As regular readers may be aware, my all-time favorite movie is SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS. My favorite of the film's dancing brides is Sarah, played by Betty Carr.
Thus I was greatly saddened today to learn that Carr passed away at the end of August. A memorial service was held near her longtime Florida home in early October.
To my knowledge, Carr is the first of the film's seven brides to die. Of the original group of 14 brides and brothers, only Howard Keel, Jeff Richards, and Carr are no longer with us, despite the passage of over half a century since the film's release.
Carr was lifelong friends with Norma Doggett, who played Martha. I've also read that Doggett and Virginia Gibson, who played Liza, have remained in close contact.
Carr is seen at the very left of the cast photo at the top of this post, along with her dancing partner, Tommy Rall. I have a copy of this photo in my own collection of dozens of SEVEN BRIDES stills and lobby cards.
If you've never seen SEVEN BRIDES FOR SEVEN BROTHERS, be sure to check out the 2-Disc Special Edition, reviewed here by Glenn Erickson. The set contains two different filmings of the movie -- CinemaScope and "flat" -- and longtime fans can pick up subtle differences in the performances and line readings. (There are also two different versions of OKLAHOMA! which are similarly fascinating to compare; in that case even the lighting is different as location scenes were shot at different times of day.)
In addition to her role in SEVEN BRIDES, Carr appeared on Broadway in several productions in the mid to late '50s. She was married to Edward Burke, a tennis pro and businessman; they had one son, Edward Jr.
Here's a story from the Los Angeles Times via the Orlando Sentinel. I usually make it a point to check the Times' obituary pages but if this story was in the print edition, it got past me.
Betty Carr may not be a household name, but through her contribution to one of Hollywood's greatest musicals she brought joy to a great many people, this writer included.