Betty Bradley was born in Brooklyn in 1920 under the sign of Sagittarius. An American singer in the swing era of the 1940s, the starting point of her career was an appearance on the Major Bowes' Original Amateur Hour in 1932, a talent factory that launched stars such as Frank Sinatra and Fred Astaire. Her first professional appearance came in 1939 with Gray Gordon and His TicToc Orchestra. But that contract was quickly aborted. After making faces at the music during a performance, she was summarily fired.
Dismissing Gray Gordon’s music as too corny for her taste she immediately went to work as the featured vocalist in the Bob Chester Orchestra, more in line with her jazz and swing ambitions. Over the next few years Miss Bradley was constantly touring, performing in nightclubs and dance halls like New York's Latin Quarter, the Chicago Theater and the Earle in Philadelphia. Receiving positive reviews from relevant magazines such as Billboard, once in Hollywood she sat poolside with Sinatra, hung out with Rosemary Clooney and Doris Day. In addition to numerous radio appearances including Rudy Vallee's radio shows, Betty Bradley made forays into the film business, including a performance as a nightclub singer in Trocadero.
In 1949, she terminated her career as a professional singer at the height of her career, to the chagrin of her patron Milton Berle who had offered her a career leap into the emerging television landscape. Appearing in joint performances with Berle over the years, Bradley had demonstrated talents beyond her already remarkable vocal performance—charismatic, comedic and dramatic. After retiring from public life, she appeared again in the 1990’s on TV’s Joe Franklin’s Memory Lane.
In 1946 Betty Bradley got married to the first of four husbands—a roadie from her touring days she divorced in 1946. In 1949 she married Herbert Denmark, a Brooklyn caterer she’d known since her teenage years. In 1951, her second husband died from Hotchkins Lymphoma misdiagnosed as the flu only one month after their daughter—-Bradley’s only child—was born in the same hospital. In 1954 the widow Betty Denmark married Arthur Gaines, a successful Brooklyn car dealer who died ten years later from heart disease. In 1965 Mrs. Gaines found a soul mate and happiness with musician 'DOM' Gottesman, who owned a liquor store.
the 1970, Betty Bradley was diagnosed with breast cancer. She survived for
another eighteen years after two radical mastectomies, numerous radiation
treatments and body-shaming in a social climate that relegated breast cancer
survivors to private sorrow. In the years that followed her remission she
become a fundraiser, an advocate who supported women resisting the stigma of
breast cancer. In the late 1980s, the cancer returned spreading to her lungs
and stomach. She died at home on January 16, 1989. A drummer and combat
veteran with union roots, DOM cared for his first and only wife until her
death. He never remarried.
Betty Bradley ended her career as a professional singer in 1951 for the sake of her marriage to Herbert Denmark. He insisted, said he didn’t want her any further than he could throw a piano. But she never stopped singing, sharing her great gift at family jam sessions, celebrations and charity events. The last memory I have of my mother alive was sitting on a recliner in her living room surrounded by medications, DOM and her nurses. In agonizing pain, broken by life, Betty Bradly flipped death the bird. She kept on singing.
Film and Discography:
1940: The Foreign Correspondent
1945: The Moon of Mona Koora
1939: Why Don't You Try Your Love On Me (Victor 26253-B)
1941: Clap Your Hands On the After Beat (Bluebird B-11172-A)
1941: Feed The Kitty (Bluebird B-11100-B)
1941: My Ship (Bluebird B-11043-A)
1941: This Love Of Mine (Bluebird B-11316-B)
1941: Winter Weather (Bluebird B-11405-A)
1941: There Goes That Song Again (Bluebird B-11227-B)
1942: (Nobody Knows Better Than I) He's My Guy (Bluebird B-11562-A)
1942: Who Do You Think You Are (Standard T-2048-B)
1944: Together 1944: Where You Are (Hit 7089)
1945: Summertime (Jewel J-1002)
1946: Welcome To My Dreams / The Gypsy (Jewel J-1003)
1947: Wait Till The Sun Shines Nellie (RCA Victor 20-2629-A)
HoneySuckle Rose: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FPe01D26wbk
|Donna Gaines 12/6/22