Somehow, the news of the passing of Betty Garrett three days ago slipped under my radar. I first became aware of her as a child growing up in the 70’s. She was a regular on television portraying Archie Bunker's liberal neighbor Irene Lorenzo in All in the Family and landlady Edna Babish in Laverne & Shirley. I was a fan of both of those programs and it was difficult not to notice the vitality, spunk, and fiery charisma Betty Garrett infused into those roles that certainly would have been missed had they been portrayed by a lesser actress.
Betty Garrett, lower right, in the cast of Laverne & Shirley
While she was quite good in those roles, her career consisted of far more than the sitcom sessions. She had a long and glorious career as a dancer, singer, Broadway star and musical film star.
Though she and her husband Larry Parks had to suffer through the indignities of the Black List in the 1950’s she still managed to find work, she managed to land on her feet leading her to a career that only ended when she passed. According to to this LA Times obit, just last Wednesday, she “went to dinner with friends and afterward taught a weekly musical comedy class at Theatre West, the nonprofit theater she helped found in North Hollywood half a century ago.”
Now that’s what I call an artist.
May 23, 1919 - February 12, 2011