Betsy Blair

  1. Suzanne Cloutier, The Tragedy of Othello: The Moor of Venice, 1949.      It was only after first discussions about Desdemona with Welles in Rome (they shared the same idea of a modern young woman at odds with Venetian society), that Betsy leaned (a) she had been recommended by her Snake Pit director Anatole Litvak and (b) she was the third Desdemona, after the escape of Cécile Aubry  and Valentina Cortese. Blair, aka Mrs Gene Kelly (and blacklisted by Senator Joe McCarthy’s grip onHollywood), worked for ten days at Mogador, a fishing village near Casablanca,when – as happened to Cortese – the money ran out again.   She had to buy her own ticket back to LA. “I will reimburse you,” Welles promised. He never did. They met again by chance two years later, also in Rome. “Are you going to sue me?” asked Welles. “No? Good! I’ll invite you to dinner.”He married his third Desdemona, Suzanne  Cloutier. Ironically Betsy made two films inspired by Othello: George Cukor’s A Double Life, 1947, and Basil Dearden’s jazz version,  All Night Long, 1961.. in which she finally played Desdemona… even if she was called Emily.

 Birth year: 1923Death year: 2009Other name: Casting Calls:  1