Monday, February 28, 2011
remembering.........

Betty....at one of our "Ladies Who Lunch" Birthday Celebrations---this one was for Kim's Birthday in 2009.....She is showing off her "bling"....one of the silly but fun rings that I had in the Gift Bag......No one enjoyed a gift more than Betty---whether big or small, she would take all of her goodies home and spread them out on the table so she could see them all and savor each one---she always retained that child-like wonder...... Christmas, 1989, New York......Betty is holding up a painting that I had painted and given to her.....It was Christmas Eve, and Betty was performing in "Meet Me In St. Louis" on Broadway....She had done a show that day and was still in her make-up.....Here below, in her dressing room in her finale costume.....I was in New York four times while Betty was doing "Meet Me"....I came for Christmas and then came back to visit a relative who was dying, and then came back again for his funeral....Of course I saw Betty each time....And, I had also come in for the Opening of "Meet Me" in November.....Here below, we are about to go to the Opening Night party....this picture was taken in her dressing room, too..... So many wonderful memories....Such special times, always. Betty was amazing in "Meet Me In St. Louis"...dancing on top of a small table, at not-quite 70 years old....! No one loved performing more than Betty and I've never known anyone who had such 'joy' in the act of performing...It was her life's blood; her 'plasma', if you will.....and the audience loved her. Whatever that IT factor was, she had it and it translated on the stage and on the screen, too....the audience "got" her.....she was her authentic self and that always came through...... "My One And Only", on stage.....just a few years ago at Reprise, here in Los Angeles.....And, at Theatre West a couple of years ago--on stage...."Betty Garrett, Closet Songwriter". This was a show that encompassed original lyrics that Betty had written over the years, many with different composers, including me..... And, below, back in 1963....."Spoon River Anthology", Betty and Joyce Van Patten----the only other person I know who loves performing as much as Betty did, and who has devoted her life to acting, (She is rehearsing a show right now in New York that will open at The Roundabout....) Here they are, on stage together.... 'Daisy Frasier' and 'Aner Clute'.....playing these two drunken fallen women......They were soooo good!!! And here we all are, below....at Synanon, the first drug rehabilitation center run by recovering addicts. It was in Santa Monica right on the beach.....this was back in the summer of 1963 when we did one performance of 'Spoon River' for the group before we went to New York and Broadway.... There we are....the six of us, standing behind some of the Synanon residents.....(I'm at the very end on the right...Betty is over on the left next to Hal Lynch, and next to her, Bob Elston, and next to him, Joyce...and then an unknown person to me and then, on my right side, Chuck Aidman, who did the adaptation and also was in it, as well as directing it.......) What a glorious time this was......Such wonderful memories. Here below, Betty and me and Joyce........ This was snapshot taken by a fan of Betty's......We were in Betty's dressing room----between shows on a Matinee day. This was at The Belasco Theatre on West 44th street, where we had moved because something else was coming into The Booth Theatre and our show had been extended.......I love Joyce's make-up....it looked very white and kind of Kabuki-like in this picture, but actually it really wasn't.....And here we are above.....sometime in the early 1990's, I think, at some Theatre West fund raising evening. The whole idea and concept of Theatre West was Joyce Van Patten's, and Betty was there from the beginning---(I came in to Theatre West some 8 months months after it began in January 1962.....!) It was an amazing place in those first 6 years or so. That is where "Spoon River" started......Up until February 12th, 2011, the three of us---Joyce, Betty and myself, were the three remaining original cast members, all the men had died----now, it is just Joyce and me---hard to fathom.......And here below, Betty & I, in her dressing room at The Belasco Theatre in 2001 when she was doing Stephen Sondheim's "Follies"..... The very same dressing room that was hers when we were doing "Spoon River" in 1963-64, where the whole cast---all six of us----would meet and sing "We Shall Overcome" before every show. Amazing. It was the first time I had been backstage at The Belasco in all those years.....We went upstairs to visit my old dressing room..... It was only later that we both realized we had gone up one flight too many....But, it pretty much looked like my old dressing room, anyway, and I sat down in the chair in front of the big mirror, as I had back in the day.....And another coincidence, Joyce actually was housed in my old dressing room sometime on the late 1990's or early 2000 when she did another play at The Belasco....It many ways, the Broadway theatre world is a small and wonderful world.....Here below, Betty, with Marge Champion---her dressing room mate during "Follies"......It was Betty's Birthday and it was between the Matinee and evening shows....And we went out for dinner.....Both her boys were there and her Cousin Carol, too......Another very special time.......Like I said, so very many wonderful memories....I will always treasure them, but it's hard to realize we won't be making any more now.......



More To Come.........



Note: Still in 'the recovery room' here....but I wanted to thank everyone for all your loving and caring words....It means a lot--believe me! Please forgive my absence, but I'm just trying to process this stunning blow........









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45 Comments:
had this to say:

she was beautiful inside and out..
don't ever fear that the memory of her will be gone because it won't be.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 3:21:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I'm sure writing your remembrances of her is helpful. I hope you're printing these out for her family, because I'm sure they'd be very meaningful to them.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 3:26:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

So many years of loving friendship! Thank you for sharing this gift. I am continuing to send you love and light.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 4:16:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh Naomi, We all must grieve when we lose someone we love...You and Betty had so many years together as friends... Reading of your memories and seeing the pictures is such a sweet way to let us all know of your wonderful friendship... Thank you so much for sharing Betty with us... Take care my friend.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 5:36:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

The one thing that seems to stay constant about Betty in all the photos is the sparkle in her beautiful eyes. They just radiate energy.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:00:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I haven't been able to get to people's blogs in the last week but I'm so glad I'm here now.

What wonderful photos of both you and your dear dear friend Betty. Wow she lived life to the max! She looks like she packed more in one week than most of us do in a life time.

Thinking of you at this time. xxxxxxxx

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 6:32:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What a wonderful life that lady had but then, so did you. It is marvelous how many years and shared experiences you had together.
I love the pictures of you two together. The shared affection is so evident.
I agree with R Sherman. I am pretty sure her family reads you posts and it has to be helpful to them also.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:01:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Beautiful photos and ladies. The best part of seeing this string of photos is seeing what I already knew that you and your friends have always valued what you had, you nurtured it and there will be no regrets even as you will, of course, always miss the place she held in your life. She lived it all as you are doing. Sometimes that is the tough stuff and sometimes the beautiful but a life fully lived is the most for which any of us can ask.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:22:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I am thankful you felt up to sharing your memories.

You remind us all to be the best friend we can be to loved ones.

Hugs and prayers

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 5:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love seeing all the photos and reading about Betty. She was so lovely and she just looks like a person who would be nice and friendly to everyone!

I love that T-shirt she has on about 'age is only important if you are a cheese!' How cute!!!

Hang in there Naomi. I've been thinking about you. I know it's awful when you want to pick up the phone and call her and know that you can't. Thank God for the wonderful friendship and memories you had together. Friends like her are rare and you were blessed to have been friends all these years.

Thanks for sharing with us. xxxoxx

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 8:14:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

No need to publish this, if you'd prefer not to.

I missed the Oscars, but learned today that the "Those We Lost" omitted Ms. Garrett, along with Peter Graves. Perhaps there wasn't enough time. I hope that's corrected next year.

BTW, tomorrow, I'm sending you the magazine obit, I mentioned. Sorry for the delay, but things have been hectic. Don't fret if you get a letter from a law firm in Missouri, as my long suffering secretary will be typing everything and making sure it gets in the mail.

Cheers, dear.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 9:33:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Hi sweet friend! Still sending you love and support and reminding you that I;m here and that you're so very loved! Hang in there! XO

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

We understand, Naomi. Such a good friend, a rare gift, and so many memories. Be good to yourself.

Monday, February 28, 2011 at 10:27:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Love seeing these photos, Naomi!
What a beautiful serie of "remembering pictures".
Thank you for sharing your dear friend Betty with us.
Sending warm hugs to you, my dear friend.

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 8:39:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Such dear friendship and forever cherished Naomi. Thanks for sharing such beautiful memories and I felt the lost within....but hang in there my dear friend....Big Hugs!!!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 3:48:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I wish I'd been able to see every performance Betty ever gave. I am grateful that I was able to attend many of her Theatre West plays in recent years (including the wonderful "Closet Songwriter" production) as well as her wonderful performance in a Reprise musical a few years ago. I can't even remember what the show was, but I sure remember Betty stealing the show! She came out and did her first few scenes in a wheelchair causing an audible gasp from the audience and then rocked the house when she yelled at another character, "Are you going to make me get out of this chair?" and proceeded to hoist herself up and dance and sing merrily across the stage like a 20-year-old. She was one-of-a-kind. At the Paley Center in Bev Hills you can watch the TV pilot she did with Larry decades ago--I loved it!

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 5:49:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

My Dear Naomi, I have not been near a computer in months, but the day I saw of Betty's passing on the news I have been praying for you and her lovely family and all of us fans. what a great loss....
recover as you need, but please continue to share all the wonderful stories you have of all those beautiful people you were so blessed to have in your world.
You are always in my Prayers, Larena

Tuesday, March 1, 2011 at 7:46:00 PM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Lovely to see more photos of Betty and more happy memories. They are yours for life.
Standing on a table on stage aged 70 - what a gutsy lady she was.
I read in one of the obits that Betty's career had suffered due to that dreadful period when that monster McCarthy held sway. She showed tremendous courage.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 8:18:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I've been reading all of your posts and crying for you. What a wonderful friendship that you two got to share.

Giant hugs to you, Naomi.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 9:07:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Everyone understands how devastated you are, Naomi, and you need to just take care of yourself.

I have so enjoyed reading your memories of Betty. I hope you'll continue to share them with us. I loved Danny's comment about her, too. She must have been "something else"!

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 1:37:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thank you so much for posting your memories and photos. Since I've never had a chance to know personally the marvelous actors behind my favorite movies, and have seen only a few stage wonders in my life, I'm grateful to you for bringing them to life for me.

Nancy in Iowa

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 3:31:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, you could post every day about Betty and it would be fine with me! I know that remembering her and all your special times together is helping you through it.

Wednesday, March 2, 2011 at 7:10:00 PM PST 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Great posts, Na. Terrific pictures, too. Thanks so much for all of it. She loved you very much!
Karen

Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 7:22:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Oh sweet friend, it worries me just a little bit when you don't post all week. I'm still here, still thinking of you. XO

Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 12:06:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

The friendship between you and Betty is so very inspiring. It's so rich and goes back so far. I feel the loss of it for and with you. Because of your sharing over the years, I feel as if I know her.

Thursday, March 3, 2011 at 7:02:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Thanks for sharing your Betty and memories together. Very valuable and healthy, I think, for you to recall and re-live precious moments.

Glad to see she made a statement about aging not only in her life but on her shirt.

Interesting to learn a little more about "Spoon River..." and see the photos. Would enjoy hearing some of the music. '63 was a momentous year in so many ways and one for you with your friend, Betty.

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 3:35:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,
Just stopping by to wish you a nice day!
Many hugs!

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 11:06:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Beautiful Naomi...

Take your time. The stories of your close friendship with Betty and the others you two shared as friend will emerge out of your tears and loss.

Someone told me last spring when I was in shock over the loss in my life that "tears bring strength..." I thought she was crazy. But, I found out she was right. Well, after you blow your nose and then have a nap.

xxxx

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:46:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi, I just heard about Betty's passing today & immediately thought of you. I am SO sorry for your loss; I know how much you love Betty & what a dear, close friend she was to you. I wish I could go there & give you a warm hug - my heart & love go out to you.

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:56:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I love people who take the time to enjoy each gift someone gives them, whether it be "goodies" or the gift of love. It's almost like they make a choice to believe that everyone means well and that everyone loves them -- a choice of child-like wonder/innocence.

Her smile was absolutely stunning. A true representation, it seems, of who she was inside her heart.

Lovely.

Friday, March 4, 2011 at 8:59:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

Through your posts I realize more and more how much you must miss your longtime friendship.
I hope your sharing will help a little especially as you share so many beautiful memories.

Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 7:27:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

the dressing room photos really made me smile
you look adorable in your Varisty shirt

Hope sends hugs
and so do I

Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 10:45:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Wow beautiful memories of Betty.. You will be ok with the family with all these wonderful memories of her and keep them coming when you are up to them.. Its not easy losing such a dear friend..

You will always remember something of her and it will mean way more to you. thanks for sharing her and your memories with us.. You are both very strong and gorgeous women..

Saturday, March 5, 2011 at 4:09:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What a lovely tribute to a beautiful, talented lady. Naomi, thanks to you, Giuseppe and I, were able to meet, and watch her perform at numerous STAGE performances. Her talent, charm and grace poured out from her very soul. Thank you for this beautiful poem to your lovely friend. Cynthia de Piero

Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 5:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Naomi, there are so many wonderful times you shared with Betty, both professionally and privately, I can see why you would miss her terribly. She was a warm and special friend.

I hope you find comfort in all your beautiful memories and all those fun photos of the two of you together. I love that you share them and the stories behind them. I look forward to hearing more about your past and the people who helped make it magical and memorable, like your good friend, Betty. I'm so glad you both never lost your child-like enthusiasm. It's what it's all about!

Love 'n hugs...Ily

Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 5:52:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

I don't make it by here all the time, but when I heard about Betty, I thought of you.

Many prayers for you and for her family.

The posts you have done are such a beautiful testimony to your special friendship and to what an incredible woman she was.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 2:57:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

another lovely tribute to Betty. So charming, so very charming. Her passing is one of those that you may never fully "get over" but the pain will lessen somewhat. Hang in there Naomi, you are in my thoughts.

Sunday, March 6, 2011 at 4:29:00 PM PST 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

Thinking of you dear, as I'm sure your many devoted friends are also.

Monday, March 7, 2011 at 2:59:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

What better therapy for your grieving heart and soul could there be than remembering all the wonderful times you've had over the years with Betty?
We've all known what it's like to nurse a grudge and go over and over in our mind all the negative stuff of life. It is so great that you can "nurse" the good, marvelous, and joyous memories of your decades of friendship with such a unique woman.
You are in a healing process, and I'm so glad you are posting some of those memories and pictures that can feed your soul during this time of pain and grief. I'm sure you have smiled and laughed as you've gone over past experiences and looked at photos from various events.
There is a hole in your heart that will never be fully mended in this lifetime. Betty was much too precious and has a place in your life that cannot be filled by anything or anyone else. That is what happens when we experience deep relationship. Great love means great loss when that person is taken from us. I am just SO glad that you and Betty had such an incredible friendship!!

Monday, March 7, 2011 at 8:37:00 AM PST 

had this to say:

Keep processing friend. Know that you are not alone. XO

Monday, March 7, 2011 at 8:29:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

What an inspiring story, and person, this was. Lovely woman.

Thursday, March 10, 2011 at 12:00:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

I enjoy reading your memories – they are so sweet and heartfelt. Your friendship certainly was an outstanding one. I hope being able to show all these cherished pictures and talk about your time together bring you some comfort.

Saturday, March 12, 2011 at 2:49:00 PM PST 

had this to say:

This is a lovely post Naomi. Gosh what beautiful memories - and wow think about how many of those you have over a 50 years friendship. Always smiling when you are together - the photos speak volumes of how close you were and how happy in each others' company. she is still singing and dancing where ever she is of that I am sure. And its going to be sad for you for some time to come - but keep those memories alive and arent her family lucky they have you to document it all - that is a priceless gift. Lots of love to you and stay well. Lilly xx

Wednesday, March 16, 2011 at 10:07:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

this is great - all these memories.

Thursday, April 21, 2011 at 9:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Would like to use the photo of you at synanon in a documenary I am making on behavior modification programs I was wondering who owns the rights to the photos,

Carter Alexader
(714)883-0206
Obsticle714@yahoo.com

Saturday, August 10, 2013 at 10:55:00 PM PDT 

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