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Buckley, Betty

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Early life

Betty Lynn Buckley was born in Big Spring, Texas and raised in Fort Worth, the daughter of Betty Bob (née 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 the University of Texas at Arlington and South Dakota State University.[1] She is the eldest of their four children. She has three brothers — Norman Buckley is a film editor and TV director. While a student at Texas Christian University (TCU), she was 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 T.C.U. 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 newspaper, 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 and has been called "The Voice of Broadway" by New York Magazine. Her rendition of "Memory" in Andrew Lloyd Webber's Cats established her reputation. Buckley has recorded 13 solo albums and now tours extensively 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.

She is perhaps best known for the 1977-81 TV dramedy Eight is Enough. She joined the show in its second season after the original star, Diana Hyland, died after the first four episodes of season 1. Hyland's character (Joan Bradford) died, and Buckley was cast as Sandra Sue Abbott (nicknamed Abby), who went on to become stepmother to the eight children to which the series' title refers.

Buckley also appeared in the original movie version of Carrie in 1976. She played Miss Collins, Carrie's gym teacher; in 1987, she appeared as Margaret White in the musical adaptation of the film. In 1977, she recorded a solo on the song "Walking in Space," in the movie Hair.

She played the role of a country singer in Bruce Beresford's film Tender Mercies (1982), in which she sang the song "Over You"; Robert Duvall, who played the lead role of Mac Sledge in the film, said he thought Buckley perfectly conveyed the underlying frustration of a country singer and felt she "brought a real zing to that part."

She also appeared in the Woody Allen film Another Woman (1988) and in Roman Polanski's Frantic (1988). In 2001-03, she played a role in seasons 4-6 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 also completed a role in the HBO series The Pacific, produced by Steven Spielberg and Tom Hanks, which will air in 2010.

 Music career

Buckley has made 13 solo albums and performs extensively across the U.S. each year. She has been twice nominated for a Grammy Award.

Her most recent album, Quintessence, was released by Playbill Records in February 2008. It features jazz arrangements of standards by her long time collaborator, jazz pianist Kenny Werner.

Most notable was her performance as Norma Desmond in the musical "Sunset Boulevard", which she played at numerous theatres all over the world to gigantic acclaim.

Personal life

Buckley has also taught song interpretation and communication for over 30 years. She conducts master classes in Fort Worth. She has trained investment bankers and business professionals from many fields. "No matter what your career, to communicate at your best is absolutely vital, whether it's to one person, a group or an entire audience. But most people get nervous, forgetful and too fearful to express themselves," says Buckley. "I'll help you redefine that fear and use it to your advantage. We'll talk about the dynamics of communication, the essence of common respect, and training your mind to focus on your behalf."

Buckley's official website contains her concert schedule, a detailed biography and summaries of her singing and acting accomplishments.

 Broadway credits

1776 - 1969, her Broadway debut as Martha Jefferson.

"Promises, Promise (London) - 1970

Pippin - 1972

Cats - 1982, she won the Tony Award for featured actress in a musical in 1983 for playing Grizabella.

The Mystery of Edwin Drood - 1985

Song and Dance-1986

Carrie - The Musical - 1988 - as Carrie's mother Margaret White.

Sunset Boulevard - 1994, In Andrew Lloyd Webber's adaptation of the film, as Norma Desmond, the aging silent screen diva in London and on Broadway

Triumph of Love - 1997. Tony Nomination for Best Actress in a Musical

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