Betty Furness

Actor, TV reporter, Model
Attractive blonde minor film actress of the 1930s (notably as the lead in "Midshipman Jack" 1933 and as featured player in "The Magnificent Obsession" 1935) who became a household name in the 1950s as a model opening ... Read more »
Born: 01/02/1916 in New York City, New York, USA

Filmography

other (19)

Today 1951 - 2013 (TV Show)

Actor

CNBC's Consumer Survival Special 1989 - 1990 (TV Show)

Actor

Today at 35 1986 - 1987 (TV Show)

Actor

The Desilu Playhouse 1958 - 1960 (TV Show)

Actor

Studio One 1948 - 1958 (TV Show)

Actor

A Face in the Crowd 1957 (Movie)

Herself (Actor)

Swing Time 1936 (Movie)

Margaret (Actor)

Chance at Heaven (Movie)

Betty (Actor)

Fair Warning (Movie)

Kay Farnham (Actor)

Flying Down to Rio (Movie)

Girl (Actor)

Headline Shooter (Movie)

Miss Saunders (Actor)

Let's Fall in Love (Movie)

Linda (Actor)

Lucky Devils (Movie)

Ginger (Actor)

Professional Sweetheart (Movie)

Blonde Reporter (Actor)

Scarlet River (Movie)

Babe Jewell (Actor)

The Good Old Soak (Movie)

Lucy (Actor)

The Life of Vergie Winters (Movie)

Joan at Age 19 (Actor)

Thirteen Women (Movie)

13th Woman (Actor)

Biography

Attractive blonde minor film actress of the 1930s (notably as the lead in "Midshipman Jack" 1933 and as featured player in "The Magnificent Obsession" 1935) who became a household name in the 1950s as a model opening refrigerator doors for Westinghouse television commercials and uttering the familiar catch phrase "You can be sure. ..if it's Westinghouse".

In the 1960s Furness was apppointed President Johnson's Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs and brought a new high visibility to consumer rights and corporate responsibility. In 1973 she shifted her focus to local consumer affairs when she was named commissioner of New York City's Dpeartment of Consumer Affairs and functioned as chairwoman of New York State's Consumer Protection Board. She pioneered as one of the first consumer affairs reporters in TV broadcasting, serving as correspondent for NBC News from 1974 to 1992, covering issues ranging from the underreporting calories by food companies to faulty auto tires.

Relationships

Florence Furness

Mother

Bud Ernest

Husband
Married Jan. 3, 1945 Remarried June 1946 until his death April 1950

George Furness

Father
was an official with Union Carbon and Carbide Corporation

Johnny Green

Husband

Barbara Green

Daughter
father, Johnny Green

Leslie Midgley

Husband
Married August 1967 until her death April 1994

Liza Snyder

Grandchild
NULL

EDUCATION

Bennett School

Millbrook , New York 1929 - 1932

Brearley School

New York , New York 1925 - 1929

Milestones

1992

Let go as consumer affairs reporter by NBC; to be replaced by a more aggressive investigative reporter in March

1990

Successfully battled stomach cancer

1976

Was given an on-air tryout as cohost of "Today" after the departure of Barbara Walters; the job went to Jane Pauley

1973

Named New York City Commissioner of Consumer Affairs by Mayor John Lindsay

1972

Resumed consumer column in MCCALL'S

1951

Starred in her own TV series, "Byline" playing a reporter

1949

Became TV's highest-paid product representative as model/spokeswoman for Westinghouse refrigerators throughout the 1950s on CBS dramatic series "Studio One"

1939

Ended film career

1933

Signed by RKO

1932

Began modeling for the John Roberts Powers Agency

1932

Film debut in "Renegades of the West"

1930

Became a child model at age 14 (date approximate)

Hosted TV variety series, "Penhouse Party"

Was consumer columnist for MCCALL's magazine

Named consumer affairs director and reporter for NBC-TV in New York; also contributed weekly consumer affairs segment to the "Today Show" (1974)

Appointed President Johnson's Special Assistant for Consumer Affairs and chairwoman of the President's Commission on Consumer Affairs

Appeared on CBS-radio in "Dimension of a Woman's World" and "Ask Betty Furness"

Served as chairwoman and executive director of New York State Consumer Protection Board

Appeared on Broadway stage during the 1940s in "Doughgirls" and "My Sister Eileen"

Bonus Trivia

.

"Betty Furness spend the first part of her television career pitching products on behalf of advertisers, and the rest of it defending consumers against some of those advertisers."--Tim Brooks ("The Complete Directory to Primetime TV Stars", 1987)

.

Board of directors member for the Consumers Union (1969- ).

.

Served as a board of directors member to the Common Cause in 1971-75.

.

She was awarded honorary LLD from Iowa Wesleyan College in 1968.

.

She was granted honorary Doctor of Civil Law from Pace University (1973).

.

Received a honorary LLD from Pratt Institute in Brooklyn, NY (1978).

.

She was given a honorary LLD from Marymount College (1983)

SIMILAR ARTICLES