Tuesday, September 11, 2012

BORN ON THIS DAY: BETSY DRAKE

Since 2001, the date of September 11th has symbolized a day that America will never forget with the terrorist attacks that not only was on American soil, but felt around the world. So I wanted to check out and see who was born on this day - September 11th. Actress and Cary Grant's third wife, Betsy Drake was born on this day and she now turns 89 years old.

Drake, the eldest child of two American expatriates, was born in Paris, France. Although her grandfather, Tracy Drake, had built the Drake Hotel in Chicago Illinois, the Drakes lost their money in the 1929 stock-market crash when Drake was five years old. As a result, she was forced to return to the U.S. on the ship the SS Île de France with her parents, brothers and a nanny. She grew up in Chicago; Westport, Connecticut; Washington, D.C.; Virginia, North Carolina; and New York City, New York. She went to twelve different schools, both private and public, before concentrating on theatre and acting at a junior college in Rock Creek Park, Maryland, near Washington, D.C.

She began looking for work as an actress in New York City, supporting herself by working as a Conover model. She met the playwright Horton Foote, who offered her a job as an understudy in his play Only the Heart, which enabled her to join the Actors' Equity Association and thus become a professional actress.

After coming to the attention of the producer Hal Wallis, Drake was pressured by her agent to sign a Hollywood contract. She hated Hollywood and managed to get herself released from the contract by declaring herself insane. She returned to New York City and, in 1947, read for the director Elia Kazan for the lead role in the London company of the play Deep are the Roots.


Cary Grant first spotted her in 1947 while she was performing in London. The two, who happened to be returning to the U.S. on the ship the RMS Queen Mary, struck up an instant rapport. At the insistence of Grant, Drake was subsequently signed to a film contract by RKO Pictures and David Selznick, where she appeared, opposite Grant, in her first film, the romantic comedy Every Girl Should Be Married (1948). On Christmas Day 1949 Drake and Grant married in a private ceremony organized by Grant's best man, Howard Hughes, and deliberately chose a low-key, introspective private life. The couple co-starred in the radio series Mr. and Mrs. Blanding (1951). They appeared together in the comedy-drama film Room for One More (1952), and Drake appeared in a number of leading roles in England and the U.S., and a supporting role in the satiric comedy film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957). Drake and Grant divorced in 1962.

Drake subsequently gave up acting in order to focus on her other interests, such as writing. Using the name Betsy Drake Grant, her novel Children You Are Very Little (1971) was published by Atheneum Books. She also worked as a practicing psychotherapist in various psychiatric hospitals in Los Angeles, California, and earned a Master of Education degree from Harvard University. Drake's most recent screen appearance was in the documentary film Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2005), in which she reflected on Grant and their time together...







3 comments:

  1. Well, happy birthday to Miss Drake! I hope she is in good health and surrounded by loved ones as she celebrates her 89th birthday.

    I love Betsy and Cary together in "Room for One More." It's a lovely and touching film, and their chemistry with one another is terrific.

    I don't much care for "Every Girl Should be Married." I find her character so completely annoying in that film.

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  2. Happy Birthday Betsy!

    David,
    I don't know that much about Betsy other than her marriage to Cary. I did see a film she was in with Cary just a few weeks ago and I can't even remember the title of it. So silly really, that I haven't paid that close of attention to anything lately with all that's going on with me. Oh, I just noticed Patti's comment and "Room for One More" was the movie I saw. There ya go! Ha Ha It was okay but not that great. I like Cary in his campy comedies. Interesting that they were married during that film. She was very educated which I'm sure the very intellectual, Cary admired about her.

    But anyway, this was a nice tribute,informative and it was appreciated since it's encouraged me to watch her films.

    See ya later!
    Page

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  3. Happy 89th Ms. Drake! I watched "Every Girl Should Be Married" this morning for the fourth or fifth time in my life. Someone commented that the character of Annabelle was "annoying!" My friend and I were just discussing this morning that we love that character because she's quirky, determined and cute without being annoying and there is a fine line in pulling that of. We also agreed that we could see Meg Ryan playing that character if there could be a remake of the movie, which there really could not be because of the archaic subject matter (unless there were serious rewriting). Anyway, I'm glad Mr. Grant "insisted." Thanks to Ms. Drake for entertaining us with ALL of her characters. I'm watching "Pretty Baby" next, then "Room for One More" later tonight with my daughter and granddaughter. These movies are timeless because they are so well done. 8-D

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