Betty Hutton, the brassy blonde star of “Annie Get Your Gun,” was buried Tuesday with a handful of mourners in attendance.
She was laid to rest in a gray-and-pink metal casket at Forest Lawn Cathedral City, where stars such as Frank Sinatra and Sonny Bono are interred.
Hutton died at 86 in her Palm Springs apartment from complications of colon cancer Sunday night, but the official announcement was withheld until after her funeral, said Carl Bruno, executor of her will and a longtime friend.
“She wanted anonymity as far as being buried. She didn’t want that to be turned into a circus,” he said.
Hutton became reclusive later in life. She was estranged from her three daughters, who did not ask to attend the service, Bruno said. At Tuesday’s small gathering were her three caregivers, Bruno and his partner, who were her landlords.
“She didn’t want to be seen,” Bruno said. “She always felt that people were expecting young, 20-year-old bouncing blonde and she didn’t want to disappoint them.”
Even in her later years, she continued to receive fan mail from around the world. Admirers sent roses and gifts, including teddy bears and embroidered towels.
“I have boxes of it,” Bruno said.
Hutton made about two dozen movies but was best known for the title role of Annie Oakley in the 1950 movie version of the musical “Annie Get Your Gun.” She got the role after Judy Garland dropped out of the production.
She walked out of her Paramount movie contract in 1952, reportedly in a dispute over her demand that her then-husband direct her films. She made only one movie after that but had a TV series, “The Betty Hutton Show,” from 1959-60. She also worked occasionally on stage and in nightclubs.
Hutton’s personal life was rocky at times, including four failed marriages and a 20-year addiction to pills.
She credited a Rhode Island priest, the Rev. Peter Maguire, with befriending her and turning her life around. She converted to Roman Catholicism.
In addition to her daughters Candy, Lindsay, and Caroline, Hutton is survived by several grandchildren and great-grandchildren, Bruno said.