Personal Info

Known For Directing

Known Credits 44

Gender Female

Birthday 1947-07-27 (74 years old)

Place of Birth St. Louis, Missouri, USA

Also Known As

  • -

Login to report an issue

Biography

Betty Thomas was born July 27, 1947 in St. Louis, Missouri, graduating from Ohio University with a BA in fine arts. Initially sidetracked, Betty first taught school in Chicago but found herself restricted and needing more of an open forum for self-expression than a classroom. She found herself drawn inextricably to comedy. After toiling as a waitress, she became part of the Second City improvisational troupe where she made use of her towering (6' 1") imposing features in aggressive routines and sketches. True to form, she made her film debut in the sketch satire Tunnel Vision (1976) which parodied TV programming. The movie is lesser known today for its satirical bite and more for its exceptional cast of up-and-coming comedy artists at the time including Chevy Chase, Laraine Newman, John Candy, Joe Flaherty, Gerrit Graham, Howard Hesseman, and the team of Al Franken and Tom Davis. Other innocuous comedies/spoofs followed such as Chesty Anderson U.S. Navy (1976), Used Cars (1980), and Coming Attractions (1978) which, at the very least, helped to bulk up her comedy resume. She also appeared as a regular on The Fun Factory (1976), which was three parts quiz show, silly sketches, and audience participation.

Ironically, Betty achieved her stardom not in comedy but in hard-hitting drama. Doing a complete about face as tough-talking Officer Lucille Bates on the hit police series Hill Street Blues (1981), she displayed both grit and vulnerability as she stood nose-to-nose alongside the rest of the male-oriented precinct. She was nominated for six Emmys in all and won the "Best Supporting Actress" trophy in 1985. Some equally compelling mini-movie roles came along with this success. In the late 1980s, Betty made an abrupt and concentrated move into TV and film directing, one of her last acting roles being that of the butch, underhanded scoutmaster (and Shelley Long's misery-inducing nemesis) in the obvious comedy film Troop Beverly Hills (1989). Betty received her bookend Emmy award while directing the cable sitcom Dream On (1990). She never lost her taste for comedy satire, however. One of her major box office successes would come with the spot-on parody The Brady Bunch Movie (1995). She has continued in this lighter vein of late, guiding the one-man promotion machine Howard Stern to a surprisingly entertaining critical hit with Private Parts (1997), which was based on his memoirs, the Jennifer Love Hewitt film Can't Hardly Wait (1998), I Spy (2002), an updated remake of the 1960s TV series, and Surviving Christmas (2004).

Directing

2015
2009
2006
2006
2002
2000
1998
1997
1996
1995
1994
1993
1992
1992
1992
1990
1990
1990
1989
1989
1989
1988
1987

Acting

1989
1988
1988
1984
1983
1982
1981
1980
1980
1978
1976
1976
1976
1976
1976
1975

Production

2005
2004
2002
2000
1998

You need to be logged in to continue. Click here to login or here to sign up.

Can't find a movie or TV show? Login to create it.

Global

s focus the search bar
p open profile menu
esc close an open window
? open keyboard shortcut window

On media pages

b go back (or to parent when applicable)
e go to edit page

On TV season pages

(right arrow) go to next season
(left arrow) go to previous season

On TV episode pages

(right arrow) go to next episode
(left arrow) go to previous episode

On all image pages

a open add image window

On all edit pages

t open translation selector
ctrl+ s submit form

On discussion pages

n create new discussion
w toggle watching status
p toggle public/private
c toggle close/open
a open activity
r reply to discussion
l go to last reply
ctrl+ enter submit your message
(right arrow) next page
(left arrow) previous page

Want to rate or add this item to a list?

Login