The middle of seven children, she was named after the S.S. Rosalind at the suggestion of her father, a successful lawyer. After receiving a Catholic school education, she went to the American Academy of Dramatic Art in New York, having convinced her mother that she intended to teach acting. In 1934, with some stock company work and a little Broadway experience, she was tested and signed by Universal. Simultaneously MGM tested her and made her a better offer. When she plead ignorance of Hollywood (while wearing her worst-fitting clothes), Universal released her and she signed with MGM for seven years.
For some time she was used in secondary roles and as a replacement threat to limit Myrna Loy's salary demands. Knowing she was right for comedy, she tested five times for the role of Sylvia Fowler in The Women (1939). George Cukor told her to "play her as a freak." She did and got the part. Her "boss lady" roles began with the part of reporter Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday (1940), through whose male lead, Cary Grant, she met her future husband, Grant's houseguest at the time.
In her forties, she returned to the stage, touring "Bell, Book and Candle" in 1951 and winning a Tony for "Wonderful Town" in 1953. Columbia, worried the public would think she had the female lead in Picnic (1955), billed her "co-starring Rosalind Russell as Rosemary." She refused to accept an Oscar nomination as supporting actress for the part, an Oscar she would no doubt have won had she relented. "Auntie Mame" kept her on Broadway for two years followed by the movie version.
Oscar nominations: My Sister Eileen (1942), Sister Kenny (1946), Mourning Becomes Electra (1947), and Auntie Mame (1958). In 1972, she received the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for contributions to charity.
|Frederick Brisson||(25 October 1941 - 28 November 1976) (her death) 1 child|
Interred at Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, California, USA, in the center of section M at the statue and cross.
Son, Lance Brisson, born May 7, 1943.
She refused to be placed in the Best Supporting Actress category when Columbia Pictures wanted to promote her for an Academy Award nomination for her role in Picnic (1955). Many felt she would have won had she cooperated.
Won Broadway's 1953 Tony Award as Best Actress (Musical) for "Wonderful Town," a musical based on the same source as her film My Sister Eileen (1942), for which she received an Oscar nomination playing the same character. She also received a 1957 Tony Award nomination as Best Actress (Dramatic) for "Auntie Mame," a part she recreated in an Oscar-nominated performance in the film version Auntie Mame (1958).
She died after a long battle with breast cancer in 1976 at the age of 69, although initially her age was misreported because she had shaved a few years off her true age.
In 1971, she accepted the Oscar for Best Actress in a Supporting Role on behalf of Helen Hayes, who wasn't present at the awards ceremony. Hayes won the award for her tour de force roll as Mrs. Ada Quonsett in Airport (1970) .
Her performance as Hildy Johnson in His Girl Friday (1940) is ranked #28 on Premiere Magazine's 100 Greatest Performances of All Time (2006).
Cary Grant introduced her to her future husband and was the best man at their wedding.
Sister-in-law of actress Elizabeth Russell.
Her son married actress Patricia Morrow March 15, 1975. They later divorced in the 1980s.
Her husband, son, and son's wife (actress Patricia Morrow), and a priest were at her bedside when she died.
Helped Van Johnson overcome his fear of live audiences after goading him into performing in nightclubs. He made his Las Vegas debut in the 1950s.
Profiled in book "Funny Ladies" by Stephen Silverman. 
Russell wanted the part of Sylvia Fowler in "The Women" so much that she did five screen tests. On the fifth one she burlesqued the part, which pleased director Geore Cukor and won her the role.
She was a staunch conservative Republican and an avid supporter and personal friend of Dwight D. Eisenhower in particular.
Acting is standing up naked and turning around very slowly.
Success is a public affair. Failure is a private funeral.
At MGM there was a first wave of top stars, and a second wave to replace them in case they got difficult. I was second in line of defence, behind Myrna Loy.
Flops are part of a life's menu and I've never been a girl to miss out on any of the courses.
In all those types of films I wore a tan suit, a grey suit, a beige suit and then a negligee for the seventh reel near the end when I would admit to my best friend on the telephone that what I really wanted was to become a little housewife.
Taste. You cannot buy such a rare and wonderful thing. You can't send away for it in a catalogue. And I'm afraid it's becoming obsolete.
Taking joy in life is a woman's best cosmetic.
Being given good material is like being assigned to bake a cake and having the batter made for you.
I just get out there and belt a song around. No one would dare give me anything with a range of more than seven notes - and four would be better.
[on her role in "Picnic"] [William Inge] has sisters who were schoolteachers. That helped him in writing Rosemary so perceptively.
It's fine to have talent, but talent is the last of it. In an acting career, as in an acting performance, you've got to have vitality. The secret of successful acting is identical with a woman's beauty secret: joy in living.
People can teach you a lot if you'll let them. I know.
[on Joan Crawford] She was very much the star. I think that's a very important thing to remember about her, that she was in command of what she did. Now, if she was not that confident herself, she certainly gave a damned good performance of somebody that was! She lived the life of a star. When you walked into her house, it looked as though a star lived there.
[on Frank Sinatra] Ohhhh, he is quite a guy! Frank is a remarkable human being. Very colorful. He is several people, all interesting. He is a man with concern for people - not only his friends, but people he doesn't know. I guess there is just reams that could be written about the things he has done for people which no one knows other than the recipients. He likes it that way.
|You may report errors and omissions on this page to the IMDb database managers. They will be examined and if approved will be included in a future update. Clicking the 'Edit page' button will take you through a step-by-step process.|
|With our Resume service you can add photos and build a complete resume to help you achieve the best possible presentation on the IMDb.|
Click here to add your resume and/or your photos to IMDb.