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Posted at 10:35 PM ET, 02/13/2011

Betty Garrett dies: Actress was 91

By Emma Brown
Emma Brown

Betty Garrett, who was known by television audiences for her recurring roles on the 1970s sitcoms "All in the Family" and "Laverne & Shirley," died Saturday at a hospital in Los Angeles of an aortic aneurysm. She was 91.

Prior to her success as a television character actor, Ms. Garrett had an earlier incarnation as an up-and-coming film star who played Frank Sinatra's love interest in two 1949 musical comedies: "On the Town" and "Take Me Out to the Ball Game."

Her rise in Hollywood stalled after her husband, Oscar-nominated actor Larry Parks, told the House Un-American Activities Committee that he had been a member of the Communist Party during the early 1940s.

For several years, the couple could not find work except in vaudeville and summer stock shows in England and at Las Vegas nightclubs, which ignored 1950s Hollywood blacklists.

Larry Parks became involved in real estate and home construction. He died in 1975. Ms. Garrett eventually found plenty of work on stage and television, but her film career never regained its momentum.

You can watch a saucy Ms. Garrett try to woo Sinatra -- playing a young sailor -- in this "On the Town" clip.

A full obituary will be posted shortly.

By Emma Brown  | February 13, 2011; 10:35 PM ET
Categories:  Actors, actresses, Emma Brown  
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