Image of Betty Driver

Betty Driver

Betty Driver was born in 1920 at the Prebend Nursing Home, Leicester, the elder of two daughters of Frederick and Nellie Driver She weighed 5.5 kg (12 lb). Driver said she fell in love several times in her teenage years, but each relationship was ruined by her mother, who wanted to keep her daughter single so as not to lose her free "meal ticket". All the earnings Driver made before she turned 21 and was in charge of her own finances were squandered by her parents. Birthdays and Christmases were ignored and we never saw a pay-cheque. My pushy mother stuck to us like a wart and we were rarely out of her sight." Her mother died of lung cancer in 1956 after a long illness. In December 1953, in London, she married South African singer Wally Peterson, something Driver claimed she did out of "defiance" to her domineering mother who she has said "always felt Wally was only interested in my bank account". Peterson had appeared as part of a double-act on The Betty Driver Show in 1949, where they met and fell in love. Driver reluctantly agreed to marry him. She commented, "Before the wedding, he had started to change the way I looked and sang. Up to this point, I'd always worn glamorous gowns. Wally said that look was too dated. He wanted me in short knee-length wide skirts, which I loathed. I went along with it because I loved him. Wally said my act was corny and old-fashioned. I became very cowed and did as he said, as I had with Mother. We toured with this new look and singing style, but audiences were lukewarm". Driver became pregnant with Wally's child but suffered a miscarriage. Doctors then discovered she had fibroids in her womb and insisted on a hysterectomy. The couple considered adoption, but were turned down. Lew Levisohn, the husband of Driver's good friend Winifred Atwell, once told Driver that he had punched Peterson after discovering an affair Peterson was having. Driver said to Lew, "Good". Driver and her husband moved to South Africa but she returned a few months later, penniless, ending the marriage after seven years because of her husband's various infidelities. She was in such a bad financial state that her sister had to send her money to allow her to return home to the United Kingdom. Driver lived with and cared for her sister Freda until Freda's death in December 2008. She was godmother to William James Roache, the youngest son of Bill Roache, who plays Ken Barlow in Coronation Street. Roache's son James had a role as Ken's long-lost grandson who was also called James. Despite Driver's character being well known for her Lancashire hotpot, in real-life she was a vegetarian who seldom cooked, describing herself as a poor cook.On 11 May 2011, Driver was rushed to hospital, suffering from pneumonia. She died on 15 October, aged 91, after around six weeks in hospital.

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May 20, 1920 In Leicester - England - UK
Movie/TV Credits:
First Appeared:
In the movie Penny Paradise 1938-09-23
Latest Project:
Movie Funny Up North 2011-07-23
Known For
Poster of Funny Up North
Poster of The Betty Driver Story
Poster of Coronation Street
Poster of Let's Be Famous
Movie Funny Up North Herself 2011-07-23
Movie The Betty Driver Story Herself 2011-02-01
Series Pardon the Expression 1965-06-02
Series Coronation Street Betty Williams 1960-12-09
Movie Let's Be Famous Betty Pinbright 1939-03-22
Movie Penny Paradise Betty Higgins 1938-09-23