Thursday, July 31, 2014

BETTY HUTTON AND HER DAUGHTERS




It seems very hard to be a celebrity. There is no personal life when the spotlight is shining on you 24/7. I am not sure how a celebrity can even be a parent with that constant public glare. One of the classic stars that never quite was considered a "good" parent was blonde bombsell Betty Hutton.

There's not a lot of public detail about the rift between Betty Hutton and her three daughters, but its existence is undeniable. In an interview in 1974, the actress indicated her dissatisfaction with family:

"My marriages have not been happy, my children didn't bring me happiness, nothing has brought me true happiness until I discovered Catholicism," she said.

At that time, Hutton was 53. Her eldest daughters, from her first marriage, were 27 and 28. Her third daughter, from her fourth, long-dissolved marriage, was 13.

In that same interview, Hutton said that before her contact with the church, no one had loved her unless she "bought" them. "So I bought everybody," she said.

Hutton didn't have great role models. Her father abandoned the family when she was a toddler. Her mother was an alcoholic who sold homemade beer to speakeasies during Prohibition. As young girls, Hutton and her sister helped support the family by singing for bar customers. She quit school in ninth grade but kept singing and was hired as a vocalist for a big band. She then made her way into the movie industry and became a star.

Hutton made about two dozen pictures and is best remembered for her role as legendary marks woman Annie Oakley in the 1950 film version of "Annie, Get Your Gun." But she struggled with an addiction to pills and alcohol and with relationships. All four marriages ended in divorce. During one of Betty's many comebacks, she appeared with her daughters on television in the late 1970s and early 1980s.

"My husbands all fell in love with Betty Hutton," she once said. "None of them fell in love with me."Hutton died of colon cancer in 2007 at age 86. Reportedly, none of her daughters sought to attend her funeral.

I contacted the Betty Hutton Estate, and they did not answer as to the whereabouts of her daughters. They simply said "They are still alive and deserve their privacy. When one intrudes on their privacy then you run into the subject of lawsuits and litigation." It is kind of an odd statement to make when one is just seeking out information to get with any of Betty Hutton's daughters to get their side of the story. If anyone knows of their whereabouts, please contact me...



23 comments:

  1. Children can be unforgiving...tragic for them. To forgive is to grow up. Don't pass this legacy on to your children

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    1. Well stated.

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    2. All three of Betty's daughters were estranged from her. All of them couldn't have been wrong.

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  2. SAD THAT IN HER LAST DAYS SHE HAD NO ONE...NO WAIT...SHE HAD LET GOD IN HER LIFE...SO SHE WAS NOT ALONE....

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  3. Bennett SilversteinMarch 17, 2017 at 9:44 PM

    Shame on her daughters. She really needed and wanted them. But, trooper that she was, she overcame alcohol and pill dependencies to become a better person. And if they couldn't be there to support her, she had no choice but to do it herself with the help of the Lord. Let's hear it for Betty Hutton.

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    1. I'm with you Bennett. We've all had issues with our childhoods, parents, etc., but to have held that kind of grudge, to not even attend their own mother's funeral, indeed, shame on them.

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    2. That is so disrespectful...and disgusting...

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  4. Yes..sometimes family breaks your heart. It's a betrayal that is black as coal.

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  5. I just finished watching private screenings with Betty Hutton on TCM and have a new appreciation for her life and career rest in peace Betty!

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  6. Betty Hutton was heartbreaking and enchanting in her interview with Robert Osborne, which I just saw as a TCM tribute to them both. Her estate website is a gorgeous and dignified memorial.

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  7. I saw the Betty Hutton interview tonight on TCM done with Robert Osbourne. I had seen it 12 years ago when it first came out. I thought was a genuine, honest and caring woman. She was still dynamic. Her ability to overcome pills/alcohol and finding God/Jesus is admirable. In Annie Get your Gun, she is a real dynamo. I remember Bernadette Peters performed in this 20 years ago on Broadway. Betty was even better than Bernadette -hard to believe considering how great Bernadette was.
    Today's young people dont know who Betty Hutton is. What a shame her daughters couldnt forgive her.

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  8. Sad you only get one Mother

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  9. Shame on her daughters?? As the author points out, we don't know what their family life was like. But we do know Hutton struggled with drugs and alcohol. My late mother had that struggle as well. I tried so many ways to help her and be close to her. In return I got lies, disappointment and pain. A person can only take so much before they take steps to protect themselves. Screw you for condemning the daughters. All parents have a responsibility to be there for their kids, the kids don't have a responsibility to be there even it hurts them. To bad god couldn't be there for those 3 girls. I like Hutton but finding faith didn't absolve your past.

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    1. Since we do not know what happened between them, it is not fair to blame either Hutton or her daughters. Hutton probably didn't have a great role model in her own mother, and might have thought she was doing the right thing at that time. The sad thing is, that she had tried to reconcile with them, but it seems they had too much bitterness. When your parent is old and dying, it is time to make amends. And YES, a child does have a responsibility to be there at death. My mother was not a good parent - and I was very angry at her. But when she was dying of breast and brain cancer, i took her into my home and cared for her until she died. She may have not been the greatest parent, but she was my mother and I did love her.

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  10. This was the woman who said in an interview "My children didn't bring me happiness" when her youngest daughter was just 13 years old. Remarks like that can kill the last lingering shreds of affection a child has toward an absent and shaky parent. I just watched the interview with Robert Osborn that replayed on the movie channel last night. Hutton as an old woman was bubbly, pious, unfiltered, but seemingly lacking in self-awareness of her part in her own misfortune and estrangements. Children estranged from a parent always, always have a valid point of view, even when reconciliation is possible. Hutton came across as incapable of recognizing or acknowledging any point of view but her own.

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  11. I saw the Hutton interview last night on the Osborne tribute. She seemed like a loving, caring woman, so much so I thought it showed up in her screen persona, in the many clips Robert played. I find it very sad and disturbing she was apparently unable to give that very love to her daughters. So strange, and perplexing.

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  12. Betty Hutton's plight reminds something my Grandfather used to say about my Dad (my grandfather's son in law). He would say that my Dad "is his own worst enemy". That was Betty Hutton.

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  13. You cannot say Betty Hutton was her own enemy; she was a star and a human being. Robert would not have liked her so much if she was a bad person. We all make mistakes but it is those we learn from. She found God and he forgave her for whatever was wrong. Her daughters need to do the same. It is too late for them to ask for her forgiveness. However, maybe they can turn there forgiveness into helping someone else who is going through the same thing and teach their children to love their grandmother. If it wasn't for Betty they wouldn't be here.

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  14. Nobody knows us as well as our own spouses and children. Nobody else sees us at our weakest and worst, over and over. Not our friends, not our co-workers, not our neighbors, not our more-distant relatives. They just don't know us well enough to know our crazy. When everyone in the world loves someone but their own kids can't stand them, I tend to give credence to the ones who lived with them, who heard the yelling and felt the blows, who got farmed out to be cared for by others, sometimes for months or years at a time. Parental frailties are forgivable, we parents had better hope so, but parental violence or neglect the parent never acknowledges or atones for: not so much. The people closest to the situation need to do what they need to do for their own safety and mental well-being. Sometimes that means cutting a toxic parent out of one's life. Strangers won't understand, but it's not their call and they shouldn't judge.

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  15. What a tragedy. From the little we can know about their lives together, it seems clear that she was certainly far from an ideal mother (the ice-cold statement that included her 13 year-old daughter was particularly reprehensible) - but I know that if my estranged elderly mother made an honest attempt at reconciliation, I'd gladly accept.

    When your mother is gone, the hole in your life will never be completely filled again. To allow a mother - even a failed one - to slip away without forgiving will hurt the bitter children even more because they're the ones who must live with it...

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    1. You don't have to be an ideal parent to get love and caring from your children. We parents do uncountable wretched things to the detriment of our own children, because we're subject to human frailty. Failed parents can reconcile if their children are generous and resilient enough to manage their part. The parents who can't reconcile are the ones who can't acknowledge their failures. Betty Hutton couldn't acknowledge her own failures as a parent, as a spouse, as a member of the acting community. At the end of her life she was still castigating fellow cast members for failing to applaud her performance 40 years earlier at the end of a filming sequence! Ego gone amok with a slick veneer of religion was all the interview revealed to me. A religion, by the way, that worships a supreme being who forgives only those who confess and atone.

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    2. NB Forrest, I think the operant phrase in your sentence is "honest attempt." That is what might have been missing from any attempt Hutton ever made at having relationships with her adult daughters. To be honest means to acknowledge your own part in the hot mess that can lead to estrangement. From what I heard in that interview, she ascribed her daughters' distance to their own unreasonable selfishness, to their supposed fear of having to care for her in her old age. The interviewer tried, gently, to press. To get her to say what she might do differently if she had it to do all over again. If she'd gone for it then, he might have been able to broker a reconciliation. But she wouldn't budge. She was in the right, and that was that. If one of my kids was in pain because of something I'd said, or done, or failed to say or do, my first priority would be to alleviate their pain, whether I honestly thought I'd acted carelessly or not. But Hutton didn't have that capability, as maybe your mother doesn't either. Some people go immediately into survival mode whenever someone suggests they might have played a part in it themselves. What the adult children need is to protect themselves from more pain inflicted by the person who is supposed to be there for them, who is supposed to be their safe spot, not their horror show.

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  16. I agree with Joan Kennedy. How sad for Hutton's children. How tragic that their mother would not accept any responsibility for the estrangement of her children. It appears that Betty Hutton was devoid of empathy, blinded by narcissism and consumed with insecurities created, in large part I suppose, by the absence of a loving mother and father. The circle continues...

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