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Ruth Gordon Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (2) | Trivia (10) | Personal Quotes (9)

Overview (4)

Date of Birth 30 October 1896Quincy, Massachusetts, USA
Date of Death 28 August 1985Edgartown, Massachusetts, USA  (stroke)
Birth NameRuth Gordon Jones
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (1)

When Ruth Gordon convinced her father, a sea captain, to let her pursue acting she came to New York and studied at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She acted in a few silents made at Fort Lee, New Jersey, in 1915. She made her Broadway debut in "Peter Pan" as Nibs the same year. The next 20 years she spent on stage, even appearing at the Old Vic in London in the successful run of "The Country Wife" in 1936. Nearly 25 years after her film debut, she returned to movies briefly. Her most memorable role during this period in the early 1940s was as Mary Todd in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940).

She left Hollywood to return to theater. Back in New York, she married Garson Kanin in 1942 (her first husband Gregory Kelly, a stage actor, died in 1927). She began writing plays, and, later, her husband and she collaborated on screenplays for Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy, whose screen relationship was modeled on their own marriage. She returned to film acting during the 1960s. It is during this last period of her career that she became a movie star, with memorable roles in Rosemary's Baby (1968) and Harold and Maude (1971). She wrote several books during the mid-1970s and appeared on TV. She won an Emmy for her role on Taxi (1978) in 1979.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Amy Harper <LookItUp1@aol.com>

Spouse (2)

Garson Kanin (4 December 1942 - 28 August 1985) (her death)
Gregory Kelly (23 December 1918 - 9 July 1927) (his death)

Trivia (10)

Her only child, a son named Jones Harris (born 1929), was the product of an out-of-wedlock relationship with Jed Harris, in between marriages.
Her obsession with acting was partly inspired by a performance she attended of "The Pink Lady" at a Boston theater. It starred Hazel Dawn as a seductive Parisian vamp.
Was nominated for Broadway's 1956 Tony Award as Best Actress (Dramatic) for portraying Dolly Levi in Thornton Wilder's "The Matchmaker."
Biography in "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives, Volume One: 1981-1985," pp. 330-332. New York: Charles Scribner's Sons, 1998.
Was portrayed by Jean Simmons in the movie The Actress (1953).
Was a close friend of actor Bud Cort.
Natalie Wood was so fond of her that she named her the godmother to her firstborn Natasha Gregson Wagner.
There is a 2009 biography of the lives and careers of the Kanin family (Garson Kanin, Ruth [Gordon], Michael Kanin and Fay Kanin): "A Family Affair - The Kanins in Hollywood and on Broadway," written by Josh Kanin (her nephew by marriage) and Wayne Lindholm.
Was excited about returning to films after 22 years with a role in "The Loved One" in 1965 and looked forward to having a movie career despite her advanced age. When her role was cut from the final release print, it was a major disappointment, but she persevered and won an Oscar three years later for "Rosemary's Baby.".
Was the 65th actress to receive an Academy Award: she won the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for Rosemary's Baby (1968) at The 41st Annual Academy Awards (1969) on April 14, 1969.

Personal Quotes (9)

The great have no friends. They merely know a lot of people.
Why should ruts be so comfortable and so unpopular?
The kiss. There are all sorts of kisses, lad, from the sticky confection to the kiss of death. Of them all, the kiss of an actress is the most unnerving. How can we tell if she means it or if she's just practicing?
The best impromptu speeches are the ones written well in advance.
Never give up; and never, under any circumstances, no matter what - never face the facts.
If you believe, then you hang on. If you believe, it means you've got imagination, you don't need stuff thrown out on a blueprint, and don't face facts-what can stop you? If I don't make it today, I'll come in tomorrow.
All I wanted out of a career was to look like Hazel Dawn and wear pink feathers.
[on winning the Oscar at age 72, after more than fifty years in show business.] I can't tell you how encouraging a thing like this is. The first film that I was ever in was in 1915, and here we are, and it's 1969. Actually, I don't know why it took me so long, though I don't think, you know, that I'm backward. Anyway, thank you Bill, thank you Bob, thank you Roman and thank you Mia, and thank all of you who voted for me. And all of you who didn't: Please excuse me.
[As a winner on Oscar night, 1969] My husband told me if I didn't win this time he wouldn't bring me again. But I figured even if I didn't win I'd get got a new dress out of it. I feel absolutely groovy.

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