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Benay Venuta

Personal information
Birth dateJanuary 27, 1911
Place of birthLondon, England
Date of deathSeptember 1, 1995(age 84)
Death placeNew York City

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Benay Venuta (January 27, 1911 September 1, 1995) was an American actress, singer and dancer.

Born Benvenuta Rose Crooke in San Francisco, Venuta attended finishing school in Geneva and lived in London where she worked as a dancer before returning to the States. She made her first screen appearance in the silent Trail of '98 in 1928. She also appeared in Annie Get Your Gun, Call Me Mister, and Bullets Over Broadway.

Venuta made her Broadway debut when she replaced Ethel Merman in the lead role of Reno Sweeney in Cole Porter's Anything Goes in 1935. The two remained close friends and co-starred in a revival of Annie Get Your Gun in 1966. Additional Broadway credits included By Jupiter (1942), Hazel Flagg (1953), and Romantic Comedy (1979). In 1958, she was cast as private eye Bertha Cool in a television pilot for a series to be called Cool and Lam, based on the novels by Erle Stanley Gardner writing as A. A. Fair, but the pilot remains the only episode in existence.

Venuta's summer stock and regional theatre credits included A Little Night Music, Bus Stop, Gypsy, Come Blow Your Horn, Auntie Mame, The Prisoner of Second Avenue, Little Me, and Pal Joey.

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