Betsy Blair

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Sue Lawley's castaway this week is Betsy Blair. She was an actress in Hollywood during its heyday and is best known for her role in Marty, the Oscar-winning tale of a shy butcher and lonely teacher who, against the advice of friends and family, fall in love. She was barely 16 when she began her career as a dancer and it was while she was on her way to an early audition that she met Gene Kelly. She was still a teenager and he was 12 years her senior, but they were married and the couple set up home in one of Hollywood's most glamorous addresses - Rodeo Drive. They were known for throwing open their doors on Saturday night for star-studded parties; their guests included Tyrone Power, Judy Garland and Greta Garbo.

After 16 years, the marriage broke up and Betsy moved first to France then England where she met and married Karel Reisz, director of The French Lieutenant's Woman. She embraced a career in European films, working with celebrated directors including Juan Antonio Bardem and Michelangelo Antonioni. Her 1955 film Marty was shown again as one of the classic films at this year's Cannes Film Festival.

[Taken from the original programme material for this archive edition of Desert Island Discs]

Favourite track: There's a Boat dat's Leaving Soon for New York by George Gershwin
Book: Reading Lyrics - American Songs 1900-1975
Luxury: An ice cream maker

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45 minutes

Last on

Fri 17 Jun 2005 09:00


Role Contributor
PresenterSue Lawley
Interviewed GuestBetsy Blair

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