Betty Rea, Former Actress Who Became Casting Director, Dead at 82

News   Betty Rea, Former Actress Who Became Casting Director, Dead at 82 Betty Rea, a Montreal native who acted in Canada and later on Broadway before becoming a soap opera casting director, died Dec. 23, 1999, in Los Angeles, according to Variety.P> Ms. Rea was 82. The cause of death was respiratory failure.

Betty Rea, a Montreal native who acted in Canada and later on Broadway before becoming a soap opera casting director, died Dec. 23, 1999, in Los Angeles, according to Variety.P> Ms. Rea was 82. The cause of death was respiratory failure.

She was known to hundreds of New York actors as casting director for TV's "Guiding Light" and "As the World Turns," and placed newcomers Kevin Bacon, Meg Ryan, Marisa Tomei, Sherry Stringfield and others in front of video cameras -- and into American homes -- for the CBS soaps. She was also a casting consultant for NBC's "Another World."

Born Elizabeth Wilson in Montreal, Quebec, Ms. Rea acted and danced in Canada before moving to New York City, where she studied at the Neighborhood Playhouse. She appeared on Broadway in Medea, where she met her future husband, Oliver Rea, Variety reported. The couple later divorced.

She is survived by two daughters, a son and seven grandchildren.

A memorial service will be held in New York 7 PM Jan. 31 at Second Stage Theater, 307 West 43rd Street. -- By Kenneth Jones