Betty Field was a versatile character and lead actress said to have never repeated a characterization. She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts before appearing professionally in summer stock in 1933. The following year, Field made her Broadway debut and soon became a popular ingenue in George Abbott's comedies of the late '30s. She made her premiere feature-film appearance in What a Life (1939), reprising her role in a Broadway play of the same name. With her provocative performance in Of Mice and Men (1940), she established herself as a significant actress. Throughout the '40s, Field alternated between Broadway plays and Hollywood films. On screen she tended to play neurotic, hard-bitten women. After only making one film around 1950, Field did not return to steady film work until after 1956, when she became a character actress frequently cast as unkempt but well-meaning mothers. One of her three marriages was to playwright Elmer Rice, who wrote several plays as vehicles for her. Betty Field died of a cerebral hemorrhage in 1973.