Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Betty Grable Was Just Adorable

Betty Grable

Betty Grable in an undated publicity shot.


Betty Grable’s one of those people—a long list—I’d love to write a book about, but can’t. Her daughters were really nice, but said “we just don’t want to go through all that again,” having dealt with some pretty sleazy writers. I totally understand and told them I wouldn’t bother them again, but of course any book I’d do without them would be half-assed, and I like my books to be fully assed.

But I do adore Betty. She was one of the top song-and-dance gals of her generation; she could sing like Dinah Shore, dance like Ginger Rogers, and she was considerably cuter than a bug’s ear. She was no great shakes as a dramatic actress, but she knew it and put a halt to it after two serious films (the main thing I love about I Wake Up Screaming is the ads, which read “I Wake Up Screaming with Betty Grable!”).

Here is 14-year-old Betty leading the chorus in Whoopee!


Betty may not as been as sweet and self-deprecating and “everybody’s pal” as rumor has it—I never did do any real research on her. But she comes across as a sweetheart, one of those movie stars you’d love to have lunch or go shopping with.

Here she is at the height of her fame, in Footlight Serenade (1942) singing and dancing up a storm. Maybe the James girls will change their mind someday, and I can really tell Betty’s story.

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About lmharnisch

I am retired from the Los Angeles Times
This entry was posted in Eve Golden, Film, Hollywood and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

5 Responses to Eve Golden’s YouTube Theater: Betty Grable Was Just Adorable

  1. Laura C. says:

    Years ago I went searching for a book on Betty. I ended up buying the one by Tom McGee, which is an obvious labour of love, if nothing else.

    To me, I Wake Up Screaming is one of those films that I can acknowledge isn’t that great, but will watch again anyway. Maybe its the eyeful of Betty, Victor Mature in his swim trunks, and Carole Landis (now *there’s* a lady in dire need of a fully assed book.)

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    • Eve says:

      Better no-assed at all than half-assed, when I do a book (at least to the best of my ability, which may only be three-quarter-assed to begin with).

      For instance, I’d love to write about Lupe Velez, Carmen Miranda and Renate Muller, but would have to speak their native languages and be a lot more well-versed in their countries’ show-business and cultural mores than I am.

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  2. betty1114 says:

    Eve, she was adorable and it saddens me to think that her daughters won’t cooperate. I understand but they are missing out on a comprehensive, fair, and glorious book on their mother.

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  3. Howard Decker says:

    I beg to quibble just a bit. Betty was pretty good in in “A Yank in the RAF.” And I’ll bet you missed her turn on Broadway circa 1970 when she starred in “Hello Dolly.” I saw that one.They don’t make ’em like her anymore. ‘Tis a pity.

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    • Eve says:

      Oh, she wasn’t a totally inept dramatic actress, but she was no better than “sincere and competent” (and a lot of performers have made long careers of that!). But she realized that’s not where her real talents were; I think that was unusually realistic and savvy of her.

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