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Unless I’m mistaken, there was no Betty Hutton moment at this year’s Academy Awards. (I was stuck in the Denver airport at the time and watched the awards intermittently at the Mexican restaurant there; afterward, my friend C. texted me each winner as they were announced, so it was an inadequate viewing experience, to say the least.) And now she can’t get a Lifetime Achievement Award, for which there was a movement afoot, because she’s gone. From Playbill News:
Betty Hutton, Vivacious Star of Hollywood Musicals, Dies at 86

By Robert Simonson

Betty Hutton, the high-energy comedic actress who had a brief but memorable career as the star of Hollywood musicals and comedies in the 1940s, died in Palm Springs, CA, it was reported by AP. She was 86 and had lived in virtual isolation for much of the last 40 years…. “Brassy,” “exuberant” and “energetic” were some of the adjectives routinely used to desribe Ms. Hutton’s singular performance style and she brought those qualities to nearly every role she took on. Cont’d.
Damn Academy has no taste. R.I.P. (Here’s the NYT obituary.)

Update: I asked Martin “Squib Report” Schneider to root out any Betty Hutton references in The Complete New Yorker. He notes that the magazine panned The Miracle of Morgan’s Creek (!), and found only a breezy mention of Hutton as patriotic dish in a Talk from January 15, 1944—screen shot after the jump; click to enlarge. Let’s hope Denby, Lane, Lahr, or, say, Richard Brody mentions Hutton in a more nuanced spirit of appreciation (though she was a dish, too) in a column soon, or perhaps a Critic’s Notebook or DVD Note at the front of the book.



“…By 1967, she had filed for bankrupcy. Seven years later, she was found living in a Rhode Island Catholic rectory, where she was employed as a cook and housekeeper.”

All I can say is “Wow.”

Betty Hutton was beautiful and wonderful in “Miracle at Morgan’s Creek”! I’ll never forget her in the opening scene. I always wondered why she never became a star, she was so charming. As for her new career as a cook and housekeeper, sounds like she was the kind of gritty survivor I’d have admired. I hope so, anyway!

After hearing about her death, I waited to get the paper and read more about her.. I could not find anything about her anywhere. I was very disappointed. I really enjoyed her in Orchestra Wives, a movie made with the Glenn Miller Orchestra as the central lead. She was a real peach!

My mistake….it was her sis, Marion, in the movie, Orchestra Wives. I meant - “Annie get your gun” Awesome in that one. Why is with the golden screen actresses, after they think their career is gone they go into oblivion. We don’t hear or see them anymore. Greta Garbo was another example of that. Betty was in total exclusion for the last 35-40 years. Too bad. They don’t make them like that anymore…………………..what a travesty!

Click on my name for a great Betty Hutton clip….

Gertrude Kochenklocker(sp)? She was great in that role. Didn’t know anything about her ‘til now.

Her Life story is both a tragedy and so inspirational. Her Interview with Robert Osborne on TCM was so inspiring. Her faith in God was so strong, and she said it began when she met the priests in Rhode Island. It was then she gave up her life as celebrity and became the humble person she became, working as a cook at a Catholic rectory, returning to college to become a teacher, and working with drug addicts and alcholics. She is a TRUE Hollywood Story, and hope someone produces a movie portraying her life…especially from 1986 until her death. God Bless Her!

Penny SchmidtMarch 15, 2007

I love that clip, David! She and Astaire are great together, and he looks like he’s having a wild time dancing with her. She’s capable of being goofy but has beautiful control, too.

Betty Hutton lived an interesting life. She had her ups and downs, but she survived. To go from a top star to the bottom in life and recover to complete college and later be a college professor is quite an accomplishment. Her message to all of us is that we can turn life around. I loved her in Annie Get Your Gun. She was beautiful in appearance and I imagine a fun person to be around — just an all American young and of course older Lady who got her act together.

Clay V. SinkMarch 23, 2007

Ms Huttons contribution to the performing arts
in America and indeed worldwide was absolute. Her dedication and skill astounding. We tend to
forget also the legecy of Music on Record which
she left behind. I listen to it almost every day.
The qualityof her performance and delivery was
superb. She was also a Wonderful Human Being.
Dochas Le Dia Ar a Anam.

I read the comment abouve by Carolita, which said, “I always wondered why she never became a star.” Don’t worry, dear lady, Betty got to the top within weeks of arriving in Hollywood! She was the queen of Hollywood as long as she wanted to be; until she quit the business on her own choice. She was Paramount’s top female star for years.

I agree with you, she was wonderful. I love her so much!

Justin OlfrinnAugust 30, 2007

I’m so sorry I didn’t contact her and tell her how I admired her courage, and how much I appreciated her work. Sad, I waited until I “had time” to write her. Guess I’ll have to wait to meet her on “the other side” some day.

Marilyn Morton MathesSeptember 15, 2007

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