Family & Companions
Betsy Blair began her career on stage in the early 1940s and, after a break for marriage and motherhood with her first husband, dancing legend Gene Kelly, made her film debut in "The Guilt of Janet Ames" (1947). She went on to draw notice for her turn as a down-on-her-luck rich girl in "Another Part of the Forest" and as one of the mad women in "The Snake Pit" (both 1948). Blair, though, was perhaps best remembered for her sensitive portrayal of the plain schoolteacher who finds love with Ernest Borgnine in "Marty" (1955), for which she earned a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nomination.
After separating from Kelly, Blair moved to Europe where she played another schoolteacher in Juan Antonio Bardem's "Calle Mayor" ("The Lovemaker") (1956). However, this time her character's attempts to realize a lasting romance came to naught. She acted in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Il Grido" ("The Outcry") (1957) and Claude Berri's "Marry Me, Marry Me" (1969), but for the most part remained content in a state of virtual retirement, from which she emerged periodically for projects like Tony Richardson's film version of Edward Albee's "A Delicate Balance" (1973), Costa-Gavras' "Betrayed" (1988) in which she starred as Tom Berenger's mother, and the CBS miniseries "Scarlett" (1994). In 2001, the flame-haired actress re-emerged once again to play a key role in the film adaptation of "The Hours," starring Nicole Kidman and Julianne Moore. She died of cancer on March 13, 2009 at the age of 85.
Cast (Feature Film)
Cast (TV Mini-Series)
Appeared on Broadway in support of Ethel Merman in Cole Porter's "Panama Hattie"
Returned to Broadway in William Saroyan's "The Beautiful People"; produced and directed by the playwright
Was understudy for role of Laura in the original Broadway production of "The Glass Menagerie"
Made film acting debut in "The Guilt of Janet Ames"
Played the daughter of an aristocratic family in "Another Part of the Forest"
Appeared in the John Sturges directed, "Mystery Street"
Re-teamed with Sturges for "Kind Lady"
Won an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress for her sensitive, plain schoolteacher in "Marty"
Portrayed spinster schoolteacher who does not get her man in Juan Antonio Bardem's "Calle Mayor/The Lovemaker"
Acted in Michelangelo Antonioni's "Il Grido/The Outcry"
Appeared in Claude Berri's "Marry Me, Marry Me"
Played Joseph Cotten's wife in "A Delicate Balance"' last film for more than a decade
Returned to features in "Flight of the Spruce Goose"
Cast as Lady McLaidlaw in the TV remake of "Suspicion" (PBS)
Played Tom Berringer's mother in Costa-Gavras' "Betrayed"
Returned to acting as Sister Mary Catherine in the CBS miniseries "Scarlett"