Edit
Betty Hutton Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (4) | Trade Mark (1) | Trivia (30) | Personal Quotes (12) | Salary (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Battle Creek, Michigan, USA
Died in Palm Springs, California, USA  (colon cancer)
Birth NameElizabeth 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 (1944). 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 Provedence, 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.

Salary (4)

The Fleet's In (1942) $1,000 /week
The Greatest Show on Earth (1952) $50,000
Somebody Loves Me (1952) $5,000 /week
Spring Reunion (1957) $100,000 + 25% of net

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page