Saturday

Betty Hutton: Dust In The End

Betty Hutton







After the 1967 death of her mother in a house fire and the collapse of her last marriage, Hutton's depression and pill addictions escalated. She divorced her fourth husband, jazz trumpeter Pete Candoli, and declared bankruptcy. Hutton had a nervous breakdown and later attempted suicide after losing her singing voice in 1970. After regaining control of her life through rehabilitation, and the mentorship of a Roman Catholic priest, Father Peter Maguire, Hutton converted to Roman Catholicism and took a job as a cook at a rectory in Portsmouth, Rhode Island. She made national headlines when it was revealed she was working in a rectory.

In 1974, a well-publicized "Love-In for Betty Hutton" was held at New York City's Riverboat Restaurant, emceed by comedian Joey Adams, with several old Hollywood pals on hand. The event raised $10,000 for Hutton and gave her spirits a big boost, but steady work still eluded her.
Hutton appeared in an interview with Mike Douglas and a brief guest appearance in 1975 on Baretta. In 1977, Hutton was featured on The Phil Donahue Show. Hutton was then happily employed as hostess at a Newport, Rhode Island, jai alai arena.

She also appeared on Good Morning America, which led to a 1978 televised reunion with her two daughters. Hutton began living in a shared home with her divorced daughter and grandchildren in California, but returned to the East Coast for a three-week return to the stage. She followed Dorothy Loudon as the evil Miss Hannigan in Annie on Broadway[15] in 1980. Hutton's rehearsal of the song "Little Girls" was featured on Good Morning America. Hutton's Broadway comeback was also included in a profile that was done about her life, her struggle with pills, and her recovery on CBS News Sunday Morning.

A ninth-grade drop-out, Hutton went back to school and earned a master's degree in psychology from Salve Regina University. During her time at college, Hutton became friends with singer-songwriter Kristin Hersh and attended several early concerts of Hersh's band, Throwing Muses.[16] Hersh later wrote the song "Elizabeth June" as a tribute to her friend, and wrote about their relationship in further detail in her memoir, Rat Girl.[17]
 
Hutton's last known performance, in any medium, was on Jukebox Saturday Night, which aired on PBS in 1983.[18] Hutton stayed in New England and began teaching comedic acting at Boston's Emerson College. She became estranged again from her daughters.

Betty Hutton's headstone at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California - her epitaph reads "Loved by All".

After the death of her ally, Father Maguire, Hutton returned to California, moving to Palm Springs in 1999, after decades in New England. Hutton hoped to grow closer with her daughters and grandchildren, as she told Robert Osborne on TCM's Private Screenings in April 2000, though her children remained distant. She told Osborne that she understood their hesitancy to accept a now elderly mother. The TCM interview first aired on July 18, 2000. The program was rerun as a memorial on the evening of her death in 2007, and again on July 11, 2008, April 14, 2009, January 26, 2010, and as recently as March 18, 2017.[19] as part of TCM's memorial tribute for Robert Osborne.

Hutton lived in Palm Springs until her death March 12, 2007, at 86, from colon cancer complications.[8][20] She is buried at Desert Memorial Park in Cathedral City, California.[21][22]



 
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