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Comedic film, TV actress Garrett dies at 91


LOS ANGELES – Betty Garrett, a comedic actress who was in such MGM musicals as “On The Town” and “Take Me Out to the Ballgame,” a regular on the television series “All in the Family” and “Laverne & Shirley” and a star on Broadway and in Los Angeles theater productions, has died. She was 91.

Garrett died Saturday of an aortic aneurysm, said her son Garrett Parks.

Born on May 23, 1919, in St. Joseph, Mo., Garrett’s flair for performance was apparent at an early age.

In 1936, a family friend arranged for her to meet famed dancer Martha Graham. Graham recommended Garrett for a scholarship at the Neighborhood Playhouse in New York.

Within a few years, she was landing roles on Broadway. A Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer contract sent her west in 1947, and she spent the next several years making musicals, including 1949’s “Neptune’s Daughter” with Red Skelton and “On the Town” with Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra.

In 1944, Garrett married actor Larry Parks, who had had success on-screen in “The Jolson Story” but whose film career ended with the Hollywood blacklist. The couple toured Britain with a vaudeville act. Parks died in 1975.

Garrett was best known on TV for her roles on two popular 1970s sitcoms, as landlady Edna Babish on “Laverne & Shirley” and as Archie Bunker’s neighbor Irene Lorenzo on “All in the Family.”

In addition to her son Garrett, a composer, she is survived by son Andrew, an actor.


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