Betty Garrett

Performer


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

Tab

About
About this interview

In her two-and-a-half hour Archive interview, Betty Garrett (1919-2011) talks about her early years training as an actress and dancer at the Neighborhood Playhouse and with Martha Graham in New York City in the 1930s. She describes her stage debut in 1938 in Orson Welles' and John Houseman's Mercury Theatre production of "Danton's Death." She discusses her other stage roles, such as "Something for the Boys" with Ethel Merman and "Laffing Room Only" with Olsen and Johnson. She speaks about her movie career at MGM and the dark days of the Hollywood Blacklist that greatly affected her and her husband, Larry Parks. Garrett talks about her first work in early television in Chicago and on such New York shows as All Star Revue and Texaco Command Appearance. She recalls her television work in the 1960s in The Art Carney Specials, The Chevy Show, The Lloyd Bridges Show, and The Fugitive. She describes in great detail, the two television roles for which she is most identified, "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family and "Edna Babbish" on Laverne & Shirley. Finally, she talks about later guest appearances on such series as Murder, She Wrote, The Golden Girls and Becker. Karen Herman conducted the interview on May 21, 2003 in Studio City, CA.

"If you just sit around and wait for the phone to ring, you'll get nowhere."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Betty Garrett on being cast by Norman Lear as "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband, Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on working with Laverne & Shirley producer Garry Marshall
Betty Garrett on her early nightclub act and work on Broadway
Betty Garrett on her first appearance on television on a local Chicago show
Betty Garrett on how she'd like to be remembered
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her early life and influences; on radio and movies she enjoyed while growing up; on deciding she wanted to be a performer
On being part of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Group, and on working with Welles; on studying acting with Sanford Meisner
On working at the 1939 World's Fair, and on the television exhibition; on her early nightclub act and work on Broadway

Chapter 2

On appearing in the Broadway show "Laughing Room Only," and on meeting her husband, Larry Parks; on moving to Los Angeles and becoming a contract player at MGM, and on her first appearance on television; on appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour
On how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband, Larry Parks; on finally being removed from the Blacklist, and on meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Chapter 3

On working with her husband, Larry Parks, on various television and stage projects, and on the types of characters she played; on appearing on the Art Carney Specials; on appearing on The Chevy Show, The Lloyd Bridges Show, and The Fugitive
On being cast by Norman Lear as "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family, and on that character; on the All in the Family episode "Edith's Christmas Story," and on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"; on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" and Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic"

Chapter 4

On working with Rob Reiner as "Mike Stivic" on All in the Family; on working with Vincent Gardenia as "Frank Lorenzo" on All in the Family, and on his unhappiness with the show; on favorite All in the Family episodes, how viewers reacted to her on the show, and why she left
On playing "Edna Babish" on Laverne & Shirley; on working with the cast and crew of Laverne & Shirley; on her favorite episodes of the show, and on leaving after seven years
On guest-starring on The Love Boat and Murder, She Wrote; on guest-starring on The Golden Girls; on guest-starring on The Good Life

Chapter 5

On guest-starring on Harts of the West with Beau Bridges; on guest-starring on Boston Public and on Becker with Ted Danson; on continuing to work, and her proudest achievement
On advice to aspiring performers; on various people she's worked with in her career; on how she'd like to be remembered
On b-roll pictures from her career- with her father; the Wintergarden Theater; on stage in "Laughing Room Only"; on stage in "Call Me Mister"; with Mickey Rooney; with Frank Sinatra; with Danny Thomas; with Jack Lemmon and Janet Leigh; at the Palladium in London; with Larry Parks; with Carroll O'Connor on the set of All in the Family; with the cast of Laverne & Shirley; with her family
Shows

All in the Family

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on being cast by Norman Lear as "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on her All in the Family character "Irene Lorenzo"
Betty Garrett on the All in the Family episode "Edith's Christmas Story," and on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"
Betty Garrett on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on working with Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on working with Rob Reiner as "Mike Stivic" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on working with Vincent Gardenia as "Frank Lorenzo" on All in the Family, and on his unhappiness with the show
Betty Garrett on favorite All in the Family episodes, how viewers reacted to her on the show, and why she left

Art Carney Specials

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on the Art Carney Specials

Becker

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Becker with Ted Danson

Boston Public

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Boston Public and on Becker with Ted Danson

Colgate Comedy Hour, The

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour

Fugitive, The

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Fugitive, starring David Janssen

Golden Girls, The

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Golden Girls

Good Life, The (1971-72)

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Good Life

Harts of the West

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Harts of the West with Beau Bridges

Laverne & Shirley

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on playing "Edna Babish" on Laverne & Shirley
Betty Garrett on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" and Cindy Williams as "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley
Betty Garrett on working with the directors of Laverne & Shirley
Betty Garrett on working with Laverne & Shirley producer Garry Marshall
Betty Garrett on the Laverne & Shirley episode "Slow Child," and on her favorite episodes
Betty Garrett on leaving Laverne & Shirley

Lloyd Bridges Show, The

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Chevy Show and The Lloyd Bridges Show

Love Boat, The

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Love Boat

Murder, She Wrote

View Show Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Murder, She Wrote, and on working with Angela Lansbury
Topics

1939-40 World's Fair

View Topic
Betty Garrett on working at the 1939 World's Fair, and on the television exhibition

Advice

View Topic
Betty Garrett on advice to aspiring performers

Historic Events and Social Change

View Topic
Betty Garrett on working at the 1939 World's Fair, and on the television exhibition

Hollywood Blacklist

View Topic
Betty Garrett on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on finally being removed from the Blacklist, and on meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Industry Crossroads

View Topic
Betty Garrett on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband, Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on finally being removed from the Blacklist, and on meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Television Industry

View Topic
Betty Garrett on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband, Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on finally being removed from the Blacklist, and on meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy
Betty Garrett on advice to aspiring performers
Professions

Actress

View Profession
Betty Garrett on advice to aspiring performers

Performers

View Profession
Betty Garrett on advice to aspiring performers
Genres

Comedy Series

View Genre
Betty Garrett on playing "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on playing "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family
Betty Garrett on playing "Edna Babish" on Laverne & Shirley
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Love Boat
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Murder, She Wrote, and on working with Angela Lansbury
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Golden Girls
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on The Good Life
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Becker with Ted Danson

Drama Series

View Genre
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Chevy Show and The Lloyd Bridges Show
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Fugitive, starring David Janssen

Music Shows & Variety Shows/Specials

View Genre
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Colgate Comedy Hour
Betty Garrett on appearing on the Art Carney Specials
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Chevy Show and The Lloyd Bridges Show

Western Series

View Genre
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Harts of the West with Beau Bridges
People

Lucille Ball

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Lucille Ball

Humphrey Bogart

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Humphrey Bogart

Lloyd Bridges

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Chevy Show and The Lloyd Bridges Show

Art Carney

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on the Art Carney Specials

Carol Channing

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Carol Channing

Imogene Coca

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Imogene Coca

Ted Danson

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Becker with Ted Danson

Jimmy Durante

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Jimmy Durante

Vincent Gardenia

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on working with Vincent Gardenia as "Frank Lorenzo" on All in the Family, and on his unhappiness with the show

David Janssen

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on appearing on The Fugitive starring David Janssen

Angela Lansbury

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on guest-starring on Murder, She Wrote, and on working with Angela Lansbury

Norman Lear

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on being cast by Norman Lear as "Irene Lorenzo" on All in the Family

Jack Lemmon

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Jack Lemmon

Max Liebman

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Max Liebman

Penny Marshall

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" and Cindy Williams as "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley

Garry Marshall

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on working with Laverne & Shirley producer Garry Marshall

Joseph McCarthy

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on finally being removed from the Hollywood Blacklist, and on meeting Senator Joseph McCarthy

Sanford Meisner

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on studying acting with Sanford Meisner

Carroll O'Connor

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on working with Carroll O'Connor as "Archie Bunker" on All in the Family

Larry Parks

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on meeting her husband, Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on how the Hollywood Blacklist impacted her and her husband, Larry Parks
Betty Garrett on working with her husband, Larry Parks, on various television and stage projects, and on the types of characters she played
Betty Garrett on her husband, Larry Parks

Rob Reiner

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on working with Rob Reiner as "Mike Stivic" on All in the Family

Red Skelton

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Red Skelton, and on her manager Lou Mandell

Jean Stapleton

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on the All in the Family episode "Edith's Christmas Story," and on working with Jean Stapleton as "Edith Bunker"

Sally Struthers

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on working with Sally Struthers as "Gloria Stivic" on All in the Family

Ed Sullivan

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on various people she's worked with in her career: Ed Sullivan

Orson Welles

View Person Page
Betty Garrett on being part of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre Group, and on working with Welles

Cindy Williams

View Interview Page
Betty Garrett on working with Penny Marshall as "Laverne DeFazio" and Cindy Williams as "Shirley Feeney" on Laverne & Shirley

All Interviews

Q
S