Betty Hutton (1921 - 2007)

Betty Hutton
1921 - 2007
updated October 10, 2019
Betty Hutton was born on February 26, 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan. She died on March 11, 2007 in Palm Springs, California at 86 years of age.

Betty Hutton
Born February 26, 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Died March 11, 2007 in Palm Springs, California, USA (colon cancer)
Birth Name Elizabeth June Thornburg
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)
Mini Bio (1)
Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg on February 26, 1921, in Battle Creek, Michigan. Two years later, Betty's father decided that the family way of life wasn't for him, so he left (he committed suicide 16 years later). Having to fend for themselves, Mrs. Thornburg moved the family to Detroit to find work in the numerous auto factories there, but times were hard and she decided to take advantage of Prohibition and opened a small tavern, at the time called a speakeasy. The police were always looking for those types of operation, both big and small, and when they detected one, they swooped in and closed it down. Mrs. Thornburg was no different from the other owners, they simply moved elsewhere. Poverty was a constant companion. In addition to that, Mrs. Thornburg was an alcoholic.
At nine years old, Betty began singing publicly for the first time in a school production. Realizing the voice Betty had, her mother took her around Detroit to have her sing to any group that would listen. This was a small way of getting some money for the poor family. When she was 13, Betty got a few singing jobs with local bands in the area. Thinking she was good enough to make the big time, she left for New York two years later to try a professional career. Unfortunately, it didn't work out and Betty headed back to Detroit.
In 1937, Betty was hired by Vincent Lopez who had a popular band that appeared on the local radio. Later, she would return to New York and it was here that her career took off. Betty found herself on Broadway in 1940, and it was only a matter of time before her career took off to bigger heights. The following year, she left New York for Hollywood, where she was to find new life in films. She was signed by Paramount Pictures and made her debut, at 21, in The Fleet's In (1942), along with Eddie Bracken, William Holden and Dorothy Lamour. Reviews were better than expected, with critics looking favorably upon her work. She had previously appeared in a few musical shorts, which no doubt helped her in her first feature film. She made one more musical in 1942 and two more in 1943.
In 1944, she tried to break away from musicals and try her hand in a screwball comedy, The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1943). She proved - to herself, the public and the critics - that she was marketable outside musicals. In subsequent films, Betty was able to show her comedic side as well as her singing. In 1948, she appeared in her first big box-office bomb, Dream Girl (1948), which was ripped to shreds by critics, as was Betty's acting, and the movie flopped at the box office. It wasn't long before Betty became unhappy with her career. In truth, she had the acting talent, but the parts she got weren't the types to showcase that. Though she did appear in three well-received films later, Red, Hot and Blue (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952), her career was winding down.
Later, after filming Somebody Loves Me (1952), Betty was all but finished. She had married Charles O'Curran that year and he wanted to direct her in an upcoming film. Paramount didn't like the idea and the temper tantrum-prone Betty walked out of her contract and movies. She did concentrate on the relatively new medium of television and the stage, but she never recovered her previous form. Her final film was a minor one, Spring Reunion (1957). Her TV series, The Betty Hutton Show (1959), didn't fare too well at all. Betty lived in quiet retirement in Palm Springs, California until her death on March 11, 2007. She was 86 years old.
- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson
Spouse (4)
Pete Candoli (24 December 1960 - 18 June 1967) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Alan Livingston (8 March 1955 - 22 October 1960) ( divorced)
Charles O'Curran (18 March 1952 - 21 February 1955) ( divorced)
Theodore Samuel Briskin (3 September 1945 - 16 January 1951) (divorced) ( 2 children)
Trade Mark (1)
Lisp, breathless voice
Trivia (30)
Energetic, "blonde bombshell" actress-singer of the 1940s.
Younger sister of singer Marion Hutton.
Prior to her first feature film role, she appeared, in 1939, in a number of musical short subjects for Vitaphone, filmed in New York. These included: One for the Book (1940) with Hal Sherman; Public Jitterbug No. 1 (1939) with Chaz Chase, Hal Le Roy and Emerson's Sextette; and Vincent Lopez and His Orchestra (1939). Also, Paramount featured her in a one-reeler, Three Kings and a Queen (1939).
Starred in TV's first "spectacular", Satins and Spurs (1954), which debuted on September 12, 1954. It was a 90-minute musical comedy produced by Max Liebman. She played a rodeo queen who falls for a magazine writer, played by Kevin McCarthy. Reactions by critics and viewers were so negative that she announced her retirement from show business (one of the many times.)
Reportedly did not get along with Annie Get Your Gun (1950) co-star Howard Keel. He thought she cared more about her career than her co-stars.
Daughters with Ted Briskin: Lindsay Briskin (born on November 23, 1946) and Candice Candy Briskin (born on April 15, 1948).
Mother, with Pete Candoli, of daughter Caroline Candoli (born on June 19, 1962).
She became a devout Catholic after a stay in a clinic for an addiction to sleeping pills.
In 1974, began work as a cook and housekeeper at St Anthony's rectory in Providence, Rhode Island.
Daughter, Carolyn, with Pete Candoli.
Her one big musical number in the Broadway show "Panama Hattie" was cut just before opening night by orders of star Ethel Merman. Hutton was so upset, the show's producer Buddy G. DeSylva promised to make her a star in movies at Paramount and he kept his word. The incident was later used in both the book and film Valley of the Dolls (1967).
Turned down the role of Ado Annie in Oklahoma! (1955).
Was considered for the role of "Delilah" in Cecil B. DeMille's 1949 film Samson and Delilah (1949). The part went to Hedy Lamarr, instead.
Sister-in-law of Vic Schoen.
Her marriages to manufacturer Ted Briskin, dance director Charles O'Curran, recording company executive Alan Livingston and jazz-man Pete Candoli all ended in divorce.
None of her daughters attended her funeral.
Best remembered by the public for her roles as energetic brassy sassy blonds.
Was best friends in college with rock musician Kristin Hersh.
Was elected Mother of Year in 1956 by the City of Hope charity. In that capacity she toured the US raising money and volunteers for that good cause.
Profiled in book, "Funny Ladies", by Stephen Silverman. [1999]
Hutton was a lifelong Republican and was an avid supporter of Ronald Reagan in particular.
Ex-sister-in-law of Jay Livingston.
Was Max Factors Star of the Year, 1946.
Received a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars in 2013.
Ana Gasteyer paid homage to Hutton in an April 2013 TV advertisement for Weight Watchers by paroding her song "Orange Colored Sky" as well as acting out Hutton's characteristics sporting a 1940's style outlook and background.
Was discovered by a New York newspaper in the early 1970s working for a soup kitchen and later a rectory as a house cleaner. She gave out her first interviews in years stating she had been counseled by the Catholic priests at this parish who helped her with her addictions to alcohol and prescription drugs and to find new meaning to her life after Hollywood. She gave similar credence to this story to Robert Osborne in 2000 when he interviewed her for a television back story on his show on TCM.
There is conflicting information about her death date with most newspaper obituaries stating March 11, 2007 while her gravestone and the Social Security Death Index state March 12, 2007.
Because of her energetic style, Bob Hope referred to her as "A vitamin pill with legs".
She was mentioned in the Film Noir classic Sunset Boulevard: When William Holden's character tries selling his baseball script, the producer suggests turning it into a "Betty Hutton picture" but centering on women's softball (all the while not wanting the story at all).
Daughter of Percy (1896-1937) and Mabel (née Lumm) Thornburg (1901-1967). Both were born and raised in Nebraska.
Personal Quotes (12)
I worked out of desperation. I used to hit fast and run in hopes that people wouldn't realize that I really couldn't do anything.
I don't know where it's all going to lead. I have no idea where I'm going. I would just like to be happy.
Some kind of fun lasts longer than others.
Then the ceiling fell in and the bottom fell out I went into a spin and I started to shout I've been hit. This is it. This is it! I . . T . . . IT!
I don't even have many friends anymore because I backed away from them. When things went wrong for me I didn't want them to have any part of my trouble.
I think things are going to go right for me again. I'm not old. I'm old enough, but I photograph young, thank God, and I still have a public. I still get fan mail.
I was a commodity, like a hot dog. It was like hot dogs and Betty Hutton.
I am not a great singer and I am not a great dancer, but I am a great actress, and nobody ever let me act except [director] Preston Sturges. He believed in me.
My husbands all fell in love with Betty Hutton. None of them fell in love with me.
[on Annie Get Your Gun (1950)] The cast was awful to me. They wanted Judy [Judy Garland]. [The film] was the end of me.
When I'm working with jerks with no talent, I raise hell until I get what I want.
Professionally, my career was great, but never was the scene offstage great for me.
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Betty Hutton Biography

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Betty Hutton
Most commonly known name
Female
Gender
Betty
First name
Unknown
Middle name
Unknown
Maiden name
Hutton
Last name(s)
Unknown
Nickname(s) or aliases
Palm Springs, Riverside County, California 92263
Last known residence
Betty Hutton was born on in Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan United States
Birth
Betty Hutton died on in Palm Springs, Riverside County, California United States
Death
Betty Hutton was born on in Battle Creek, Calhoun County, Michigan United States
Betty Hutton died on in Palm Springs, Riverside County, California United States
Birth
Death
Colon Cancer
Cause of death
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Unknown

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Professions

MOVIE STAR. She appeared in three well-received films: Red, Hot and Blue (1949), Annie Get Your Gun (1950) and The Greatest Show on Earth (1952).
Her film credits in the next 15 years included “Let’s Face It” (1943) and “Here Come the Waves” (1944). Sturges gave her more of a chance to act in “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” (1944), a screwball comedy about wartime morality that ruffled censors with its story of a young woman who becomes pregnant after a spur-of-the-moment marriage and then can’t quite remember who the father is.
The next year she was back in a familiar role, as a hat-check girl, in “The Stork Club,” in which she memorably sang Hoagy Carmichael’s “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.”
Several of her films were biographies: “Incendiary Blonde,” about the actress and nightclub queen Texas Guinan; “The Perils of Pauline,” about the silent-screen heroine Pearl White; and “Somebody Loves Me,” about the singer Blossom Seeley.
In 1950, when Judy Garland was ill and unable to meet her commitments to star in the film version of “Annie Get Your Gun,” Ms. Hutton got the part, winning praise in a role that had been created on Broadway by Ethel Merman.
There were also Hutton movies that got bad reviews, most notably “Dream Girl” (1948). Ms. Hutton began to feel her career was headed downhill. To help her get the romantic heroine’s role in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” playing a trapeze artist, she sent DeMille a floral tribute 18 feet in diameter.
But her career was winding down, and after “Somebody Loves Me” (1952), she was all but finished.

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Betty Hutton Obituary

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Betty Hutton, Film Star of ’40s and ’50s, Dies at 86
By RICHARD SEVERO MARCH 14, 2007
Betty Hutton, a singer and actress celebrated as a blond bombshell of Hollywood musicals and comedies in the 1940s and 50s, died Sunday night at her home in Palm Springs, Calif., her executor announced yesterday. She was 86.
The cause was complications of colon cancer, the executor, Carl Bruno, told The Associated Press. He said the announcement of her death had been withheld until after her funeral, held yesterday at the Forest Lawn Cemetery in Cathedral City, Calif.
Ms. Hutton, a brassy, energetic performer with a voice that could sound like a fire alarm, had the lead role in the 1950 film version of Irving Berlin’s “Annie Get Your Gun” and a starring role in Cecil B. DeMille’s 1952 spectacular, “The Greatest Show on Earth.”
She was known for her renditions of upbeat songs like “Murder, He Says,” a Jimmy McHugh and Frank Loesser number from the 1943 film “Happy Go Lucky,” and “His Rocking Horse Ran Away” from “And the Angels Sing” (1944).
Ms. Hutton’s electric presence in films like “The Fleet’s In” and Preston Sturges’s “Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” masked emotional problems rooted in a poverty-stricken childhood. As a young girl, she sang for coins on street corners and in speakeasies to help support her alcoholic mother, who had been abandoned by Ms. Hutton’s father.
Years after Ms. Hutton’s film career ended, those emotional problems still plagued her. “I tried to kill myself,” she said in 1983, recalling her decline after fading from public notice.
Ms. Hutton re-emerged in the 1970s, when reporters learned she was working as a cook and housekeeper in the rectory of a Roman Catholic church in Portsmouth, R.I. Before being rescued and rehabilitated by a priest, she said, she had become addicted to sleeping pills and alcohol and had lost what she estimated to be a $10 million fortune.
Betty Hutton was born Elizabeth June Thornburg in Battle Creek, Mich., on Feb. 26, 1921, the daughter of Percy Thornburg, a railroad brakeman, and Mabel Lum Thornburg. In the early 1920s, Mr. Thornburg left town with another woman, and Mrs. Thornburg took her children to Lansing and finally to Detroit, where she got a job in the automobile industry for 22 cents an hour. To make ends meet, she sold homemade beer to Prohibition violators. Betty and her sister, Marion, sang for the customers.
Ms. Hutton quit school in the ninth grade and started earning money ironing shirts and doing housework. She also kept singing. When she was 15 and singing in a Detroit nightclub, the bandleader Vincent Lopez hired her and gave her the name Hutton. The band was also heard on radio. (Marion Thornburg later adopted the name Hutton, too, and became a vocalist with the Glenn Miller Orchestra; she died in 1987.)
Ms. Hutton left Mr. Lopez’s band after a couple of years and in 1940 appeared in the Broadway revue “Two for the Show.” Vogue magazine called her “the most supercharged” member of the cast. A year later she went to Hollywood at the invitation of B. G. DeSylva, executive producer at Paramount. He gave her, at 21, a part in “The Fleet’s In.” Look magazine said it made her a star overnight.
Her film credits in the next 15 years included “Let’s Face It” (1943) and “Here Come the Waves” (1944). Sturges gave her more of a chance to act in “The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek” (1944), a screwball comedy about wartime morality that ruffled censors with its story of a young woman who becomes pregnant after a spur-of-the-moment marriage and then can’t quite remember who the father is.
The next year she was back in a familiar role, as a hat-check girl, in “The Stork Club,” in which she memorably sang Hoagy Carmichael’s “Doctor, Lawyer, Indian Chief.”
Several of her films were biographies: “Incendiary Blonde,” about the actress and nightclub queen Texas Guinan; “The Perils of Pauline,” about the silent-screen heroine Pearl White; and “Somebody Loves Me,” about the singer Blossom Seeley.
In 1950, when Judy Garland was ill and unable to meet her commitments to star in the film version of “Annie Get Your Gun,” Ms. Hutton got the part, winning praise in a role that had been created on Broadway by Ethel Merman.
There were also Hutton movies that got bad reviews, most notably “Dream Girl” (1948). Ms. Hutton began to feel her career was headed downhill. To help her get the romantic heroine’s role in “The Greatest Show on Earth,” playing a trapeze artist, she sent DeMille a floral tribute 18 feet in diameter.
But her career was winding down, and after “Somebody Loves Me” (1952), she was all but finished. That year she married Charles O’Curran, a dance director, who wanted to direct her in a film. Paramount rejected the idea, and Ms. Hutton, in a fit of temper, walked out of her contract. Her final film, “Spring Reunion” (1957), received little notice.
Ms. Hutton soon turned to the new medium of television and was given a series, “The Betty Hutton Show,” but it lasted only for the 1959-60 season. In 1965 she appeared on Broadway in the musical “Fade Out, Fade In,” replacing Carol Burnett, but pills and alcohol were taking over her life.
At her lowest ebb, in 1974, Earl Wilson, the columnist, organized a benefit for her in New York. “I haven’t got a cent,” said Ms. Hutton, who had earned $150,000 a week in her good years.
She found a way to cope with her problems in religion. She renewed her interest in Lutheranism, her original faith, then converted to Roman Catholicism. She regarded the Rev. Peter Maguire of St. Anthony’s Church in Portsmouth as primarily responsible for saving her life. During one of her many hospital stays, he talked her into working for St. Anthony’s. “No one had ever talked to me before,” she said.
She later resumed work as an actress, appearing in nightclubs and, briefly in 1980, in the Broadway musical “Annie.” “It’s groovy being a star again,” she said. “But I know how fast it can be over.”
In the early 1980s, Ms. Hutton, who had never gone beyond the ninth grade, enrolled at Salve Regina, a Catholic college for women in Newport, R.I. She earned a master’s degree in psychology; the college had decided that her life experience entitled her to a bachelor’s degree. By the late 1980s, she was teaching comedy and oral interpretation at Emerson College in Boston.
She made occasional broadcast appearances in her later years, notably an hour long interview, first shown in 2000, with Robert Osborne of Turner Classic Movies.
She married four times, to Mr. O’Curran; Ted Briskin, a manufacturer; Alan Livingston, a recording company executive; and Pete Candoli, a jazz trumpet player. She had two daughters, Candy and Lindsay, with Mr. Briskin, and another, Caroline, with Mr. Candoli. All her marriages ended in divorce.
“My husbands all fell in love with Betty Hutton,” Ms. Hutton once said. “None of them fell in love with me.”

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1921 - 2007 World Events

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In 1921, in the year that Betty Hutton was born, hugely popular Roscoe "Fatty" Arbuckle, silent film star, was arrested for rape and manslaughter after an actress died following a party at his house. He was acquitted after three trials and the jury wrote a formal letter apologizing for the charges, but his career never recovered. His films were at first banned - the ban was lifted after a year - and he was mostly ostracized by the community. He died at 46..

In 1952, she was 31 years old when on February 6th, George VI of England died from a coronary thrombosis and complications due to lung cancer. His eldest daughter, age 25, immediately ascended the throne as Elizabeth II and her coronation was on June 2 1953.

In 1967, Betty was 46 years old when on November 7th, President Johnson signed legislation passed by Congress that created the Corporation for Public Broadcasting (CPB), which would later become PBS and NPR. The legislation required CPB to operate with a "strict adherence to objectivity and balance in all programs or series of programs of a controversial nature".

In 1984, at the age of 63 years old, Betty was alive when on January 1, "Baby Bells" were created. AT&T had been the provider of telephone service (and equipment) in the United States. The company kept Western Electric, Bell Labs, and AT&T Long Distance. Seven new regional companies (the Baby Bells) covered local telephone service and were separately owned. AT&T lost 70% of its book value due to this move.

In 1998, at the age of 77 years old, Betty was alive when on December 19th, the House of Representatives initiated impeachment charges against U.S. President Bill Clinton. He was subsequently acquitted of these charges by the Senate on February 12th.

Other Biographies

Other Betty Huttons

c. 1925 - Unknown
c. 1963 - Unknown
c. 1928 - Unknown
c. 1949 - Unknown
c. 1976 - Unknown
Dec 8, 1924 - Jun 24, 2010
Jun 11, 1924 - Jan 2, 1995
Nov 12, 1923 - Aug 10, 1996
Feb 20, 1913 - Sep 16, 1995
May 6, 1927 - Dec 3, 1988
Feb 15, 1923 - Dec 23, 1998
Nov 1, 1925 - Dec 13, 1998
Oct 25, 1930 - Apr 25, 2010
Sep 17, 1918 - May 25, 2009
Mar 12, 1924 - Feb 22, 2001
Mar 29, 1925 - Mar 29, 2003
Jun 18, 1931 - Jun 1, 1996
Aug 9, 1928 - Jan 30, 1997
Oct 8, 1933 - May 9, 2010
Aug 23, 1934 - Mar 30, 1998

Other Huttons

May 7, 1921 - October 1983
May 13, 1928 - Dec 28, 1999
Jul 16, 1872 - June 1970
Nov 14, 1918 - February 1968
Dec 17, 1895 - March 1967
February 1899 - October 1950
Oct 3, 1915 - May 1974
Sep 1, 1914 - February 1977
Nov 25, 1923 - Oct 11, 2004
Sep 22, 1919 - Aug 8, 2002
Mar 16, 1891 - May 1971
Nov 30, 1879 - July 1973
May 28, 1884 - July 1986
Oct 5, 1918 - January 1997
May 2, 1918 - Sep 1, 2002
Nov 15, 1913 - Jun 30, 2000
Jul 29, 1916 - Aug 16, 2005
Mar 31, 1918 - Dec 19, 1999
Nov 26, 1917 - August 1982
Aug 30, 1923 - Nov 25, 1987

Other Bios

Mar 22, 1886 - January 1967
Sep 3, 1915 - July 1979
Feb 14, 1913 - Nov 30, 1994
Dec 22, 1921 - September 1989
Jul 10, 1923 - Jan 3, 2005
Apr 28, 1901 - May 1972
Aug 28, 1921 - Dec 9, 2000
Aug 15, 1921 - Aug 16, 1995
Mar 23, 1922 - Apr 26, 1999
Mar 22, 1921 - Feb 1, 2007
Jun 21, 1921 - Oct 12, 1998
Jan 14, 1896 - October 1982
Jul 19, 1882 - August 1977
Mar 1, 1913 - January 1975
Dec 24, 1919 - September 1982
May 18, 1921 - Feb 9, 1992
Feb 5, 1895 - March 1973
Apr 13, 1922 - Nov 30, 1995
Sep 7, 1920 - Jul 4, 2008
Dec 12, 1921 - Sep 25, 2008
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