Betsy Drake

Betsy Drake

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Betsy Drake

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Betsy Drake (born September 11, 1923) is a French-born American actress and writer. She was the third wife of actor Cary Grant.

Early life

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 with her parents, brothers and a nanny. She grew up in Chicago, Illinois, Westport, Connecticut, Washington D.C, Virginia, North Carolina and New York City.

Betsy went to twelve different schools, both private and public, before concentrating on theatre and acting at junior college in Rock Creek Park, Maryland, near 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 become 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...
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