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Nicknames: "Betsy Drake Grant Ed.M."
Birthdate: (89)
Birthplace: Paris, Ile-de-France, France
Occupation: Actor, Writer
Managed by: DARLENE POTTS
Last Updated:
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About Betsy Drake

She is a French-born American actress and writer. She was the third wife of actor Cary Grant.

Drake, the eldest child of two American expatriates, was born in Paris in 1923. Although her grandfather, Tracy Drake, had built the Drake Hotel in Chicago, IL, the Drakes lost their money in the 1929 stock market crash when Betsy was five years old. As a result Betsy was forced to return to the United States, on the ship SS Ile de France, with her parents, her brothers and a nanny. She grew up variously in Chicago, Illinois; Westport, Connecticut; Washington D.C, Virginia, North Carolina and New York, NY.

Betsy went to twelve different schools, both private and public, before concentrating on theatre and acting at junior college in Rock Creek Park, Washington, D.C.. She began looking for work as an actress in New York, supporting herself by working as a Conover model. She met the playwright Horton Foote who offered her a job as understudy in his play Only the Heart which enabled her to join Actor's Equity and thus became a professional actress.

After coming to the attention of the producer Hal Wallis Betsy was pressured by her agent to sign a Hollywood contract. She hated Hollywood and managed to get herself released from the contract by declaring herself insane. She returned to New York and in 1947 read for the director Elia Kazan for the lead role in the London company of the play Deep are the Roots.

Cary Grant first spotted Drake in 1947 while she was performing in London. The two, who happened to be returning to the USA on the ship the RMS Queen Mary, struck up an instant rapport. At the insistence of Grant, Drake was subsequently signed to a movie contract by RKO and David Selznick, where she appeared in her first film Every Girl Should Be Married, opposite Grant, in 1948.

On Christmas Day 1949 Drake and Grant married, in a private ceremony organized by Grant's best man, Howard Hughes, and deliberately chose a low-key, introspective private life. In 1952, they appeared together in the film Room for One More, and Drake appeared in a number of leading roles in England and the United States, and a supporting role in the 1957 film Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter?.

In 1956, Drake survived the sinking of the Italian ocean liner the SS Andrea Doria. At the time, she was a first-class passenger on her way back from visiting Grant in Spain. Drake was rescued from the sinking of the Andrea Doria, ironically, by the ship the SS Ile de France.

Grant and Drake separated in 1958, albeit remaining friends, and divorced in 1962. Their marriage constituted his longest union. Grant credited her with broadening his interests, beyond his career, and with introducing him to the then-legal LSD therapy, in which he claimed helped him to finally achieve a degree of mental peace. Later, Drake took LSD as a way of recovering from the trauma of divorce.

Drake had no children with Grant but has 2 goddaughters - Tessa Dahl, daughter of actress Patricia Neal and Tracy Granger, daughter of actress Jean Simmons.

Drake subsequently gave up acting in order to focus on her other interests, such as writing. In 1971 Atheneum published - under the name Betsy Drake Grant - her novel Children You Are Very Little. She also worked as a practicing psychotherapist in various psychiatric hospitals in Los Angeles, California and earned a Ed.M. degree from Harvard University in Cambridge, Massachusetts. Her most recent screen appearance was in Cary Grant: A Class Apart, a documentary in which she reflected on Grant and their time together.

Filmography:

   * Every Girl Should Be Married (1948) as Anabel Sims
   * Dancing in the Dark (1949) as Julie Clarke
   * The Second Woman (1950) as Ellen Foster
   * Pretty Baby (1950) as Patsy Douglas
   * Room for One More (1952) as Anna Rose
   * Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter? (1957) as Jenny Wells
   * General Electric Theater as Ellie (1 episode, 1958)
   * Intent to Kill (1958) as Dr. Nancy Ferguson
   * Next to No Time (1958) as Georgie Brant
   * Wanted: Dead or Alive as Lucy Fremont in "The Spur" (1 episode, 1959)
   * Clarence, the Cross-Eyed Lion (1965) as Julie Harper
   * Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2005) American Masters - as herself

References:

All facts verified by Betsy Drake, herself.

Wikipedia: http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betsy_Drake

IMDb: http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0236860/

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Betsy Drake's Timeline

1923
September 11, 1923
Paris, Ile-de-France, France
1949
1949
Age 25
1962
1962
Age 38