Betty Hutton

Active - 1939 - 1994  |   Born - Feb 26, 1921 in Battle Creek, Michigan, United States  |   Died - Mar 11, 2007   |   Genres - Musical, Comedy

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Biography by Rovi

As a child, American actress Betty Hutton, born Elizabeth Thornburg in 1921, sang on street corners to help support her family after her father died. She was singing with bands by the time she was 13, eventually becoming the vocalist for the Vincent Lopez orchestra. Because of her exuberance and energy, she became known as "The Blonde Bombshell." She debuted on Broadway in Two for the Show in 1940, then in 1941, signed a film contract with Paramount. Hutton debuted onscreen in The Fleet's In (1942), and for the next decade appeared in tailor-made comedic roles and occasional dramatic roles. She sabotaged her own career in 1952, however, when she demanded that her husband (choreographer Charles O'Curran) direct her films; the studio refused and she walked out on her contract, after which she appeared in only one more film. Over the next 15 years, she worked occasionally onstage and in nightclubs, and co-starred on Broadway in Fade In Fade Out in 1965. Her career going nowhere, she attempted suicide in 1972; a friendly priest helped her find work in a Catholic rectory, and eventually she enrolled in college and earned a Master's degree. She went on to teach acting at two New England colleges. Hutton died in Palm Springs, CA, in early March 2007, at age 86. Her sister is actress Marion Thornburg.

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Factsheet

  • Her mother owned a small tavern in Detroit during the Prohibition era.
  • Made her movie debut at the age of 21 after signing with Paramount Pictures.
  • Signed with Capitol Records in 1942.
  • Was a Republican and supporter of Ronald Reagan.
  • Converted to Roman Catholicism under the guidance of Father Peter Maguire who helped her during her struggles after leaving Hollywood.
  • Returned to California in 1996, after the death of Father Peter Maguire.
  • A street in Beverly Hills, California, is named after her.