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Homecoming queen goes to Hollywood

Betty Hall made a name for herself at Mizzou and beyond

Betty Hall

Pi Beta Phi member Betty Hall celebrates during 1941 Homecoming. 1942 Savitar photo

Before Betty Hall became a Hollywood celebrity, she was Mizzou royalty. Hall, who later became a Goldwyn Girls dancer, reigned as the 1941 Homecoming Queen.

A Nov. 15, 1941, newspaper article describes the night Hall won: “The Homecoming dance last night was climaxed by the crowning of Miss Betty Hall of Monett, black-eyed member of Pi Beta Phi sorority, as ‘Miss Mizzou’ and designating her to reign as the Homecoming Queen. She was selected for the honor by popular vote of dancers.”

Hall, who attended Stephens College from 1940–41 and MU from 1941–42, was also the first daughter of Monett, Mo. — her father was the mayor.

“When Up in Arms came out, to the folks in Monett, it was Up in Arms… Starring Betty Hall,” says Vigee Droesch, BJ ’71, Hall’s daughter.

The 1944 movie actually starred Danny Kaye and Dinah Shore, with Hall playing a supporting role.

Hall landed parts in several other movies, including Lady in the Dark in 1944. She made a name for herself as a member of the Goldwyn Girls, along with others from that group including Lucille Ball and Betty Grable.

When she decided she didn’t want to keep up with the demands of a celebrity lifestyle, Hall retired from acting in 1948 at age 25. She continued her modeling career, married comedy writer and songwriter Jerry Seelen, and raised two children in Los Angeles and New York. On Sept. 4, 2001, Hall died at age 78.

But throughout her life, Hall remained in the spotlight, Droesch says.

“My brother opened up the Boston Globe long after mom had gotten out of show business, and there she was, in the center picture of a collection of photographs ’66 Drives’ about California drivers by acclaimed artist Andrew Bush. Once a star, always a star.”

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