Betty Jane Watson, American actress and singer, Died at 94

Elizabeth “Betty” Jane Watson was born on December 28, 1921, and died on February 21, 2016.

She was an American actress and singer.

She was known for her roles in musical theatre, especially Laurey in Oklahoma!.

Later, Betty played in nightclubs and on television, including as co-host of the game show Winner Take All.

She had met Tony Martin at age 16 while she was performing in Chicago at radio station WROK.

Tony instantly invited her to sing with his band that same evening.

Following that, her family relocated to Chicago, she continued to sing with bands at clubs and hotels, including at the Palmer House.

The young singer made her first appearance on Broadway in early 1944 as Gertie in Oklahoma and as an understudy for Laurey, while also performing at the Cotillion Room at the Pierre Hotel.

Betty Jane Watson became the replacement for Laurey, then toured in the role for over a year and then rejoined the Broadway company, in June 1944

Betty starred in Toplitzky of Notre Dame.In 1946

Reportedly, a reviewer for The Billboard praised Watson, writing: “did a sock job with all her numbers”, even though he did not like the show.6

In the next year, Betty started out as Laurey in the West End production of Oklahoma.

Betty played Katrina Van Tassel in the Broadway musical Sleepy Hollow and also showed in the review Hilarities, in 1948.

She played the title role Off-Broadway at New York City Center in Annie Get Your Gun, in 1958.

In 1961, Betty Jane Watson replaced Lucille Ball in the lead of Wildcat and was Maimie Candijack (and also understudied Mimi) on Broadway in Sail Away.

Betty also featured in regional theatre roles in musicals including South Pacific (1955, 1963), The Pajama Game (1958), and Annie Get Your Gun (1961), and in nightclubs in the 1950s and 1960s.

Betty Jane Watson also performed at a benefit in Carnegie Hall.

Watson was a co-host of the game show Winner Take All and appeared on Ed Sullivan’s Toast of the Town and The Morey Amsterdam Show.

Also, she appeared as a guest star on the TV series Suspense in 1953.

Betty Jane Watson passed away at 94 yrs old.