Texas-born actress Betty Buckley decided upon a theatrical career when, at a very early age, she was taken by her mother to a Fort Worth production of The Pajama Game. A trained singer and dancer, Ms. Buckley made her professional bow on the musical stage, reaching Broadway at age 22 as Mrs. Thomas Jefferson in the original production of 1776. Additional Broadway credits include two seasons' worth of Pippin (73-75), three years in Cats (82-85) (for which she won a Tony Award), and a healthy run in 1985's The Mystery of Edwin Drood. Betty's first film was Carrie (76), in which she played the tough girl's gym coach whose punishment of Carrie's tormentors set the plot in motion. One year after Carrie, she replaced the late Diana Hyland on the popular TV "dramedy" Eight is Enough, playing the stepmother of a eight-kid brood (at the time, she was two years younger than the oldest kid!) Always on the lookout for an opportunity to sing, Betty took a fraction of her salary to play a Tammy Wynette-style country western star in 1983's Tender Mercies. In 1995, amidst a flurry of press attention, Betty Buckley successfully took over for Glenn Close as "Norma Desmond" in the Broadway production of the Andrew Lloyd Webber musical Sunset Boulevard (Betty had already scored a hit in the London production).
Biography by Hal Erickson
- The oldest of four children.
- Was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha at Texas Christian University.
- Was runner-up in the Miss Texas competition.
- Made her Broadway debut in 1969 in the original production of 1776.
- Originated the role of Grizabella in the original Broadway production of Cats.
- Released her self-titled debut solo album in 1986.
- In 2015, played the role of Big Edie in Grey Gardens in Sag Harbor, NY, near the location of the actual Grey Gardens mansion.