- Category : 1923-births
- Type : MS
- Profile : 1/3 - Investigating / Martyr
- Definition : Split - Large
- Incarnation Cross : RAX Rulership 3
French-born American radio, stage and screen actress, novelist and screenwriter, also known as the third wife of actor Cary Grant.
Drake was born the eldest child of two wealthy American expatriates. The Drakes lost their money in the 1929 stock-market crash. As a result, she returned to the U.S. on the SS Île de France with her parents, brothers, and a nanny. She grew up in Chicago, Westport, Connecticut, Washington, DC, Virginia, North Carolina, and New York City. She went to 12 different schools, both private and public, before concentrating on theatre and acting at National Park Seminary.
She began looking for work as an actress in New York City, supporting herself by working as a Conover model. She met the playwright Horton Foote, who offered her a job as an understudy in his play Only the Heart, which enabled her to join the Actors' Equity Association and thus become a professional actress.
After coming to the attention of the producer Hal Wallis, Drake was pressured by her agent to sign a Hollywood contract. She hated Hollywood and managed to get herself released from the contract by declaring herself insane. She returned to New York City and, in 1947, read for the director Elia Kazan for the lead role in the London company of the play Deep Are the Roots. Later that year, Drake was selected by Kazan as one of the founding members of the Actors Studio.
Cary Grant first spotted her in 1947 while she was performing in London. The two, who both happened to be returning to the U.S. on the RMS Queen Mary, struck up an instant rapport. At the insistence of Grant, Drake was subsequently signed to a film contract by RKO Pictures and David Selznick, where she appeared, opposite Grant, in her first film, the romantic comedy Every Girl Should Be Married (1948).
On Christmas Day 1949, Drake and Grant married in a private ceremony organized by Grant's best man, Howard Hughes, and deliberately chose a low-key, introspective private life. They delved into transcendentalism, mysticism, and yoga. She took up causes including the plight of homeless children in Los Angeles.
Grant and Drake separated in 1958, remaining friends, and divorced in 1962. Drake had no children with Grant and never remarried.
Drake gave up acting to focus on her other interests, such as writing. Under the name Betsy Drake Grant, her novel Children, You Are Very Little (1971) was published by Atheneum Books. Drake's last screen appearance was in the documentary film Cary Grant: A Class Apart (2005), in which she reflected on Grant and their time together, and denied rumours that he was bisexual.
Drake spent the latter part of her life in London, where she died aged 92 on 27 October 2015.