Programming and providing support for this service has been a labor
of love since 1997. We are one of the few services online who values our users'
privacy, and have never sold your information. We have even fought hard to defend your
privacy in legal cases; however, we've done it with almost no financial support -- paying out of pocket
to continue providing the service. Due to the issues imposed on us by advertisers, we
also stopped hosting most ads on the forums many years ago. We hope you appreciate our efforts.
Show your support by donating any amount. (Note: We are still technically a for-profit company, so your
contribution is not tax-deductible.)
Subject: ARCHIVE: February 26, 1921 ~It was a century ago Hollywood star BETTY HUTTON, whose career was built around her musical comedy talents as 'the female Danny Kaye', in films like "Annie Get your Gun", and "The Perils of Pauline, was born 100 years ago today! ...
American stage, film, and television
actress, comedian, dancer and singer. ...
[ Elizabeth June Thornburg ]
(February 26, 1921 – March 12, 2007)
Early life and education ...
Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. While she was very young, her father abandoned the family for another woman. They did not hear of him again until they received a telegram in 1937, informing them of his suicide. Betty and her older sister, Marion, were raised by her alcoholic mother, who took the surname Hutton. Marion was later billed as the actress Sissy Jones.
The three started singing in the family's speakeasy when Betty was 3 years old. Troubles with the police kept the family on the move. They eventually landed in Detroit, where she attended Foch Intermediate School. On one occasion, when Betty, preceded by a police escort, arrived at the premiere of Let's Dance (1950), her mother, arriving with her, quipped, "At least this time the police are in front of us!" Hutton sang in several local bands as a teenager, and at one point visited New York City hoping to perform on Broadway, where she was rejected.
Early career ...
A few years later, she was scouted by orchestra leader Vincent Lopez, who gave Hutton her entry into the entertainment business.
She appeared in several musical shorts for Warner Bros., Queens of the Air (1938), Three Kings and a Queen (1939), Public Jitterbug No. 1 (1939), and One for the Book (1940).
Hutton was cast in a Broadway show, Two for the Show (1940) which ran for 124 performances.
The show was produced by Buddy DeSylva, who then cast Hutton in Panama Hattie (1940–42). This was a major hit running for 501 performances. It starred Ethel Merman; despite rumors through the years that Merman demanded from envy that Hutton's musical numbers be reduced from the show, more careful reports demonstrate that producer Buddy DeSylva chose to cut just one song of three, "They Ain't Done Right by Our Nell," due to Hutton's "always in overdrive" performance style.
Early films ...
When DeSylva became a producer at Paramount Pictures, Hutton was signed to a featured role in The Fleet's In (1942), starring Paramount's number-one female star Dorothy Lamour, alongside Eddie Bracken and William Holden. The film was popular and Hutton was an instant hit with the moviegoing public. Hutton was one of the many Paramount contract artists who appeared in Star Spangled Rhythm (1942). The studio did not immediately promote her to major stardom but did give her the second lead in a Mary Martin film musical, Happy Go Lucky (1943). The response was positive and Hutton was given co-star billing with Bob Hope in Let's Face It (1943). During that year, she made $1250 per week.
The Miracle of Morgan's Creek ...
...In 1942, writer-director Preston Sturges cast Betty as the dopey but endearing small-town girl who gives local troops a happy send-off and wakes up married and pregnant, but with no memory of who her husband is, except that a few "z's" were in his name. This film, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek, was delayed by Hays Office objections and Sturges' prolific output and was finally released early in 1944.
The film made Hutton a major star; Sturges was nominated for a Best Writing Oscar, the film was named to the National Film Board's Top Ten films for the year, and the National Board of Review nominated the film for Best Picture of 1944, and awarded Betty Hutton the award for Best Acting for her performance. The New York Times named it as one of the 10 Best Films of 1942–1944.
Critic James Agee noted that "the Hays office must have been raped in its sleep" to allow the film to be released. And although the Hays Office received many
letters of protest because of the film's subject matter, it was Paramount's highest-grossing film of 1944, playing to standing-room-only audiences in some theatres.
Paramount kept Hutton busy, putting her in And the Angels Sing (1944)
with Fred MacMurray and Dorothy Lamour, and
Here Come the Waves (1944) with Bing Crosby. Both were huge hits. ...
On the strength of Hutton's success, she signed a recording contract with the newly formed Capitol Records (she was one of the earliest artists to do so).
Buddy DeSylva, one of Capitol's founders, also co-produced her next hit, the musical Incendiary Blonde (1945), where she played Texas Guinan.
It was directed by veteran comedy director George Marshall and Hutton had replaced Lamour as Paramount's top female box-office attraction.
Hutton was one of many Paramount stars in Duffy's Tavern (1945), and was top billed in The Stork Club (1945) with Barry Fitzgerald, produced by DeSyvla.
Hutton went into Cross My Heart (1946) with Sonny Tufts, which she disliked. She did however enjoy the hugely popular The Perils of Pauline (1947), directed
by Marshall, where she sang a Frank Loesser song that was nominated for an Oscar: "I Wish I Didn't Love You So."
Hutton's relationship with Paramount began to disintegrate when DeSylva left the studio due to illness (he would die in 1950). "After I left I started doing scripts that I knew weren't good for me."
Hutton made Dream Girl (1948) with MacDonald Carey, which she later said "almost ruined me." She did Red, Hot and Blue (1949) with Victor Mature, which she also disliked.
Hutton's next screen triumph came in Annie Get Your Gun (1950) for Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, which hired her to replace Judy Garland in the role
of Annie Oakley. The film, with the leading role retooled for Hutton, was a smash hit, with the biggest critical praise going to Hutton.
She was billed above Fred Astaire in the 1950 musical Let's Dance.
Hutton was one of several stars in The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). She made an unbilled cameo in Sailor Beware (1952) with Dean Martin and Jerry Lewis, a remake of The Fleet's In, in which she portrayed Dean's girlfriend, Hetty Button.
Hutton then clashed with Paramount. The New York Times reported that the dispute resulted from her insistence that her husband at the time, choreographer Charles O'Curran, direct her in a film.
In April 1952 Hutton returned to Broadway, performing in Betty Hutton and Her All-Star International Show.
In July 1952 she announced she and her husband would form a production company. She left Paramount in August.
Television and theatre ...
Hutton got work in radio, appeared in Las Vegas where she had a great success.
She had the rights to a script about Sophie Tucker but was unable to raise funds.
In 1954, TV producer Max Liebman, of comedian Sid Caesar's Your Show of Shows, fashioned his first "Color Spectacular" as an original musical written especially for Hutton, Satins and Spurs.
Hutton's last completed film was a small one, Spring Reunion (1957). It was a financial disappointment. She also became disillusioned with Capitol's management and moved to RCA Victor.
In 1957, she appeared on a Dinah Shore show on NBC that also featured Boris Karloff; the program has been preserved on a kinescope.
The Betty Hutton Show ...
Lucille Ball and Desi Arnaz took a chance on Hutton in 1959, with their company Desilu Productions giving her a CBS sitcom, The Betty Hutton Show. Hutton hired the still-blacklisted and future film composer Jerry Fielding to direct her series. They had met over the years in Las Vegas when he was blacklisted from TV and radio and could get no other work, and her Hollywood career was also fading. It was Fielding's first network job since losing his post as musical director of Groucho Marx's You Bet Your Life in 1953 after hostile questioning by HUAC. The Betty Hutton Show ended after 30 episodes.
Hutton continued headlining in Las Vegas and touring across the country. She returned to Broadway briefly
in 1964 when she temporarily replaced a hospitalized Carol Burnett in the show Fade Out – Fade In. ...
She guest starred on shows like The Greatest Show on Earth, Burke's Law and Gunsmoke.
In 1967, she was signed to star in two low-budget Westerns for Paramount, but was fired shortly after the projects began.
Life after Hollywood ...
After the 1967 death of her mother in a house fire and the collapse of her last marriage, Hutton's depression and pill addictions escalated. She divorced her fourth husband, jazz trumpeter Pete Candoli, when she discovered he'd fallen in love with Edie Adams (who would become Candoli's second wife). She declared bankruptcy the same year.
After losing her singing voice in 1970, Hutton had a nervous breakdown and later attempted suicide. She regained control of her life through rehabilitation, and the mentorship of a Roman Catholic priest, Father Peter Maguire. Hutton converted to Roman Catholicism, and took a job as a cook at a rectory in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She made national headlines when it was revealed she was practically penniless and working in a rectory. After an aborted comeback in 1974, she was hospitalized with emotional exhaustion. Later that year, a well-publicized "Love-In for Betty Hutton" was held at New York City's Riverboat Restaurant, emceed by comedian Joey Adams, with several old Hollywood pals on hand. The event raised $10,000 for Hutton and gave her spirits a big boost, but steady work still eluded her.
She also appeared on Good Morning America, which led to a 1978 televised reunion with her two daughters. Hutton began living in a
shared home with her divorced daughter and grandchildren in California, but returned to the East Coast for a three-week return to the stage.
In 1980, she took over the role of Miss Hannigan during the original Broadway production of Annie while Alice Ghostley
was on vacation. Ghostley replaced the original Miss Hannigan actress, Dorothy Loudon (who won a Tony Award for the role). ... https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jSnpEvfemjY
Hutton's rehearsal of the song "Little Girls" was featured on Good Morning America. Hutton's Broadway comeback was also
included in a profile that was done about her life, her struggle with pills, and her recovery on CBS News Sunday Morning.
A ninth-grade drop-out, Hutton went back to school and earned
a master's degree in psychology from Salve Regina University in 1986. ...
...During her time at college, Hutton became friends with singer-songwriter Kristin Hersh and attended several early concerts of Hersh's band, Throwing Muses.
Hersh later wrote the song "Elizabeth June" as a tribute to her friend, and wrote about their relationship in further detail in her memoir, Rat Girl.
Hutton's last known performance, in any medium, was on Jukebox Saturday Night, which aired on PBS in 1983. Hutton stayed
in New England and began teaching comedic acting at Boston's Emerson College. She became estranged again from her daughters.
Final Years ...
...After the death of her ally, Father Maguire, Hutton returned to California, moving to Palm Springs in 1999, after decades in New England. Hutton hoped to grow closer to her daughters and grandchildren, as she told Robert Osborne on TCM's Private Screenings in April 2000, though her children remained distant. She told Osborne that she understood their hesitancy to accept a now elderly mother. The TCM interview first aired on July 18, 2000. The program was rerun as a memorial on the evening of her death in 2007, and again on July 11, 2008, April 14, 2009, January 26, 2010, and as recently as March 18, 2017. as part of TCM's memorial tribute for Robert Osborne.
Hutton lived in Palm Springs until her death March 12, 2007, at 86, from colon cancer
complications. She is buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California. ...
Marriages and children ...
Hutton's first marriage was to camera manufacturer Ted Briskin in 1945. The marriage ended in divorce in 1951.
Two daughters were born to the couple:
-Lindsay Diane Briskin, born in Barcelona, Spain on March 1, 1946
-Candice Elizabeth Briskin, born in Havana, Cuba on December 3, 1947
=Hutton's second marriage in 1952 was to choreographer Charles O'Curran. They divorced in 1955. He died in 1984.
=She married husband Alan W. Livingston in 1955, weeks after Hutton's divorce from O'Curran. They divorced in 1960.
=Her fourth and final marriage in 1960 was to jazz trumpeter Pete Candoli. They divorced in 1967. Hutton and Candoli had one child:
-Carolyn Candoli, born on March 9, 1961
Hutton was once engaged to the head of the Warner Bros. makeup department, makeup artist Perc Westmore, in 1942, but broke off the engagement, saying it was because he bored her.
For her contribution to the motion picture industry, Betty Hutton has a
star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame located at 6259 Hollywood Boulevard. ...