Betty Furness

Elizabeth Mary Furness, better known as Betty Furness (January 3, 1916–April 2, 1994) was an American actress, consumer advocate and current affairs commentator.

Born in New York, New York, Furness began her professional career as a model before being signed to a film contract by RKO Studios. Her first film role was as the "Thirteenth Woman" in the 1932 film Thirteen Women but her scenes were deleted before the film's release. Over the next few years she appeared in several RKO films, and became a popular actress. Among her film successes were Magnificent Obsession (1935) and the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Swing Time (1936). By the end of the decade she had appeared in over forty films, but during the 1940s found it difficult to secure acting roles.

In 1948 she was performing in the television series Studio One which was broadcast live. She filled in for an actor to promote Westinghouse products during the advertisement break, and impressed the company with her easy and professional manner. They offered her a contract to promote their products and she subsequently became closely associated with them. In 1953 she appeared in her own television series Meet Betty Furness which was sponsored by Westinghouse and she remained a spokesperson for the company until 1960. She then attempted to move into a less commercialized role in television but found herself too closely associated with advertising to be taken seriously. During this time she worked on radio, and also on behalf of the Democratic Party.

In 1967 President Lyndon Baines Johnson, aware of her work for the Democrats contacted Furness and offered her a position as Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs. She accepted the assignment and continued in this role until the end of the Johnson administration in 1969. During her tenure she silenced her critics by applying herself studiously to her role and learning the issues relating to consumer rights. She headed the Consumer Affairs Departments of both New York City, and New York State from the late 1960s before returning to television.

Signed by WNBC in New York, Furness reported on consumer issues, and specifically targeted examples of consumer fraud. In 1976 she began an association with The Today Show filling in as anchor, and providing regular reports. In 1977 her program Buyline: Betty Furness won the Peabody Award.

In 1990 she was diagnosed with cancer. She continued working for The Today Show until she was released from her contract in 1992. Her dismissal was widely publicised and controversial and was viewed by many of Furness' supporters as ageism.

She had always expressed throughout her life that her philosophy was to never turn down a job, and she stated that it was this attitude that had allowed her to progress through such an unconventional series of professions. During her illness she stated that she wanted nothing more than to be able to work, but her health continued to deteriorate until her death in New York from stomach cancer.

Betty Furness has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution Motion Pictures, and to Television.


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Betty Furness has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contribution Motion Pictures, and to Television. The bartender Guinan on Star Trek: The Next Generation was named for Texas Guinan. During her illness she stated that she wanted nothing more than to be able to work, but her health continued to deteriorate until her death in New York from stomach cancer. The number "All That Jazz" in the musical Chicago is thought to pay homage to her. She had always expressed throughout her life that her philosophy was to never turn down a job, and she stated that it was this attitude that had allowed her to progress through such an unconventional series of professions. She was portrayed in a number of movies, including Splendor in the Grass (1961). Her dismissal was widely publicised and controversial and was viewed by many of Furness' supporters as ageism. She is interred in the Calvary Cemetery, Queens, New York.

She continued working for The Today Show until she was released from her contract in 1992. While on the road, she contracted amoebic dysentery in Vancouver, British Columbia and died there on November 5, 1933 apparently at age 49, exactly one month before Prohibition was repealed. In 1990 she was diagnosed with cancer. She turned this to her advantage by launching a satirical revue entitled Too Hot For Paris. In 1977 her program Buyline: Betty Furness won the Peabody Award. She made a sally towards Europe, but her reputation preceded her, and she was denied entry at every European sea port at which she tried to disembark. In 1976 she began an association with The Today Show filling in as anchor, and providing regular reports. Guinan took her show on the road.

Signed by WNBC in New York, Furness reported on consumer issues, and specifically targeted examples of consumer fraud. During the Great Depression, Ms. She headed the Consumer Affairs Departments of both New York City, and New York State from the late 1960s before returning to television. Guinan returned to the screen with two sound pictures, playing slightly fictionalized versions of herself as a speakeasy proprietress in "Queen of the Night Clubs" in 1929 and "Broadway Through a Keyhole" in 1933. During her tenure she silenced her critics by applying herself studiously to her role and learning the issues relating to consumer rights. She traditionally greeted her patrons with "Hello, suckers!". She accepted the assignment and continued in this role until the end of the Johnson administration in 1969. "Butter and egg men" referred to her well-off patrons, and she often demanded that the audience "give the little ladies a great big hand".

In 1967 President Lyndon Baines Johnson, aware of her work for the Democrats contacted Furness and offered her a position as Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs. Guinan is credited with coining a number of phrases. During this time she worked on radio, and also on behalf of the Democratic Party. Ms. She then attempted to move into a less commercialized role in television but found herself too closely associated with advertising to be taken seriously. Texas Guinan capitalized on her notoriety, earning $700,000 in ten months in 1926 while her clubs were routinely being raided. In 1953 she appeared in her own television series Meet Betty Furness which was sponsored by Westinghouse and she remained a spokesperson for the company until 1960. At this favorite hangout of the city’s wealthy elite, George Gershwin often played impromptu piano for wealthy guests such as Reggie Vanderbilt, Harry Payne Whitney, or Walter Chrysler, and celebrities Peggy Hopkins Joyce, Pola Negri, Jeanne Eagels, John Gilbert, and Rudolph Valentino, as well as socialites like Gloria Morgan and her sister Thelma, Vicountess Furness.

They offered her a contract to promote their products and she subsequently became closely associated with them. She steadfastly claimed that she had never sold an alcoholic drink in her life. She filled in for an actor to promote Westinghouse products during the advertisement break, and impressed the company with her easy and professional manner. Her aplomb made her a celebrity; arrested several times for serving alcohol and providing entertainment, she would always claim that the patrons had brought the liquor in with them, and that the club was so small that the girls had to dance so close to the customers. In 1948 she was performing in the television series Studio One which was broadcast live. Guinan's own personality. By the end of the decade she had appeared in over forty films, but during the 1940s found it difficult to secure acting roles. The club became famous for its troupe of 40 scantily clad fan dancers, and also for Ms.

Among her film successes were Magnificent Obsession (1935) and the Fred Astaire and Ginger Rogers film Swing Time (1936). 54th Street. Over the next few years she appeared in several RKO films, and became a popular actress. Upon the introduction of Prohibition, she opened a speakeasy in New York City called the "300 Club", at 151 W. Her first film role was as the "Thirteenth Woman" in the 1932 film Thirteen Women but her scenes were deleted before the film's release. She became the United States' first movie cowgirl, nicknamed "The Queen of the West." In addition to her film career, she also had a sojourn in France, entertaining the troops during World War I. Born in New York, New York, Furness began her professional career as a model before being signed to a film contract by RKO Studios. In 1917 "Texas" Guinan made her film début in the silent movie The Wildcat.

Elizabeth Mary Furness, better known as Betty Furness (January 3, 1916–April 2, 1994) was an American actress, consumer advocate and current affairs commentator. In 1906 she moved to New York City, where she found work as a chorus girl before making a career for herself in national Vaudeville and in New York theater productions. She toured regional Vaudeville with some success, but became known less for her singing than her entertaining "wild west"-related patter. Guinan was born in Waco, Texas and studied music in Chicago before returning to her hometown with hopes of becoming a professional singer. Mary Louise Cecilia "Texas" Guinan (January 12, 1884 - November 5, 1933) was a saloon keeper, actress, and entrepreneur.

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