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 Betty Midgley Furness

Betty Midgley Furness

Birth
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Death 2 Apr 1994 (aged 78)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA
Plot Hillcrest A, 5-C
Memorial ID 8611 · View Source
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Actress, Consumer Advocate, Commentator. She was born Elizabeth Mary Furness in New York City the daughter of pioneering radio executive George Furness. A child model starting at age 14, she was signed at 16 by RKO Studios to a film contract. With a new name Betty, she appeared in some forty mostly B-melodramas in the 1930s. A few: 'Thirteen Women, her first, Magnificent Obsession, Swing Time with Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers and Mister Cinderella.' In the 1940s, movie roles disappeared and she moved to Broadway and then found her true calling in television starting in 1949 with a starring role in 'Girl Reporter' a crime series. However; her fame resulted from her work as a commercial spokesperson for Westinghouse becoming televisions first advertising star. Her catch phrase, "You can be sure if it's a Westinghouse." Betty penned her own successful cookbook entitled 'The Westinghouse Cookbook.' She became active in politics plugging for the Democrats making an impact appearance during the first ever televised political convention in 1952. She was rewarded with political appointments by Lyndon Johnson to important executive positions in the field of Consumer Protection. While working as consumer affairs director at New York's NBC TV affiliate, she began a long association with 'The Today Show' as a consumer reporter/advocate. Recovering from cancer, she was terminated callously because of her changing appearance. The result was a widely publicized controversial view that this smacked of nothing more then old age firing which resulted in eventual national discrimination laws. Her health continued to deteriorate until her death at the Sloane-Kettering Cancer Institute in Manhattan. Betty was cremated and her ashes interred in historic Ferncliff Cemetery near her home in Hartsdale, New York. She won the Peabody Award for her program 'Buyline: Betty Furness in 1977. With two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, Betty was recognized for her many contributions to motion pictures and television. A bit of trivia: She was the grandmother of actress Liza Snyder and the Maid Of Honor at the fabled Hollywood wedding of Betty Grable and Harry James.

Bio by: Donald Greyfield


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 2 Mar 2000
  • Find A Grave Memorial 8611
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Betty Midgley Furness (3 Jan 1916–2 Apr 1994), Find A Grave Memorial no. 8611, citing Ferncliff Cemetery and Mausoleum, Hartsdale, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .