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Betty Buckley

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By Esther Lynn

Those of a certain age probably best remember Betty Buckley for her role as Abby Bradford on the ABC-TV comedy/drama, Eight Is Enough. After the illness and subsequent death of actress Diana Hyland who portrayed the mother of the brood, Buckley joined the series as the romantic interest of widower and now-single father of eight, Tom Bradford played by Dick Van Patten Buckley's role lasted from 1977 until 1981 when the show ended. In 1993, she had a recurring role in FOX's well-reviewed but short-lived dramatic anthology, Tribeca. Recently, Buckley has been featured on the HBO series Oz.

Born in Fort Worth, Texas, Betty Lynn Buckley was two when she first sang in front of her church congregation. By three she was taking dance lessons. Her inspiration occurred at age 11 when she saw Bob Fosse's original "Steam Heat" choreography in a summer stock production of The Pajama Game. She was 15 when she made her professional stage debut in a production of the Jule Styne/Stephen Sondheim classic, Gypsy. A year later, she was performing up to 16 shows a day in Six Flags Over Texas musical revues and gaining additional stage experience through her work in summer stock and children's theatrical productions.

Buckley attended Texas Christian University where she majored in journalism. In 1966, she won the title of Miss Fort Worth and was runner up in the Miss Texas competition. A year later, she was invited to Atlantic City to perform at the Miss America Pageant. She was spotted by a talent agent who convinced her to fly to New York and audition. There she was signed by the International Famous Agency. In 1968, Betty toured Asia with Miss America, visiting wounded Vietnam war veterans in military hospitals in both Korea and Japan.

Within hours after arriving in New York in 1969, Buckley auditioned for and landed her first job in the Broadway musical 1776 where she played Martha Jefferson in a musical history lesson about the signing of the Declaration of Independence. Seven months later, she was off to London to play Fran Kubelik in the West End production of the hit musical Promises, Promises. Her rendition of Burt Bacharach's "Knowing When to Leave" and "What Do You Get When You Fall in Love" earned her a 1970 Evening Standard Award nomination as Best Actress in a Musical. Buckley later appeared in such Off-Broadway productions as The Ballad of Johnny Pot and What's a Nice Country Like You Doing in a State Like This? In 1973, Betty united with her childhood idol, Broadway master Bob Fosse, when she assumed the role of Catherine in the Fosse-directed hit musical, Pippin. Betty has also played Heather in both the New York and Los Angeles versions of I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road. Her career has included a number of films including her portrayal as Miss Collins in the Brian DePalma thriller, Carrie (she later appeared in the staged musical version of the film), and her memorable performance as Dixie Scott in Horton Foote's Tender Mercies (Robert Duvall won a Best Actor Oscar for his role in the 1983 film). There have been numerous guest appearances on TV, among them Cagney & Lacey and in the CBS miniseries Roses Are For The Rich.

On stage, Betty Buckley is probably most recognized for her Tony Award-winning role as Grizabella, the once glamorous feline in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats, and her show-stopping rendition of the show's hit song, “Memory.” In 1985, Buckley co-starred in The Mystery of Edwin Drood, based on an unfinished novel by Charles Dickens, with music written by Rupert Holmes who is probably best known for his 1979 hit, "Escape" (The Pina Colada song). She has played Norma Desmond in Sunset Boulevard, earned a Tony nomination for Triumph of Love, and had starring roles in a number of other stage productions including The Threepenny Opera, Gypsy, Andrew Lloyd Webber's Song & Dance and Elegies.

She has done live concert performances at Carnegie Hall, New York's Rainbow & Stars nightclub, The Bottom Line and Café Carlyle to name a few. Buckley has also recorded about a dozen solo albums and has been featured on original cast recordings and compilation projects as well.

For her back-by-popular demand Las Vegas concert, the lady that The Hollywood Reporter has described as "one of the wonders of the world," will be accompanied by a quartet of musicians traveling with her from New York. Musical theater-lovers won't want to miss An Evening with Betty Buckley.

University of Nevada Las Vegas
4505 Maryland Parkway
Artemus W. Ham Concert Hall
Saturday, December 3 8 pm
Tickets $45.00, $60.00 & $90.00
For reservations, call 702-895-2787

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