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Betsy Drake (1923 – 2015)

by Kirk Fox

Betsy Drake, actress and third wife of actor Cary Grant, dies at 92.

Betsy Drake, an actress and an ex-wife of Cary Grant, has died at 92, according to The Hollywood Reporter.

Drake, who was the third of Grant’s five wives, died Oct. 27 at her London home, her friend Michael Schreiber said. She had lived in the city for many years after retiring from films not long after her 1962 divorce from the actor.


Drake met Grant in 1949 when both were aboard the Queen Mary on a trip back to the U.S. from England. Grant had seen her in London as the lead in a production of Elia Kazan’s “Deep Are the Roots,” and he asked actress Merle Oberon to arrange an introduction.

They were married Christmas Day 1949 in a ceremony that was arranged by Grant’s best man, the millionaire Howard Hughes.

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Grant, a leading man at RKO Radio Pictures, asked the studio to put Drake under contract, and she was his leading lady in “Every Girl Should Be Married” and “Room for One More.”

Grant and Drake separated in 1958 and were said to have remained friends until his death in November 1986.

Drake was born in Paris in 1923 to wealthy parents — her grandfather had built Chicago’s Drake Hotel — but the 1929 stock market crash sent the family reeling, and she spent her childhood being moved among relatives on the East Coast.

She took up acting, and Kazan selected her as one of the founding members of the Actors Studio in New York City.

Drake also appeared in such films as “Dancing in the Dark,” “Pretty Baby” and “Will Success Spoil Rock Hunter.”

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