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Betty Field (February 8, 1913 – September 13, 1973) was an American film and stage actress.

Betty Field
Betty Field CM242.jpg
Born(1913-02-08)February 8, 1913
DiedSeptember 13, 1973(1973-09-13) (aged 60)
OccupationActress
Years active1934–71
Spouse(s)
Elmer Rice
(m. 1942; div. 1956)

Edwin J. Lukas
(m. 1957; div. 1967)

Raymond Olivere
(m. 1968)
Children3

Early yearsEdit

Field was born in Boston, Massachusetts, to George and Katharine (née Lynch).[1] She began acting before she reached age 15 and went into stock theater immediately after graduating from high school.[2] She attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.[3]

Producer/director George Abbott is credited with having discovered Field.[4]

StageEdit

Field began her acting career in 1934 on the London stage[3] in Howard Lindsay's farce, She Loves Me Not. Following its run she returned to the United States and appeared in several stage successes, before making her film debut in 1939.

Field's Broadway credits include Page Miss Glory (1934), Room Service (1937), Angel Island (1937), If I Were You (1938), What a Life (1938), The Primrose (1939), Ring Two (1939), Two on an Island (1940), Flight to the West (1940), A New Life (1943), The Voice of the Turtle (1943), Dream Girl (1945), The Rat Race (1949), Not for Children (1951), The Fourposter (1951), The Ladies of the Corridor (1953), Festival (1955), The Waltz of the Toreadors (1958), A Touch of the Poet (1958), A Loss of Roses (1959), Strange Interlude (1963), Where's Daddy? (1966), and All Over (1971).[5]

Her final stage performances were in three productions at Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in 1971.[3]

FilmEdit

 
Field in a scene from Bus Stop (1956)

Field had to overcome obstacles early in her film career. A 1942 newspaper article reported:

When Betty Field was first signed for pictures, conversation buzzed. "But she's not pretty," was the first objection. "And her mouth is too large."[6]

Field's role as Mae, the sole female character, in Of Mice and Men (1939) established her as a dramatic actress.[7] She starred opposite John Wayne in the 1941 film The Shepherd of the Hills. Field played a supporting, yet significant role as Cassandra Tower in Kings Row (1942).

A life member of The Actors Studio,[8] Field preferred performing on Broadway and appeared in Elmer Rice's Dream Girl and Jean Anouilh's The Waltz of the Toreadors, but returned to Hollywood regularly, appearing in Flesh and Fantasy (1943), The Southerner (1945), The Great Gatsby (1949), Picnic (1955), Bus Stop (1956), Peyton Place (1957), for which she was nominated for a Laurel Award, BUtterfield 8 (1960) and Birdman of Alcatraz (1962). Her final film role was in Coogan's Bluff in 1968. She also appeared on television series such as General Electric Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Dr. Kildare and many more.

RadioEdit

Field played Mary Aldrich on The Aldrich Family.[9]

Personal lifeEdit

Her first marriage, to playwright Elmer Rice, ended in divorce in May 1956.[10] The couple had three children, John, Paul and Judith. John became a lawyer, but he died in a swimming accident at age 40. Her second marriage, to Edwin J. Lukas, lasted from 1957–1967. Her third marriage, to Raymond Olivere, lasted from 1968 until her death in 1973.[citation needed]

DeathEdit

Field died from a stroke on September 13, 1973, at Cape Cod Hospital in Hyannis, Massachusetts,[3] aged 60. (Another source says she was 55.)[3]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1939 What a Life Barbara Pearson
Of Mice and Men Mae Jackson
1940 Seventeen Lola Pratt
Victory Alma
1941 The Shepherd of the Hills Sammy Lane
Blues in the Night Kay Grant
1942 Kings Row Cassandra Tower
Are Husbands Necessary? Mary Elizabeth Cugat
1943 Flesh and Fantasy Henrietta (Episode 1)
1944 The Great Moment Elizabeth Morton
Tomorrow, the World! Leona Richards
1945 The Southerner Nona Tucker
1949 The Great Gatsby Daisy Buchanan
1955 Picnic Flo Owens
1956 Bus Stop Grace
1957 Peyton Place Nellie Cross
1959 Hound-Dog Man Cora McKinney
1960 Butterfield 8 Fanny Thurber
1962 Birdman of Alcatraz Stella Johnson
1966 7 Women Florrie Pether
1968 How to Save a Marriage and Ruin Your Life Thelma
Coogan's Bluff Ellen Ringerman

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ GREAT STARS OF THE AMERICAN STAGE by Daniel Blum c.1952 Profile #130
  2. ^ West, Alice Pardoe (December 13, 1936). "Chief Ambition of Betty Is to Be Great Actress". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. p. 23. Retrieved May 21, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  3. ^ a b c d e "Actress Betty Field Dies In a Cape Cod Hospital". The Bridgeport Post. Connecticut, Bridgeport. Associated Press. September 15, 1973. p. 24. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  4. ^ "Film Star, On Vacation, To Appear at New Hope". The Bristol Daily Courier. Pennsylvania, Bristol. July 23, 1940. p. 3. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  5. ^ "Betty Field: Roles". Playbill Vault. Retrieved 21 May 2016.
  6. ^ Lowrance, Dee (February 22, 1942). "Features". The Salt Lake Tribune. Utah, Salt Lake City. p. 43. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  7. ^ "Aided by Unsympathetic Roles". The Ottawa Journal. Canada, Ottawa, Ontario. February 26, 1944. p. 18. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  
  8. ^ Garfield, David (1980). "Appendix: Life Members of The Actors Studio as of January 1980". A Player's Place: The Story of The Actors Studio. New York: MacMillan Publishing Co., Inc. p. 280. ISBN 0-02-542650-8.
  9. ^ Terrace, Vincent (1999). Radio Programs, 1924-1984: A Catalog of More Than 1800 Shows. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-4513-4. P. 19.
  10. ^ "Names in the News". Ogden Standard-Examiner. Utah, Ogden. March 21, 1957. p. 1. Retrieved May 20, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  

External linksEdit