Betty Furness

Betty Furness

Actress + Consumer Advocate and Current Affairs Commentator + Special Assistant To the President For Consumer Affairs Under President Lyndon B. Johnson
Born Jan 3, 1916

Elizabeth Mary Furness was an American actress, consumer advocate and current affairs commentator.

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Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Betty Furness.


1916 Birth Born on January 3, 1916.


1932 16 Years Old 1 More Event
Born in New York, New York, Furness made her stage debut in the school holidays in the title role of Alice in Wonderland. She also posed for commercial advertising. She began her professional career as a model before being noticed by a talent scout and being signed to a film contract in 1932 by RKO Studios.


1937 21 Years Old Furness married four times. Her first marriage was to composer-conductor Johnny Green in 1937 with whom she had one child.
1943 27 Years Old After her divorce from Green in 1943, she married Bud Ernest twice; first in 1945, and again in 1946.


1948 32 Years Old In 1948 Furness was performing in the television series Studio One which was broadcast live. … Read More
1950 34 Years Old Her second marriage to him lasted until his death in 1950.
1951 35 Years Old Furness was a regular panelist on What's My Line? in 1951, and that fall appeared in a series of live mysteries on ABC, under the weighty title Your Kaiser Dealer Presents Kaiser-Frazer "Adventures In Mystery" Starring Betty Furness In "Byline".
1953 37 Years Old In 1953 she appeared in her own daytime television series Meet Betty Furness, which was sponsored by Westinghouse; she remained a spokesperson for the company until 1960. … Read More


1967 51 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1967 President Lyndon Baines Johnson, aware of her work for the Democrats contacted Furness and offered her the position of Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs.
1969 53 Years Old She accepted the assignment and continued in this role until the end of the Johnson administration in 1969. … Read More
1970 54 Years Old She was appointed by then-Governor of New York Nelson Rockefeller in August 1970 to serve as the first chairman and executive director of the New York State Consumer Protection Board, and served in the position until July 1971 before returning to television.


1976 60 Years Old Signed by WNBC in New York, Furness reported on consumer issues, and specifically targeted examples of consumer fraud. In 1976 she began an association with The Today Show filling in as anchor following the departure of Barbara Walters and providing regular reports.
1977 61 Years Old In 1977 her program Buyline: Betty Furness won the Peabody Award.
1990 74 Years Old In 1990 Furness was diagnosed with cancer.
1992 76 Years Old She continued working for The Today Show until she was released from her contract in 1992. … Read More
1994 78 Years Old Furness expressed her philosophy of never declining a job, and she believed it be the reason that she progressed through such an unconventional series of professions. During her illness she stated that she wanted nothing more than to be able to work, and, (consumer reporter to the end), once mentioned in an interview that, as far as her cancer went, "the treatment is worse than the disease", but her health continued to deteriorate until her death in New York from stomach cancer in 1994.
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