Jan 28, 1932: Betty Braun Healy sues Mary Brown Warburton for alienation of affection, via the Milwaukee Journal.
The most interesting person in the whole Ted Healy drama is his first wife, Betty Braun, his former vaudeville partner. Everyone else in the story — his manager, Jack Marcus; his sister, Marcia; the police; the coroner; even Dist. Atty. Buron Fitts — accepts the coroner’s findings that Healy died of natural causes. It is only his first wife who makes the public allegations of a cover-up, that people are being protected and that she is threatened with being blacklisted for not keeping quiet.
Healy’s widow and sister dismissed her as a publicity-seeker, trying to capitalize on his death.
Let’s see what we can find out.
Jan. 27, 1932: Pittsburgh Press
Here’s more on her lawsuit against Mary Brown Warburton. (Wfie? Nice job, there).
Jan. 28, 1932: With a picture of Betty Braun Healy in the Warsaw Union
Jan. 26, 1932: We learn, in an Associated Press Story via the Prescott Evening Courier that they were married in Indianapolis in 1922.
Jan. 27, 1932: Betty Braun Healy plans to file for divorce, according to an Associated Press story in the Palm Beach Post. Notice that she claims they were making $350 a week as a vaudeville team and says they were eventually making $5,000 a week or $84,865.33 a week USD 2013.
Let’s keep digging…
A New York Times review (behind a paywall) of “Earl Carroll Vanities” from July 7, 1925, captured Ted and Betty Healy at their debut on Broadway. The anonymous critic couldn’t tell the difference between Ted Healy and Jack Norton.
From the July 12, 1925, edition of the New York Times (behind a paywall) we learn that Healy, who was born in Texas, was originally a cartoonist for the Houston Chronicle, “which brought him in touch with vaudeville players” and so he began writing skits. (That explains his ability to sketch Wallace Beery).
His first was “An Operation of Laughs,” and apparently a local theater manager suggested that he trying acting in it.
The New York Times says Healy started as a blackface actor in “Operation of Laughs” and that “it was not until his marriage to Betty Braun (Betty Healy) that he discarded the minstrel makeup.”
To be continued.
She is cute as a button, though, isn’t she?
What is it about Ted Healy that drew so much attention? From his screen appearances, and stories about him, he seems to be a a mean-spitited, ugly, little man, lacking even a touch of attractiveness. Yet, he is a highly paid ‘funster’, and women seem to be falling out with each other over his attentions. Could he have been the Milton Berle of his time, sans even stolen humor?
From looking at newspapers from 1924 – 1937 almost everything Healy did was front page news. He was for a while the highest paid Vaudeville performer. His wife Betty Healy might have been more popular in the early days at least from this article
You Mentioned Milton Bearle. Ted Healy was the main influence on Milton.
Ted Healy in Color in 1935 – he’s near the end and beggining of part two
You can see that Moe Howard continued with this type of comedy for the rest of career
Stan Laurel Letter to Betty Healy 1956
Jack Norton was the fake drunk. Ted Healy was apparently the real McCoy.