Betty Garrett, star of stage, film and television passed away at 91 in Los Angeles on Saturday. She was best known in television as Archie Bunker’s energetic neighbor Irene Lorenzo on All in the Family, then later as Laverne & Shirley’s landlady (and later Laverne’s mother-in-law) Edna Babish.
Here’s a playlist of some of the highlights in her 2003 Archive interview:
Her full interview is available here.
Actress Betty Garrett (1919-2011) talked about her early years training as an actress and dancer at the Neighborhood Playhouse and with Martha Graham in New York City in the 1930s. She described her stage debut in 1938 in Orson Welles and John Houseman’s Mercury Theatre production of “Danton’s Death.” She described her other stage roles, such as “Something for the Boys” with Ethel Merman and “Laffing Room Only” with Olsen and Johnson. She described her movie career at MGM and the dark days of the Hollywood Blacklist that greatly affected her and her husband, Larry Parks. She talked about her first work in television in the earliest days in Chicago and on such New York shows as All Star Revueand Texaco Command Appearance. She talked about her television work in the 1960s in The Art Carney Specials, The Chevy Show, The Lloyd Bridges Show, and The Fugitive. She described in great detail the two television roles for which she is most identified, “Irene Lorenzo” on All in the Familyand “Edna Babbish” on Laverne & Shirley. Finally she talked about later guest appearances on such series as Murder She Wrote, The Golden Girls, and Becker. Betty Garrett was interviewed on May 21, 2003 for 2.5 hours in Studio City, CA.