Hollywood actress Betta dies aged 93

BETTA Grant, known as Betta St John – a Hollywood actress who once lived in Keynsham – has died at the age of 93.

The California-born star first came to the local area after performing in the hit musical South Pacific.

She and Mary Martin, her co-star in the Broadway production, were brought to London in 1951 to launch the show at the Theatre Royal in Drury Lane.

In the production, her love interest was played by actor-singer Peter Grant, who later introduced her to his family in the Longwell Green area.

Before doing so, he took her to the Old Crown Inn in Kelston before a bit of Dutch courage.

They were later married and set up home together in London.

Betta went on to make over a dozen Hollywood films in the 1950s and early 60s, starring with Cary Grant, Richard Burton, Vincent Price, Deborah Kerr, Victor Mature and many others.

Her films included The Robe and Dream Wife, as well as two Tarzan titles and two horror films, one with Boris Karloff and the other with Christopher Lee.

In 1966, she and Peter retired from acting and moved to Compton Dando, while their three children attended Chandag School in Keynsham.

After Peter died in 1992, Betta based herself in California but kept a flat in Keynsham, where she stayed each summer for the next 27 years. She has many relatives and good friends in Keynsham and the West Country.

Betta is survived by her daughters Deanna and Karen, living in America, and her son, Roger, who lives in Brighton. Her funeral was held in Bath.

Pictured, Betta with Richard Burton in The Robe