Friday, May 20, 2011
a birthday

On Monday, May 23rd, it would have been my dear sweet Betty's 92nd Birthday.....92. My Lord! It doesn't seem possible....but, indeed, that is the age she would have been......God, how I miss her. There are no words to describe the hole in my heart and in my life---now, that she is no longer here....I need to call her on the friggin' phone! And I cannot. I need to hear her voice---and I don't mean in my memory---I need to hear her voice on the other end of that phone, and as we hang up, I need to hear her saying---'I Love You'. What a great great friend she was. So understanding. So full of life! So caring and loving and encouraging.....! And so much fun! Here she is with Lee M., playing......Betty never lost that wonderful child inside her, Thank God! Always game and up for just about anything....remember that one Halloween? It was Betty's idea that we all "dress up" for our Halloween Lunch----starting over on the left, that is Seemah, then Bridget and me and Betty and then Dianne and then Lee, dressed as a Paint-By-Numbers person....Here below are some more pictures of dear Betty at some other Birthday Celebrations..... Above.....Betty's Birthday Celebration at the then Argyle Hotel...I think this was 1992......And then below....Betty's 75th, in 1994, at her home---it was a big bash. That was the year Betty had been so sick we thought we were going to lose her.....And then below, in 1999......her 80th Birthday held at The Pasadena Playhouse, with a big dinner before at The Green Hotel. This was a fund raiser for Theatre West...... And then, in 2001, when Betty was doing "Follies" on Broadway.....I went to New York so I could be there for her Birthday and to see the show. Her Birthday fell on a Wednesday that year, so she had two shows that day---the Matinee and the Evening---and I saw both of them! We went out for dinner, in between shows. So coming back to this years honor of Betty's 92nd, this Monday, May 23rd, Turner Classic Movies is showing 6 of Betty's films, all in a row. Actually, there are seven---if you count the first one starting at 6:15am (EST), HOLLYWOOD: THE DREAM FACTORY, (1972), which is a wonderful documentary about MGM---it's rise and fall, narrated by Dick Cavett.....Betty is in that briefly. But the first real film showing at 7:15am (EST) is called "BIG CITY", (1948), and Betty's credit in that film is 'And Introducing Betty Garrett'. It's a sweet story..... This has a very interesting cast---a young Margaret O'Brien, George Murphy, Robert Preston and Danny Thomas....Next, at 9:am (EST) is "WORDS & MUSIC", (1948). It is the fictionalized story of Richard Rodgers and Lorenz Hart----lots of great songs and Betty plays Mickey Rooney's love interest. Betty gets to sing "There's A Small Hotel", a wonderful song by this legendary pair of brilliant songwriters...... That is Mickey Rooney above, as Hart, and Betty, and Janet Leigh as Mrs. Rodgers and at the piano, Tom Drake as Richard Rodgers.....Rooney is the only one still alive. 11:15am (EST) is "NEPTUNE'S DAUGHTER"(1949), one of the two films Betty made with Esther Williams. In this film, Betty got to introduce the song, "Baby It's Cold Outside", with Red Skelton. It won the Best Song Academy Award that year..... That is Keenan Wynn and Esther Williams and Betty......All of them were under contract to MGM at that time. All the films TCM is showing, except one, were made at MGM.....The next film is "ON THE TOWN", (1949) showing at 1pm, (EST).......This is one of two films that Betty played opposite Frank Sinatra, as his love interest....She plays a New York Cab Driver and pursues Sinatra, relentlessly----it is great fun! That's Vera Ellen & Gene Kelly over on the left; Ann Miller and Jules Munshin in the middle, and Frank Sinatra and Betty over on the right....Betty loved working with Sinatra....And in fact she loved working with all these great people...! Again, lots of good music and great dancing......Next, at at 2:45pm (EST) is "TAKE ME OUT TO THE BALLGAME", (1949).....the second film she made with Easter Williams, Gene Kelly and Frank Sinatra......She is delightful in the picture! And she gets to pick Frank Sinatra up and swing him around---and she actually did it! Look at how skinny Sinatra was back then....I'm not sure he weighed that much more that Betty in this the last film of Betty's that TCM is showing on Monday, May 23rd at 4:30pm, (EST), is "MY SISTER EILEEN", (1955), with Jack Lemmon.This story has quite a history....First it was a book, then, it became a film with Rosalind Russell and Janet Blair....not a musical. Then, it became a Broadway Musical called "Wonderful Town" with Rosalind Russel and Edie Adams....and then, in it's next incarnation, it became this film with Betty. It is a musical too, but with an entirely different score than "Wonderful Town" which was by Leonard Bernstein and Betty Comden & Adolph Green.....This score was written by Jule Styne and Leo Robin.....(Styne wrote a lot of Broadway Musicals---the greatest of these, in my opinion was "Gypsy", with lyrics by Stephen Sondheim.......) Above, with Jack Lemmon---her love interest in this film, it also starred, Janet Leigh and a very young Bob Fosse, who did the Choreography for the film, too.....If you get a chance to see any of these films, you won't be sorry. For those of you unfamiliar with Betty's earlier film career---these films are a real treat! So, my dear dear friend, I will be thinking of you on Monday and wishing we were all sitting around my Dining Room table for another "Ladies Who Lunch", to celebrate your 92nd.....Happy Happy Birthday, dear sweet friend......

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

Links to this post:


had this to say:

Oh wow - what a star Betty was, and what a star you are remembering her in such a way on her birthday.


Friday, May 20, 2011 at 5:50:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

A marvelous retrospective. I'm so sorry for you that she's gone. Fortunately, she is not forgotten, as long as there are her friends to write down posts and memories like these.

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 6:14:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a lovely tribute to your dear friend!!!! I know how much you miss her.

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 7:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

A wonderful tribute to dear Betty. I know you miss her so very much. I'm glad you did this post a bit early, and I will try to watch some of her movies on Monday!

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 9:55:00 AM PDT 

Blogger Pat
had this to say:

This post illustrates how important it is to make the most of our friends whilst they are with us - and you certainly did. Even when both of you have had serious health problems you both always made the effort and how rewarding was that for everybody?
Thank you for reminding us of the wonderful productions she has been involved in. They are all stellar but 'Words and Music' and the song 'There's a Small Hotel' have always been extra special to me.
Like all great artistes Betty lives on in her work.

Friday, May 20, 2011 at 3:58:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

well, that made me cry but still a most fabulous post Naomi.
Great, great pictures of Betty and so many of the movies I remember right away!
I think we all know the feeling of needing to hear loved ones voices again, to make things right in the world again.
Thank you for the trip down movie memory lane.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 3:30:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Dear Naomi,
What a lovely tribute to your lovely friend Betty! I know how much you miss her... I remember well many photos you post. Betty always looks adorable and so happy!
I agree with Pat, like all great artistes Betty lives on her work and on your heart, for sure.
I hope you have a pleasant weekend.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 7:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

It looks like Betty was a wonderful friend and a great person to be around. Gone, but certainly not forgotten.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 10:01:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Wow I had no idea she was 91!! That some age, and boy did she look great too!

It must be so hard for you not being able to talk to her on the phone, and see her when you do your fantastic lunches, but I do believe that she is with you in spirit. I really do.

What a wonderful birthday tribute this is! I love all the photos!

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 10:46:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great post for Betty. I'm so sorry that your heart is hurting for her. A wonderful friendship that you two got to share.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 11:25:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Randy - Las Vegas
had this to say:

Naomi - Thank you so much for this wonderful tribute in celebration of Betty's birthday. And if it weren't for you I would not have known about the TCM tribute Monday - I will have my VCR ready - I have never seen "Big City" so that will be a wonderful treat.

Hugs and Love to you always XXOO

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 12:09:00 PM PDT 

Blogger Mar
had this to say:

Beautiful tribute to your dear friend Betty!

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 2:22:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This post is so bittersweet, Naomi, and I am sure it is for you too. Jim will love it!

Rest in Peace, Betty, we loved you.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 5:29:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

Sigh. So impossibly sad that she's not here but I want to imagine her all decked out and dancing with Larry at some kind of celestial Coconut Grove on Monday! I'm so glad TCM is showing all of those films on her birthday--every single one is a gem and Betty's the best part of all of them. Love your photos, Naomi! I'm so glad I was able to attend Betty's 80th and 90th celebrations.

Saturday, May 21, 2011 at 6:18:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

A wonderful post! What a great person she was. In every photo that you post of her, you can just see that twinkle in her eye. I love looking at them.

Thanks so much for letting us know about Turner Classic Movies' tribute! I'll tune in, for sure.

That's a gorgeous birthday cake, too.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 9:09:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

The wonderful thing about your friendship is that you don't have regrets. You were there for each other,shared wonderful moments, and always knew some one had your back and best interest to heart. What a blessing.
Thanks for the info on TCM. I will hit the DVR right now to record.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 9:23:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

She was so beautiful, in every way. You are so very fortunate to have been her friend.


Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 10:47:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

Oh my dear, I understand you miss Betty. You have made a brilliant contribution to her memory; one I'm sure she would adore.
I do.
You know, on May 18, my oldest Son died 3 years ago. I still cry. To day I received a message from his Son, who as well are in sorrow.

On the other hand, we had the pleasure to have my Daughter and Grandson here for a week. And we did visit my mother, born 1919, before I drove them to the Airport.

btw. My Internet, and all the neigbours ass well, is a "catastrophy" for the time beeing. I'll be in meeting with some people later this week to clean up the mess with our vendors.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 11:11:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I'm disappointed that I didn't get to watch tv this weekend so I missed the special TCM tribute but I'm so happy that I made it by in time to celebrate your wonderful and beautiful friend.

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 2:19:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

This is a beautiful post, Naomi, with wonderful stories and pictures. Betty had such sparkle and excitement and you loved and appreciated every bit of she loved and appreciated you. I am sorry your heart aches, it's been so soon, but I hope that sharing with us will apply some gentle salve. Because she's part of my life now, thru you. <>

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 4:53:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

my DVR is already set :)

Betty was beautiful at every stage of her life
much like you are

Hope sends hugs

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 5:49:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I will tape. What a wonderful tribute for Betty! The loss of a true friend cuts so deep. We are all lucky that she is saved for all to enjoy again and again!

Sunday, May 22, 2011 at 8:00:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a treat! This is fantastic!! Betty is wonderful.

Monday, May 23, 2011 at 9:50:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Bravo! Bravo! and more Bravo!
Betty is probably smiling that coy smile as your post is the buzz of the day up there in Pearly Gates estates!

the fat lady

Monday, May 23, 2011 at 7:38:00 PM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

Oh what wonderful pictures to have and what great memories too! She lived a fabulous full and wonderful life. She lives on thru all she has done. Happy Birthday Betty!
Love, Audrey

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 8:53:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I just finished reading the six posts you published while I was away. I am so happy that the dove family had their two little babies and that you were able to photograph them. My mother died at 92 and for a while if I saw something interesting or heard of something she might like I would think that I needed to call her then would realize that she was no longer here – it takes a while to adjust to a loved one absence. This post is great, so full of information and love for your friend – what a lady she was. Thanks for coming to my blog while I was away. Now I am way behind reading all my friends’ blogs but I am catching up. Hugs VB

Tuesday, May 24, 2011 at 2:03:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I hope that someone will write a wonderful tribute like that for me when my turn comes! Your dear friend Betty had an amazing film career, and I'm so glad that those movies were shown as a trubute to her on her birthday. What a nice thing to do. One of my favourite songs of all time is "Baby, It's Cold Outside". I didn't know that it won an Academy Award.
She was a lovely and lively lady. I know how much you miss her.
Happy Birthday Betty.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:49:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What an awesome retrospective. I was here the other day, but Blogger ate my comment. Wish I'd come sooner so maybe I could have caught her movies. Will TCM be running them again as a collection?

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 5:36:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

I guess I hadn't realized how expansive her career was! I love the way you ended the post with Betty blowing out her candels with a rose on her visor, which made me think what a beatiful bloom she was. I will never understand how someone is here and then just GONE!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 7:42:00 AM PDT 

had this to say:

What a great tribute to your friend! We watched "On The Town" this weekend just because it's such a wonderful musical! Here's to you, Namoi and to Betty! xoxoxo

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 11:47:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

You wrote that Betty's 75th year she had such health problems you thought you might lose her back then. I'm SO happy that she was given more years to be her loving, joyous self!!
Her birthday falls between my brother's (May 19), my husband's (May 20), and my daughter's (May 25), so they are in good company with her and she with them.
I'm sure all of Betty's loved ones were melancholy on May 23 as they remembered her and found their hearts aching for her.
It is great that TCM honored her by playing her movies back to back on her special day. There will never be another like Betty!

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 12:38:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I can somewhat imagine how you feel, i lost a close friend for 26 years last may...

i did enjoy this tribute to her - how great to read and see the photos.

you look like you two had so much fun together.

Wednesday, May 25, 2011 at 3:46:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

What a beautiful testament to your relationship! Warm, loving memories,a true gift.

Friday, May 27, 2011 at 11:35:00 AM PDT 

Anonymous Anonymous
had this to say:

I absolutely loved your beautiful tribute to your beautiful friend, Betty. I can tell how much you miss her as those close to her surely do as well.

Haven't stopped by here in a while; I've got some catching up to do!

Hope you are doing well, Love you, pretty lady,


Friday, May 27, 2011 at 3:36:00 PM PDT 

had this to say:

I thought of you and what you must be feeling when I watched the Tony Awards this year. The seemed to pass over Betty's name so quickly but I could hear some applause from the audience.

I especially recall her in "My Sister Eileen" and "On The Town." I probably saw some of her other work, but those come most quickly to mind.

Treasure your memories, but I know those can often trigger longing for the pleasure of being with the real person.

I prefer remembering loved ones on their birthdays, or other special occasions -- maybe special only to us -- rather than on the day they parted this world. Hearing their recorded voice can be wonderful (I have an audio tape of my Mother -- and wish I had recorded more and of others.) Seeing and hearing the person could cause me to want to reach out and touch that person, but, alas, I can only do that in my mind.

Sunday, June 19, 2011 at 7:25:00 PM PDT 

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