ADAMS, Mabel
Betty's mother was Mabel Thornburg Adams, a factory worker by day and the owner of a bootleg liquor joint by night. Betty says that her mother would have been a great star if she had been born years later and had the opportunity. She played the guitar and ukulele and taught both Betty and her sister Marion the fundamentals of singing. After battling alcoholism, Mabel died in a tragic house fire in 1962.
An Academy Award-winning film and Broadway stage dancer, choreographer, singer and actor, Fred Astaire's film career spanned a total of nearly three decades. Among his thirty-one musical films was "Let's Dance" with Betty Hutton, released in 1950. Astaire was signed with M-G-M at the time, who loaned him out to Paramount for this film, so Betty could star in "Annie Get Your Gun".
After director Preston Sturges cast Eddie Bracken in "Hail The Conquering Hero" (1944), he became a household name during World War II. Betty appeared in five films with Eddie: "The Fleet's In" (1942), "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1942), "Happy Go Lucky" (1943), "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek" (1944), and "Duffy's Tavern" (1945). Of Betty, Bracken said, "Betty's a great gal. We have been friends from day one."
Betty met Ted Briskin, a camera manufacturer, while visiting Chicago in May 1945. At the end of August 1945, Ted announced their engagement, and they were married on September 2, 1945 in Chicago at the Camellia house of the Drake hotel. In February 1950, Betty filed for divorce saying that Ted "didn't approve of her career in films and that his conduct made her nervous." Ted and Betty had two daughters: Lindsay Diane Briskin, born in 1946, and Candice "Candy" Elizabeth Briskin, born in 1948.
COMO, Perry
Betty is known to have recorded four songs with her RCA Victor label mate Perry Como, the first two on September 12, 1950, including "A Bushel and A Peck" and "She's a Lady", followed by two unreleased songs on June 19, 1952, including "The Last Straw" and "To Know You (Is to Love You)", the latter which Perry remade with the Fontane Sisters in September of that year.
Bing Crosby's wildy successful career lasted from 1926 until his death in 1977. One of the first multimedia stars, from 1934 to 1954 he held a nearly unrivaled command of record sales, radio ratings, and motion picture grosses. Among his many successful films were three with Betty: "Star Spangled Rhythm" (1942), "Here Come The Waves" (1944), and "Duffy's Tavern" (1945).
A successful Academy Award-winning director, Cecil B. DeMille was known for the flamboyance and showmanship of his movies, which include "The Ten Commandments" (1956), "Samson and Delilah" (1949), and the Betty-headlined "The Greatest Show On Earth" (1952). Betty and Mr. DeMille had a great appreciation of one another, as Betty deeply impressed Mr. DeMille with her work ethic and desire for the role of "Holly" in the latter.
Buddy DeSylva began his career as a successful songwriter before venturing into stage productions on Broadway. It was there that he met Betty while producing "Panama Hattie" and promised to make her a star. He brought her to Paramount Pictures, where he was made an executive in 1942, and signed her to Capitol Records, which he founded with Johnny Mercer. He mentored Betty's career until 1944, when he became ill. He died in 1950 of a heartattack.
Barry Fitzgerald had a successful career in films like "How Green Was My Valley" (1941) and "Going My Way" (1944), for which he achieved a feat unmatched in the history of the Academy Awards: he was nominated for both the Best Actor Oscar and the Best Supporting Actor Oscar for the same performance. Betty appeared with Fitzgerald in three films: "Incendiary Blonde" (1945), "Duffy's Tavern" (1945) and "The Stork Club" (1945).
Judy Garland is an Oscar and Golden Globe award winning actress, known for her her starring roles in "The Wizard Of Oz" (1939), "Meet Me In St. Louis" (1944), "A Star Is Born" (1954), and many other movie musical classics. She and Betty were top box office draws at the time, and Betty replaced Judy in "Annie Get Your Gun" (1950). Betty later commented that she and Judy became good friends while performing in Las Vegas.
Gloria Grahame made memorable appearances in films like "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), "Crossfire" (1947), and "The Bad and the Beautiful" (1952), for which she won the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role. That year, she also appeared with Betty in "The Greatest Show On Earth", and when Betty turned down the role of Ado Annie in "Oklahoma!" (1955), the part eventually went to Grahame.
HESTON, Charlton
Charlton Heston's film breakthrough came when Cecil B. DeMille cast him as a circus manager in "The Greatest Show On Earth" (1952), in which Betty was the lead. He would later become an icon for portraying Moses in "The Ten Commandments" (1956) and the title role in "Ben-Hur" (1959). Other films include "Planet of the Apes" (1968), "Julius Caesar" (1970) and "The Three Musketeers" (1973).
It is hardly necessary to list the accomplishments pertaining to Bob Hope. Never mind that he was born in England; the entertainer unquestionably became an American institution. Known for his comedic performances, Betty was a frequent guest on Bob's radio programs, and they appeared together in the film "Let's Face It" (1943). A big supporter of armed forces, Betty and Bob also made several USO tours together.
KEEL, Howard
After making his film debut as Frank Butler in "Annie Get Your Gun", Howard Keel went on to appear in many other movie musicals including "Show Boat" (1951), "Kiss Me, Kate" (1953), the "Annie"-knockoff "Calamity Jane" (1953), "Seven Bridges for Seven Brothers" (1954), and "Kismet" (1955). Betty and Howard were supposed to re-team for the films "Billy Rose's Jumbo" (1962) and "Red Tomahawk" (1967), but plans for both fell through.
LAMOUR, Dorothy
Known for her trademark sarong, Dorothy Lamour is best remembered for appearing in the "Road to..." movies, a string of successful comedies with Bob Hope and Bing Crosby. She was a close friend of Betty's during their Paramount years and they appeared together in four films: "The Fleet's In" (1942), "And The Angels Sing" (1944), "Duffy's Tavern" (1945), and "The Greatest Show on Earth" (1952).
Betty's third marriage was to Alan Livingston, an executive at Capitol Records. Although Betty and Alan had originally planned on getting married at the home of Myrt Blum in Beverly Hills, California, they were married on March 8, 1955 in Las Vegas, Nevada. In June 1958 Betty announced they were getting a divorce, but the couple quickly reconciled. In April 1959, Betty charged that Alan had caused her grievous mental suffering. They divorced on October 21, 1960.
LOPEZ, Vincent
One of America's most popular bandleaders, Vincent Lopez also had a popular radio show, in which he began each program by announcing "Lopez speaking!" His theme song was "Nola," Felix Arndt's novelty ragtime piece of 1915, and Lopez became so identified with it that he occasionally satirized it. Lopez more or less "discovered" Betty and invited her to sing in his band and gave her the famous stage name she used for her career.
After some personal setbacks, Betty befriending Father Peter Maguire, a priest at St Anthony's parish in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. With his help, she regained her strength and began working as a rectory cook and housekeeper, leaving only once in five years to undergo treatment in a mental hospital. She returned to the rectory in 1975, when Maguire helped her enroll at Salve Regina University, Rhode Island, where she earned a bachelor's degree in 1986 and, two years later, a Masters.
Betty's second marriage was to Charles O'Curran, a dance director. They met in the summer of 1951 while they were both working on the set of "Somebody Loves Me". Charles proposed on March 17, 1952 by whispering "Shor.r.r, an' will ye be me wife now?" at Lucey's restaurant in Hollywood. Charles and Betty eloped in Las Vegas and were married on March 18, 1952 at the Hotel Last Frontier's Little Church of the West. Betty filed for divorce in November 1954, and it was finalized February 21, 1955.
SHORE, Dinah
After failing singing auditions for the bands of Benny Goodman and both Jimmy Dorsey and his brother Tommy Dorsey, Dinah Shore struck out on her own to become the first singer of her era to achieve huge solo success. She went on to have a four-decade career in television, and Betty appeared on her show several times. They also recorded the songs "The Musicians" and "How D'ye Do and Shake Hands" together and were personal friends during the 1940s and 1950s, with many accounts of Betty visiting Dinah's home.
STURGES, Preston
Betty's favorite among her film directors was Preston Sturges, because "he was the only one that let me act." Sturges is now celebrated for his work as both a director and screenwriter on classic comedies such as "The Great McGinty" (1940), "Christmas In July" (1940), "The Lady Eve" (1941), "Sullivan's Travels" (1941), and the one film he did with Betty, "The Miracle Of Morgan's Creek" (1944).