Cudmore: Actress Betty Buehler had ties to Fort Plain and Gloversville

Categories: Fulton Montgomery Schoharie, News

 

Maria “Betty” Buehler and Lewis Howard searched Long Island for a judge to marry them in August 1946.

Living in Manhattan, both were actors.

They found Police Justice Alexander Berman in Hempstead who performed the ceremony in his chambers.

The couple couldn’t have known that Howard had only five more years to live.

Buehler was born in 1921 at Oberachern, near Baden Baden, Germany.

She emigrated to the United States with her parents, Sophie and Gustave Buehler, in 1928 and settled in Fort Plain.

She graduated from Fort Plain High School, studied two years at Syracuse University then transferred to Ithaca College, earning a drama and English degree in 1944.

She moved to New York to pursue an acting career.

Her parents moved to Gloversville. Her father was a baker.

Born in New York City, Howard attended Columbia University where he showed promise in dramatics.

He appeared on Broadway in the Kaufman-Hart hit “The Fabulous Invalid.”

A talent agent saw the play and signed Howard to a movie contract. He was in “First Love” with Deanna Durbin. 

During World War II Howard was in the Signal Corps and also worked with Moss Hart on the USO production of “The Man Who Came To Dinner.”

The Gloversville Morning Herald devoted a news story to the local debut of the movie musical “I’ve Always Loved You” in 1947 that featured Howard as the character Michael Severin.

The Herald wrote: “Gloversville movie audiences will have an opportunity to see Lewis Howard, husband of the former Betty Buehler and son-in-law of Mr. and Mrs. Gus Buehler of the Ideal Bakery on Church Street, play an important role in the film.”

Howard’s last film appearance was a small part in the 1950 Humphrey Bogart feature “In a Lonely Place.” 

The Find-A-Grave Website wrote, “Seeing his career in decline (in July 1951) he went into a Broadway shooting gallery and began to shoot the clay pigeons. Before a crowd of witnesses, he turned the gun under his own chin and pulled the trigger.”

He tossed two notes into the air just before shooting himself. One was a suicide note and the second left instructions for his funeral. 

Howard survived the shooting and begged witnesses to finish him off. He died in a hospital later that night.

That same year Betty Buehler’s movie career reached its high point. 

Four months after Howard’s death the Gloversville Morning Herald reported that Buehler would be guest of honor at a luncheon at the Kingsborough Hotel and would do a personal appearance at the Hippodrome Theater.

Buehler, who attracted Hollywood’s attention with her television work, was chosen the female romantic lead for “The Mob,” playing nurse Mary Kiernan.

She starred opposite Academy Award winner Broderick Crawford.

Buehler made other personal appearances as the movie debuted in Amsterdam, Fort Plain and Ilion.

After “The Mob,” Buehler’s film career stalled.

She returned to New York City from Hollywood and acted on radio and television, appearing in TV drama programs, including Armstrong Circle Theater, Studio One and Kraft Playhouse. 

She was in Shakespeare’s “Othello” on Broadway.

Robert Erhardt of Fort Plain reminisced about Buehler in a 1996 column by Sam Zurlo in The Daily Gazette, saying Buehler was a year behind Erhardt in high school and had “a winning smile.”

Buehler moved to Harwich, Massachusetts, on Cape Cod in 1983. 

She was active with the Guild of Harwich Artists, the Chatham Drama Guild, and the Harwich Junior Theater. 

Buehler died in 2012 at age 90. 

She had a second husband named de Lutz and was survived by two stepsons, Christian and Jean Pierre de Lutz

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