROW, OR STEAL (Broadway, 1960), BELLS ARE RINGING (Broadway, 1956), CALL ME MISTER (Broadway, 1946), LAFFING ROOM ONLY (Broadway, 1944), JACKPOT (1944), SOMETHING FOR THE BOYS (1943), LET FREEDOM SING (1942), OF V WE SING (1942).

In addition to Garrett Parks, a composer, his wife Karen Culliver Parks and her granddaughter Madison Claire Parks, she was survived by her son Andrew Parks, an actor, and his wife Katy Melody. The family did not plan to have a funeral, but is planning a memorial service for later in the month. For more information, click here.