Betsy Blair
Actress
Betsy Blair
Betsy Blair was an American actress of film and stage, long based in London. Blair pursued a career in entertainment from the age of eight, and as a child worked as an amateur dancer, performed on radio, and worked as a model, before joining the chorus of Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe in 1940. There she met Gene Kelly; they were married the following year, when she was seventeen years old, and divorced sixteen years later in 1957.
Biography
Betsy Blair's personal information overview.
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News
News abour Betsy Blair from around the web
'The Halliday Brand' Is a Tale of Hatred and Twisted Loyalties Befitting Greek ... - PopMatters
Google News - over 5 years
Betsy Blair, best known as the plain, clean-cut girlfriend in Marty, is the smouldering, resentful Halliday daughter whose wholesomeness congeals to simmering rage. Director Joseph H. Lewis and photographer Ray Rennahan keep the camera restless
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Google News article
El Ciclo de Cine de Mayores cierra con 'Ispansi' - Rioja2.com
Google News - almost 6 years
... gran película que es 'Calle Mayor' a la que rendimos homenaje al menos una vez, remedando su final" y ha desvelado que el director Carlos Iglesias "me eligió para el papel principal porque me parezco a Betsy Blair", protagonista de 'Calle Mayor'
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Google News article
Correction
NYTimes - about 7 years
An essay in the special ''Lives They Lived'' issue on Dec. 27 about the actress Betsy Blair misstated the source of a song she sang over and over at the end of her life. ''Love Is Here to Stay'' is from the 1938 movie ''The Goldwyn Follies,'' not from a Broadway show.
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NYTimes article
THE LIVES THEY LIVED; Betsy Blair: b. 1923: An Independent Woman
NYTimes - about 7 years
1923-2009 IN THE 1955 sleeper hit ''Marty,'' Ernest Borgnine plays a bachelor falling for a plain schoolteacher who has been jilted at a dance by her date. The date calls her a dog; Marty's best friend calls her a dog. And Marty tries to console her with memorable lines like ''You're not such a dog as you think.'' The understated film, which nearly
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NYTimes article
Betsy Blair, 85, Actress And Wife of Gene Kelly
NYTimes - almost 8 years
Betsy Blair, an Academy Award-nominated actress also known for her forthright memoir describing her youthful marriage to Gene Kelly and her firsthand experience of the Hollywood blacklist, died on Friday in London. She was 85 and had lived in London for many years. Ms. Blair's daughter, Kerry Kelly Novick, said her mother died after a long illness.
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NYTimes article
Delbert Mann, Director, Is Dead at 87
NYTimes - over 9 years
Delbert Mann, a director from the heyday of live television who won an Oscar for his first big-screen effort, ''Marty,'' in 1955, died Sunday in Los Angeles. He was 87 and lived in Los Angeles. The cause was pneumonia, his family said. Mr. Mann had directed the original, live television version of ''Marty,'' broadcast on NBC in 1953. With a script
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NYTimes article
EVERYBODY'S BUSINESS; From Harvey Road to Crescent Drive, Something Changed
NYTimes - over 10 years
SO now we know. Thanks to some fine reporting at The Wall Street Journal, we now know that right after 9/11, as the crushed bodies of heroic firemen were still being pulled from the rubble of the World Trade Center, and the nation was in deep, bone-chilling mourning, the smart people who run some of America's biggest and most powerful corporations
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NYTimes article
An American in Paris (and Elsewhere)
NYTimes - over 13 years
THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT Love and Politics in New York, Hollywood, and Paris. By Betsy Blair. Illustrated. 341 pp. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. $25. TO work in the movies and to live in Hollywood (which spiritually, if not geographically, also includes Los Angeles, Beverly Hills, Bel Air, Brentwood, Venice, Santa Monica, Malibu, Burbank and the Valley)
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NYTimes article
Corrections
NYTimes - almost 14 years
The Books of The Times review last Monday, about ''The Memory of All That,'' a memoir by the actress Betsy Blair, who was blacklisted for her leftist views, misstated the name of a political party for which she once worked. It was the Independent Progressive Party, not the Independent Political Party.
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NYTimes article
BOOKS OF THE TIMES; Memories of a Hollywood Leftist Who Managed to Survive the Blacklist
NYTimes - almost 14 years
THE MEMORY OF ALL THAT Love and Politics in New York, Hollywood and Paris By Betsy Blair Illustrated. 341 pages. Alfred A. Knopf. $25. When asked to cite the worst time in his professional life, the famously cryptic director Michelangelo Antonioni answered, ''The first two hours I spent with Betsy Blair.'' It seems that Ms. Blair, cast in a small
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NYTimes article
Karel Reisz, Director of Films Including 'The French Lieutenant's Woman,' Dies at 76
NYTimes - about 14 years
Karel Reisz, a Czech refugee who became a leading director of the British New Wave before making ''The French Lieutenant's Woman'' and other Hollywood dramas, died on Monday at a hospital near his home in London. He was 76. The cause was a blood disorder, said his wife, Betsy Blair, the actress. Mr. Reisz, who found success more recently in the
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NYTimes article
A Portrait of the Dancer, Perfectionist and All
NYTimes - almost 15 years
Gene Kelly's first film success, ''For Me and My Gal,'' came when he was 30, past his prime as a dancer. By the time he was 40, Kelly had transformed the movie musical with classics like ''On the Town,'' ''An ''American in Paris,'' and ''Singin' in the Rain.'' In his 50's and 60's, Kelly's output and career dwindled. The achievement of Kelly, a
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NYTimes article
Gene Kelly, Dancer of Vigor and Grace, Dies
NYTimes - about 21 years
Gene Kelly, the dancer, actor, director and choreographer who brought a vigorous athleticism, casual grace and an earthy masculinity to the high romance of lavish Hollywood musicals, died yesterday at his home in Beverly Hills, Calif. He was 83. His longtime publicity agent, Warren Cowan, said Mr. Kelly had never fully recovered from strokes he
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NYTimes article
Critic's Notebook; Welles's 'Othello,' Crowned in Glory
NYTimes - almost 25 years
ORSON WELLES'S screen adaptation of "Othello" shared the top prize at the 1952 Cannes Film Festival with Renato Castellani's sentimental Italian comedy "Two Cents Worth of Hope," approximately four years, three Iagos and a half-dozen Desdemonas after Welles began production in Italy in the summer of 1948. The Castellani film went on to please
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NYTimes article
Review/Film; Costa-Gavras's 'Betrayed,' the World of Bigotry
NYTimes - over 28 years
LEAD: When a widowed Midwestern farmer named Gary Simmons (Tom Berenger) falls in love with a demure young newcomer named Katie Phillips (Debra Winger), he wants her to know everything about his world. So he takes her camping and hunting, but these prove not to be ordinary recreational outings. The campsite is at a white-supremacist outpost in
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NYTimes article
WORD AND IMAGE: REVIEW/TELEVISION; Hitchcock's 'Suspicion' Is Updated
NYTimes - almost 29 years
LEAD: Baffling. That's one word for television's curious habit of tinkering with film classics. In the last several months, we have been treated to mediocre remakes of ''Roman Holiday'' and ''Red River.'' Tonight at 9 o'clock on Channel 13, ''American Playhouse'' has somehow gotten involved in presenting a new version of ''Suspicion,'' the 1941
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Cable TV
NYTimes - over 31 years
Four famed actresses, all ''Late Show'' fixtures, can be appreciated anew this cable week for a cluster of meaty roles in rarely revived films from Hollywood's golden era. Yes, those were the days - and faces: Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Loretta Young and that grande dame Ethel Barrymore. Traditionally, Miss Barrymore is a fringe benefit as
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NYTimes article
FILM: ITALY ITS WOMEN OF THE 20's
NYTimes - about 35 years
''CARELESS'' is a 1962 film by Mauro Bolognini that is only now being released, at the Public Theater. Why? ''Careless'' isn't up to the high standard of that theater's other revivals. Even by comparison to Mr. Bolognini's other works, this one is ponderous and disappointing. Mr. Bolognini is the director of ''Il Bell'Antonio,'' ''La Viaccia,''
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NYTimes article
TRANSLATING FOWLES INTO FILM
NYTimes - over 35 years
Leslie Garis writes frequently on the arts. By Leslie Garis ''The French Lieutenant's Woman,'' one of the most highly acclaimed and complex novels of recent decades, has been tempting film makers since 1969, the year of its publication. John Fowles's best-selling tale of a young Victorian gentleman who falls in love with a mysterious woman of
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NYTimes article
Timeline
Learn about memorable moments in the evolution of Betsy Blair
    LATE_ADULTHOOD
  • 2009
    Age 85
    Blair died of cancer in London on March 13, 2009.
    More Details Hide Details She is survived by a daughter, three stepchildren and several grandchildren.
  • 2003
    Age 79
    In 2003 she published her autobiography, The Memory of All That.
    More Details Hide Details
  • FIFTIES
  • 1980
    Age 56
    In 1980, she was a member of the jury at the 30th Berlin International Film Festival.
    More Details Hide Details Blair filmed scenes for Stephen Daldry's The Hours (2002), initially playing the older version of Julianne Moore's character. It is unclear if she was dropped or if she withdrew from the project.
  • THIRTIES
  • 1963
    Age 39
    Blair married Czech-born director/ producer Karel Reisz in 1963, and would perform sporadically in later years working with Costa-Gavras' (Betrayed, 1988) and on the mini-series Scarlett in 1994.
    More Details Hide Details Reisz died in 2002.
  • 1957
    Age 33
    She and Kelly remained married for sixteen years and had one daughter together before divorcing in 1957.
    More Details Hide Details Blair left Rose's show to accept an offer from choreographer Robert Alton to join the chorus of Panama Hattie, an illustrious line-up which included June Allyson, Doris and Constance Dowling, and Vera-Ellen. Alton—who had previously discovered Gene Kelly—had spotted her when she unsuccessfully auditioned for a part in Louisiana Purchase. During this period she developed a strong interest in Marxism, having been introduced to Lloyd Gough by Kelly, and attended Gough's weekly Marxist study group, which Kelly did not attend. "And it was very serious. Our textbook was The History of the Communist Party of the Soviet Union... I was completely enthralled by the ideas."
    There she met Gene Kelly; they were married the following year, when she was seventeen years old, and divorced sixteen years later in 1957.
    More Details Hide Details After work in the theatre, Blair began her film career playing supporting roles in films such as A Double Life (1947) and Another Part of the Forest (1948). Her interest in Marxism led to an investigation by the House Un-American Activities Committee and Blair was blacklisted for some time, but resumed her career with a critically acclaimed performance in Marty (1955), winning a BAFTA Award and a nomination for an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. She continued her career with regular theatre, film and television work until the mid-1990s.
  • TEENAGE
  • 1941
    Age 17
    In early 1941, Blair secured her first role in a stage play when Kelly's friend William Saroyan chose her to play the female lead role of St. Agnes of the Mice in his play The Beautiful People at the Lyceum Theatre, playing opposite Eugene Loring, and securing excellent reviews from leading critics George Jean Nathan and Richard Watts, Jr..
    More Details Hide Details Watts commented, "The gently sweetly sincere and completely moving gravity and innocence of Miss Blair's utterly right performance is so infinitely touching and beautiful than any studied portrayal could be, that her contribution to the work is gracefully enchanting." Blair was featured in such films as A Double Life (1947), Another Part of the Forest (1948), and The Snake Pit (1948). She continued to hold left-wing political views and admittedly attempted to join the Communist Party. In her autobiography, she revealed her application was rejected as the Party felt she would be more valuable as the wife of the progressive Kelly. Kelly himself was not a Communist and his status as a valuable star provided the couple some protection. In the 1950s, Blair was under investigation from HUAC and blacklisted for several years. She almost lost one of her signature roles, that of Marty's girlfriend in Marty (1955), but was restored to the role after Kelly threatened to pull out of It's Always Fair Weather. For her performance, she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress and prizes from the Cannes Film Festival. Her film career, nonetheless, was damaged during the "red scare" era and she had to seek work on stage in New York and in Europe.
    Blair and Kelly's relationship blossomed, culminating in their marriage in October 1941.
    More Details Hide Details
  • 1940
    Age 16
    In the interim, Blair joined the chorus at the International Casino in Times Square, and when it closed down, worked in the chorus of Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe from January 1940 where Gene Kelly was working as choreographer. "Gene fought for me.
    More Details Hide Details He said I could dance, and he needed some good dancers," she wrote in her autobiography.
  • CHILDHOOD
  • 1933
    Age 9
    At the age of eight, she was enrolled in the Swift Sisters School of Dance, and recalled performing before Eleanor Roosevelt in 1933, winning an amateur contest shortly thereafter, joining a touring amateur show and performing on local radio, as motivating influences in her desire to pursue a dance career.
    More Details Hide Details She joined the John Robert Powers modeling agency and by the age of twelve was in regular demand. She enrolled in the Professional Children's School but, as it was not accredited, her mother returned her to her local school so that she might eventually attend college. She graduated at fifteen, securing a scholarship to Sarah Lawrence College. However, the Board of Admission considered her too immature for entry and requested she wait one year.
  • 1923
    Born
    Born Elizabeth Winifred Boger on December 11, 1923, in Cliffside Park, NJ, her father, William Kidd Boger, was a partner in a small insurance brokerage firm; her mother, Frederica Ammon, was a schoolteacher.
    More Details Hide Details Both were Episcopalians.
Original Authors of this text are noted here.
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