Betty Lynn Buckley (born July 3, 1947) is an American stage, film and television actress and singer. She is a Tony Award winner and a 2012 American Theater Hall of Fame inductee.
Buckley made her Broadway debut in the 1969 musical 1776, and went on to appear in the 1973 Broadway musical Pippin. In 1976, she played gym teacher Ms. Collins in the Brian de Palma film Carrie, before going on to star for four seasons in the ABC series Eight Is Enough (1977â"81). For her role as Grizabella in the original Broadway production of Cats, she won the 1983 Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical. 1983 also saw her play country singer Dixie Scott in the Bruce Beresford film Tender Mercies. In 1988, she starred in the short-lived Broadway musical production of Carrie, this time playing Carrie's mother, Margaret White.
From 1994â"96, she starred as Norma Desmond in the musical Sunset Boulevard in both London and New York, receiving an Olivier Award nomination. She then starred in the 1997 musical Triumph of Love, for which she received a Tony Award nomination. She received Grammy Award nominations for The Diaries of Adam and Eve, and for her 2001 album Stars and the Moon: Live at the Donmar. Other screen roles include playing Harrison Ford's wife in the Roman Polanski film Frantic (1988), Kathy in the Woody Allen film Another Woman (1988) and a recurring role in the HBO series Oz (2001-2003). In 2013, she starred in the Off-Broadway play The Old Friends, for which she received a third Drama Desk Award nomination.
Betty Lynn Buckley was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Fort Worth, the daughter of Betty Bob (nÃ©e Diltz), a dancer and journalist, and Ernest Lynn Buckley, a retired lieutenant colonel in the U.S. Air Force and former dean of engineering at South Dakota State University. She is the oldest of their four children. She has three brothersâ"Norman Buckley is a film editor and TV director, and Patrick and Michael Buckley are engineers. While a student at Texas Christian University (TCU), she was a member of Zeta Tau Alpha and crowned "Miss Fort Worth" in 1966 and was runner-up in the Miss Texas competition. Buckley was then invited to perform at the Miss America pageant in Atlantic City, and it was there that she was spotted by a talent scout. After returning to TCU to earn her college degree, she toured Asia to visit soldiers wounded in the Vietnam War. After this, she worked for a time as a reporter for the Fort Worth Press, but went to New York City in 1969, where she landed the role of Martha Jefferson in 1776 her first day in town.
Stage and screen career
Buckley made her Broadway debut in 1969 in the original production of the musical 1776; she has been called "The Voice of Broadway" by New York magazine. She is perhaps best known for the 1977â"81 TV dramedy Eight Is Enough. She joined the show in its second season when the original star, Diana Hyland, died after the first four episodes of season one. Hyland's character (Joan Bradford) died, and Buckley was cast as the widower's new romantic interest, Sandra Sue Abbott (nicknamed Abby), who became stepmother of the eight children to which the series' title refers.
Buckley appeared in the original movie version of Carrie in 1976, playing Miss Collins, Carrie's gym teacher. She would go on to appear as Margaret White in the 1987 musical adaptation of the film on Broadway.
In 1977, she recorded an uncredited solo on the song "Walking in Space", in the movie Hair.
In 1982, Buckley starred as Grizabella in the original Broadway production of the musical Cats, which features the song "Memory". She would stay with the production for eighteen months. For this role, she won a Tony Award for Best Featured Actress in a Musical.
Screen roles during the 1980s include Bruce Beresford's film Tender Mercies, where she played a country singer and sang the Academy Award nominated song "Over You". She also appeared in the Woody Allen film Another Woman (1988), Roman Polanski's Frantic (1988), Lawrence's Kasden's Wyatt Earp (1994) and M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening (2008). On television, she received two Daytime Emmy Award nominations for Outstanding Performer in a Children's Program/Special, for NBC Special Treat - Bobby and Sarah (1984) and ABC Afterschool Special - Taking a Stand (1989).
Buckley starred in both London (1994) and New York (1995) as Norma Desmond in the musical Sunset Boulevard. For her role in the London production, she received an Olivier Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical. In 1997, she starred as Hesione in the Broadway musical Triumph of Love and received a Tony Award nomination for Best Actress in a Musical.
In 2001â"03, she played a role in seasons 4â"6 of the HBO series Oz. She also has guest-starred in a number of television series, including Without a Trace, Law & Order: Special Victims Unit, and Monk. She guest-starred in a Christmas special of the TV series Remember WENN, in which she sang "You Make It Christmas".
Buckley sang "Memory" from Cats at the Kennedy Center Honors in December 2006 as part of the tribute to Andrew Lloyd Webber. In 2007, Buckley appeared with Quintessence at Lincoln Center in its Great American Songbook series.
In 2008, Buckley played "Mrs. Jones" in M. Night Shyamalan's The Happening opposite Mark Wahlberg and Zooey Deschanel. She appeared as "Marion Leckie", mother of Robert Leckie in the HBO series The Pacific, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which aired in 2010.
Buckley appeared in the 18th episode of Melrose Place in 2010 as a food critic cast by her brother Norman Buckley, who directed the episode. She also guest starred in an episode of the new Fox series The Chicago Code. She was a recurring guest star on Pretty Little Liars as Regina Marin, also directed by her brother Norman.
Buckley participated in a reading of the musical Ruthless! in September, 2010, playing the role of Sylvia St. Croix/Ruth DelMarco. She then played Mrs. White in the off-Broadway comedy White's Lies from Marchâ"May 2010. In 2011, Buckley starred in the Dallas Theater Center production of Arsenic and Old Lace by Joseph Kesselring with Tovah Feldshuh.
On January 28, 2013 Buckley was inducted into The American Theater Hall of Fame. From Januaryâ"March 2013, she starred in the London Premiere of Jerry Herman's Dear World, receiving rave reviews. The musical was directed and choreographed by Gillian Lynne, who Buckley had previously worked with on Cats. In September 2013, she starred in the World Premiere of Horton Foote's The Old Friends at the Signature Theatre off-Broadway. She repeated her performance in 2014 at Houston's famed Alley Theatre.
In May 2015, it was announced that Buckley would appear as Big Edie in the musical, "Grey Gardens" at Bay Street Theater in Sag Harbor, NY.
Buckley has recorded 16 solo albums, and performs in concert across the U.S. each year. She is also a composer; her first recording contains mostly songs she wrote. She is also featured on many Broadway compilation recordings, and on the original cast recording of 1776, the Original Broadway recording of Cats, the London recording of Promises, Promises, Triumph of Love and The Mystery of Edwin Drood.
In 2002, Buckley was nominated for a Grammy Award in the Best Traditional Pop Vocal Album Category, for her album Stars and the Moon: Live at the Donmar, which was recorded at the Donmar Warehouse Theatre in London. This was her second Grammy nomination, she had previously been nominated in 2000, in the Best Spoken Word Album category for The Diaries of Adam and Eve.
Her albums Quintessence and 1967 were released by Playbill Records in February 2008. Quintessence features jazz arrangements of standards by her longtime collaborator, jazz pianist Kenny Werner; while 1967 is a recording produced by T-Bone Burnett, and made when Buckley was just 19.
Her album Bootleg: Boardmixes From the Road was released in 2010, and her recording of her hit show at Feinstein's at the Regency with pianist Christian Jacob, entitled Ah, Men: The Boys of Broadway debuted on 28 August 2012.
Her most recent album Ghostlight was produced by the legendary T Bone Burnett and was released on September 16, 2014.
Buckley was married to Peter Flood in 1972, divorced in 1979, and has no children.
She lives on a ranch in Texas and participates in NCHA cutting horse competitions while continuing to appear in films, television and theater and to sing concerts in a wide variety of venues.
Buckley has also taught song interpretation and scene study for over 40 years. She conducts master classes in Fort Worth, New York City, Los Angeles and other cities around the country.
Buckley's official website contains her concert and theater schedule, a detailed biography and timeline, and summaries of her singing and acting accomplishments.
Awards and nominations
- 2004 Legend of Cabaret Award
- 2007 Texas Film Hall of Fame Inductee
- 2012 American Theater Hall of Fame Inductee
- Betty Buckley's Official web site
- Official Website for Carrie The Musical
- Betty Buckley at AllMovie
- Betty Buckley at the Internet Broadway Database
- Betty Buckley at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
- Betty Buckley at the Internet Movie Database
- TonyAwards.com Interview with Betty Buckley
- AMC Interview with Betty Buckley about The Happening
- Sony BMG Masterworks Betty Buckley Podcast