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Betty Hutton

Betty Hutton (born Elizabeth June Thornburg; February 26, 1921 – March 11, 2007) was an American stage, film, and television actress, comedian, dancer, and singer. She rose to fame in the 1940s as a contract player for Paramount Pictures, appearing primarily in musicals, and became one of the studio's most valuable stars of that decade. She was noted for her energetic and sometimes manic performance style.

Raised in Detroit during the Great Depression by a single mother who worked as a bootlegger, Hutton began performing as a singer from a young age, entertaining patrons of her mother's speakeasy. While performing in local nightclubs, she was discovered by orchestra leader Vincent Lopez, who hired her as a singer in his band.

In 1940, Hutton was cast in the Broadway productions Two for the Show and Panama Hattie, and attracted notice for her raucous and animated live performances. She relocated to Los Angeles in 1941 after being signed by Paramount Pictures, and concurrently recorded numerous singles for Capitol Records. Her breakthrough role came in Preston Sturges's The Miracle of Morgan's Creek (1944), and she went on to receive further notice for her lead role as Annie Oakley in the musical Annie Get Your Gun (1950), and for Cecil B. DeMille's epic The Greatest Show on Earth (1952). She made her final feature film appearance in Spring Reunion (1957).

After leaving Paramount, Hutton starred in her own series, The Betty Hutton Show, from 1959 until 1960. She continued to perform in stage productions, though her career faltered following a series of personal struggles, including chronic depression, alcoholism, and prescription drug addiction. Hutton largely abandoned her performing career by the 1970s, and found employment in a Rhode Island rectory after becoming nearly destitute. She returned to the stage temporarily replacing Alice Ghostley in the original Broadway production of Annie in 1980.

In her later life, Hutton attended Salve Regina University, where she earned a master's degree in psychology in 1986. After working as an acting instructor at Emerson College, Hutton returned to California in 1999 and resided in Palm Springs, where she died in 2007, aged 86.

Birth and Death Data: Born February 26, 1921 (Battle Creek), Died March 12, 2007 (Palm Springs)

Date Range of DAHR Recordings: 1939 - 1946

Roles Represented in DAHR: vocalist

= Recordings are available for online listening.
= Recordings were issued from this master. No recordings issued from other masters.

Recordings

Company Matrix No. Size First Recording Date Title Primary Performer Description Role Audio
Victor BS-034657 10-in. 5/8/1939 Igloo Betty Hutton ; Vincent Lopez ; Suave Swing Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo vocalist  
Victor BS-034904 10-in. 5/25/1939 Concert in the park Betty Hutton ; Vincent Lopez ; Sonny Schuyler ; Suave Swing Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female-male vocal duet vocalist  
Victor BS-040247 10-in. 7/5/1939 The jitterbug Betty Hutton ; Vincent Lopez ; Suave Swing Orchestra Jazz/dance band, with female vocal solo vocalist  
Victor D6VB-2073 10-in. 5/19/1946 My fickle eye The Four Hits ; Betty Hutton ; Joe Lilley Orchestra Female vocal solo, with male vocal quartet and jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-2074 10-in. 5/19/1946 Wherever there's me, there's you The Four Hits ; Betty Hutton ; Joe Lilley Orchestra Female vocal solo, with male vocal quartet and jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-2091 10-in. 7/7/1946 What did you put in that kiss Betty Hutton ; Joe Lilley Orchestra Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-2092 10-in. 7/7/1946 Walkin' away with my heart Betty Hutton ; Joe Lilley Orchestra Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-2159 10-in. 9/13/1946 Don't tell me that story Betty Hutton Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-3123 10-in. 10/19/1946 It's lovin' time Betty Hutton Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  
Victor D6VB-3124 10-in. 10/19/1946 The more I go out with somebody else Betty Hutton Female vocal solo, with jazz/dance band vocalist  

Citation

Discography of American Historical Recordings, s.v. "Hutton, Betty," accessed June 12, 2024, https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102967.

Hutton, Betty. (2024). In Discography of American Historical Recordings. Retrieved June 12, 2024, from https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102967.

"Hutton, Betty." Discography of American Historical Recordings. UC Santa Barbara Library, 2024. Web. 12 June 2024.

DAHR Persistent Identifier

URI: https://adp.library.ucsb.edu/names/102967

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