Betty Lasky

Betty LaskyDaughter Betty began her writing career as a screen story analyst for RKO Studios, the Selznick Company, and the Hamilburg Agency. Later she worked for The Players Showcase Magazine as movie editor and writer.

In the 1970s her interest in film history crystallized when she joined forces with famed public service attorney Terrys T. Olender to rescue and salvage the film artifacts stored in the Lincoln Heights Jail by the City of Los Angeles after the big projected Hollywood Museum project collapsed in 1965. While developing a plan to distribute this priceless film memorabilia, she became acquainted with the major film archivists and librarians in the country.

Consequently, when Prentice-Hall asked her to write the story of RKO, the Hollywood film company that produced such great films as Citizen Kane, King Kong, and the Astaire-Rogers musicals, she felt she had the background necessary to tackle a complex film company history. Her book, RKO—The Biggest Little Major of Them All (Prentice-Hall, 1984), is the stormy history of the last major studio to be established in Hollywood, a studio that became the pawn of hard-eyed financiers like Joe Kennedy and Howard Hughes.

In recent years Betty has participated in panel programs for the Southern California Jewish Historical Society (honoring Hollywood’s film pioneers); the DeMille Dynasty Exhibition (in Century City and in the California Museum of Science and Industry); and the California Historical Society (on early movie-making in Hollywood). She has put on panel programs and conducted tours for schools and senior groups at the Hollywood Studio Museum (now Hollywood Heritage Museum). She is Honorary Program Chairman for “Evenings at the Barn.” In 1988 she curated an exhibition of Hollywood memorabilia in Sacramento that benefited the California Vietnam Veterans Memorial, obtaining Academy awards for display, selecting photos and writing commentary for exhibits.

Betty at the DeMille Dynasty Exhibition

On many occasions she has been interviewed for television programs about Hollywood history. Among them: Entertainment Tonight; Turner Classic Movies-MGM archival project (subjects: RKO, pioneer woman director Dorothy Arzner; Jesse L. Lasky, Paramount and other studios); Associated Producers, Toronto (the documentary Hollywoodism based on Neal Gabler’s book An Empire of Their Own—How the Jews Invented Hollywood: CBC, Canada; Channel 4, UK; A&E U.S); Peter Jones Productions (subjects: Gloria Swanson, for A&E; Samuel Goldwyn, American Masters, PBS; Jupiter Entertainment (subject: William Desmond Taylor Murder, for A&E; City Confidential).

With Gregory Peck

She has written articles for magazines, among them “Jesse L. Lasky at Fox Studios” for American Cinematographer (April 1995). She has contributed a chapter for the Hollywood pictorial, Hollywood Archive: The Hidden History of Hollywood in the Golden Age (New York: Angel City Press and Universal Publishing, a division of Rizzoli, 2000). Her chapter is titled “The Roots of Hollywood.”
She has been associated with the Hollywood History Museum in the historic Max Factor Building in Hollywood. There she worked as liaison within the creative community of Hollywood, and wrote articles and timelines on industry pioneers and the history of the community and motion picture studios. Since 2007 she has served as a board member for George Westmore Research Library & Museum.

Betty in front of The Squaw Man mural on Fairfax Ave. in
Los Angeles. [Ken Denton photo]

Betty is currently concentrating on the completion of the revision of her father’s memoir, I Blow My Own Horn (Doubleday, 1957). Click here to read Betty's book proposal.

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At "Yucca Loma Ranch", Victorville, California
Betty with a portrait of herself painted by Bessie
Above and below: With father Jesse at her wedding  

With Richard DeMille (adopted son of C.B.) at the 1987 opening of the DeMille Dynasty Exhibition in Century City, CA.

Betty, brother Jesse Jr. and wife Pat Silver-Lasky 

With Charlton Heston at the dedication ceremonies for the Hollywood Studio Museum (now the Hollywood Heritage Museum), December 13, 1985. [Don Sartell photo]

With Harry Langdon Jr. and Margery Fasman [photo: Dana D. Winseman]

With William Wellman, Jr., A.C. Lyles, and Jim Zukor