Betsy Drake (1923-2015) was an American actress and model. Born in Paris to two expatriates, Drake moved with her parents to the United States at the age of six. She began acting and modeling in her late teens and eventually landed a lead role in Deep are the Roots (1947) on stage in London where she first caught Cary Grant’s eye. Drake and Grant fatefully met again on the Queen Mary while en route from London to the United States. Grant arranged for Drake to join him for a screen-test and they were cast together in Every Girl Should Be Married (1948), her debut film.
Betsy Drake married Cary Grant on Christmas Day in 1949. She was his third wife in the longest lasting of his five marriages. He proposed to her with a beautiful 7.97 carat diamond ring, lot 148. As husband and wife, they costarred in additional films, including Mr. & Mrs. Blanding (1951) and Room for One More (1952). In July of 1956, after visiting Grant on-set in Spain, Drake returned home on the Andrea Doria. While nearing the coast of Nantucket, the Italian liner collided with another ship and sank. Drake was rescued from the wreck, but unfortunately, over $200,000 worth of her jewelry was locked in a vault and remains lost at sea.
Drake and Grant separated and eventually divorced in 1962. Drake appeared in numerous leading roles throughout her career in both the U.S. and England. She eventually gave up acting and began to pursue other interests. Inspired by her love of writing, she penned a novel that explored the life of a young girl from a broken family titled Children, You Are Very Little (1971).
Also captivated by the study of mental health, Drake volunteered at hospitals for the mentally ill and eventually enrolled at Harvard University in the 1970s where she earned a Master’s of Education in Psychology.
Betsy Drake spent the later part of her life in London and passed away on October 27, 2015 at the age of 92. Christie’s is pleased to present the following three lots from her collection, each jewel a reflection of the timeless elegance of this American actress.
PROPERTY FROM THE COLLECTION OF BETSY DRAKE GRANT