Elizabeth Ruth Grable was born on December 18, 1916 in St. Louis, Missouri. Her mother Lillian was a stubborn and materialistic woman who was determined to make her daughter a star. Elizabeth, who later became Betty, was enrolled in Clarks Dancing School at the age of three. With her mothers guidance, Betty studied ballet and tap dancing. At age 13, Betty and her mother set out for Hollywood with the hopes of stardom. Lillian lied about her daughters age, and Ruth landed several minor parts in films in 1930, such as Whoopee! (1930), New Movietone Follies of 1930 (1930), Happy Days (1929) and Lets Go Places (1930). In 1932, she signed with RKO Radio Pictures. The bit parts continued for the next three years. Betty finally landed a substantial part in By Your Leave (1934). One of her big roles was in College Swing (1938).