Betty Joan Perske
♦ US film actress
Born in New York City, she became a student at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and made her stage debut in Johnny Two-by-Four (1942). She also worked as a model. Seen on the cover of Harper's Bazaar, she was signed to a contract by director Howard Hawks and launched as "Slinky! Sultry! Sensational!" in the film To Have and Have Not (1944). Husky-voiced and with a feline grace, she appeared as tough, sophisticated and cynical as her co-star Humphrey Bogart, whom she married in 1945. They co-starred in such thrillers as The Big Sleep (1946), Dark Passage (1947) and Key Largo (1948), and she displayed a gift for light comedy in How To Marry a Millionaire (1953). After Bogart's death in 1957, she turned increasingly to the theatre, enjoying Broadway successes in Goodbye Charlie (1959), The Cactus Flower (1965-67), Applause (1970-72, Tony award) and Woman Of The Year (1981, Tony award). Later film appearances include Harper (1966), Murder On The Orient Express (1974), The Shootist (1976), The Mirror Has Two Faces (1996, Academy Award nomination) and Dogville (2003). She was married to the actor Jason Robards, Jnr (1961-69) and has written two volumes of autobiography: By Myself (1979, updated in 2005 to By Myself and Then Some) and Now (1994).
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