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Ruth Roman Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (4)  | Trade Mark (4)  | Trivia (20)  | Personal Quotes (17)

Overview (5)

Born in Lynn, Massachusetts, USA
Died in Laguna Beach, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameNorma Roman
Nicknames The Sexiest Girl in Hollywood
Ruthie
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ruth Roman was born in Lynn, Massachusetts, the youngest of three daughters of Lithuanian-Jewish parents, Mary Pauline (Gold) and Abraham Roman. Her father, a carnival barker, died when she was a small child, forcing her mother to support the family by working as a waitress and cleaning woman. Ruth grew up in the poor tenement district of Boston, Massachusetts, where she went to school. However, she left school after just two years to pursue an acting career. Her chosen path proved to be strewn with obstacles: in New York, she obtained a job posing for stills for a crime magazine, but theatrical work eluded her. She then worked as a hat check girl at a night club before calling it quits and returning to Boston. There, she made ends meet as an usherette during the day while at night performing with the New England Repertory Company, her first steady acting job. She also studied drama and eventually graduated from the Bishop-Lee Theatre School.

Trying to get into films, Ruth unsuccessfully made the rounds of agents and producers for two years (1940-42), until a bit part as a WAVE came her way in the film Stage Door Canteen (1943). With $200 to her name, she purchased a one-way ticket to Hollywood, where she found shared accommodation with other aspiring starlets - naming it, optimistically, 'the House of the Seven Garbos'. After a screen test with Warner Brothers failed to result in a contract, Ruth had another run of six hard years playing bit parts, many of them uncredited, some ending up on the cutting room floor. A sole speaking part of consequence was in the titular role of Jungle Queen (1945), a Universal serial (after subsequent acting lessons, Ruth was aghast, when the serial was re-released in 1951).

Ruth finally got her big break when producer Dore Schary cast her (against character, as a murderess) in the RKO thriller The Window (1949). That same year, she successfully auditioned for Stanley Kramer's boxing drama Champion (1949) as the dependable wife of the fighter (Kirk Douglas). After this turning point in her life, the shapely, smoky-voiced brunette secured a contract with Warner Brothers. During the next phase of her career, she moved effortlessly from glamorous and seductive to demure and wholesome, in films opposite stars like James Stewart, Errol Flynn and Gary Cooper. Look Magazine billed her as the 'Big Time Movie Personality of 1950', and by the following year she was receiving some 500 fan letters per week.

While many of her leads were in westerns (albeit mostly A-grade ones), Ruth was somewhat more memorable in support of Farley Granger (as his upper-crust lover and the raison d'etre for the planned murder of his wife) in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951). Another off-beat role was as a gangster's moll in the British-made updated Shakespearean adaptation Joe MacBeth (1955). As Lily, she is the power behind angst-ridden Paul Douglas ('Joe'), whom she easily manipulates to do her bidding. In The Bottom of the Bottle (1956), she was at her dependable best as the supportive wife of alcoholic Van Johnson. Arguably, her last noteworthy performance on the big screen was in Alexander Singer's romance/drama Love Has Many Faces (1965).

By the 1960s, Ruth had made the transition to middle-aged character parts and began to appear mostly on television, in shows like The Outer Limits (1963), Mannix (1967), Gunsmoke (1955), and (in a recurring role) in The Long, Hot Summer (1965). She also toured nationally with theatrical productions of "Plaza Suite", "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf" and "Two for the Seesaw". For the actress, who was said to disdain the trimmings of Hollywood stardom, real-life drama came when she and her son counted among the 760 survivors of the sinking of the luxury cruise liner 'Andrea Doria' in 1956. In September 1967, she jumped from her burning car, but still managed to make her scheduled performance in "Beekman Place" at the Ivanhoe Theatre. Ruth died in September 1999 at her home in Laguna Beach, aged 75.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: I.S.Mowis

Spouse (4)

William Ross Wilson (4 May 1976 - 9 September 1999) ( her death)
Budd Burton Moss (8 November 1956 - 10 August 1960) ( annulled)
Mortimer Wadhams Hall (17 December 1950 - 14 October 1956) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
Jack Flaxman (1939 - 1941) ( divorced)

Trade Mark (4)

Shapely figure
Dark, exotic beauty
Husky voice
Black almond eyes

Trivia (20)

Roman and her son, Richard Roman "Dickie" Hall (born November 12, 1952), along with actress and writer Betsy Drake, were among the first-class passengers aboard the Andrea Doria when the ship collided with the Stockholm and sank in 1956. They were among the almost 1,700 souls saved in the sinking. Roman and her son were separated during the rescue. She arrived in New York first and waited for him, surrounded by news photographers and reporters. She was on the pier to greet him when the rescue ship arrived in New York the next day.
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by either Rosetta Calavetta or Lydia Simoneschi. Andreina Pagnani and Dhia Cristiani, most notably in Alfred Hitchcock's Strangers on a Train (1951), also lent their voice to Roman.
During the late 1940s, Roman lived with Linda Christian and five other aspiring actresses in a residence they called "The House of Seven Garbos".
Upon her death, she was cremated and her ashes scattered at sea.
She was a lifelong liberal Democrat.
Auditioned for the part of Delilah in Cecil B. DeMille's Samson and Delilah (1949). She and Hedda Hopper's son William Hopper made a screen test.
Was considered for the role of Sephora, Moses' wife, in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956).
Starred in Desert Desperados (1959), a biblical epic that was made in Italy in 1955 and was released by RKO in the United States in 1959.
Appeared on the cover of the May 1, 1950 issue of Life. The magazine also included an article about her, "The Rapid Rise of Ruth Roman".
In a 1951 article for Motion Picture, she said that her birth name was "Norma" Roman and that, when a fortuneteller told Mrs. Roman that the name would bring her daughter bad luck, she was renamed "Ruth" Roman.
The youngest of three children. Her sisters were Ann and Eva.
Her earliest credited role is Ann Martin, the romantic interest of Eddie Dean's character, in the Ken Maynard vehicle Harmony Trail (1944). In the film, Roman swoons over Dean and dances to his singing.
She and Yvonne De Carlo auditioned for the title role in Universal's Jungle Queen (1945). Ruth won the role, but she was later disappointed by the fact that De Carlo was chosen for the title role in a more prestigious Universal release: Salome, Where She Danced (1945).
Jack L. Warner wanted to cast her in the role of Stella Kowalski in A Streetcar Named Desire (1951) because she was a Warner Bros. contract player, a good actress, and a good draw at the box office.
According to the 1910 census, Ruth's paternal grandfather, Charles Roman, immigrated to the United States from Lithuania in 1905. He brought his wife, Martha, and his son, Anthony "Tony" (Ruth's father), to the States two years later. They settled in Boston, where Charles worked as a woodworker for a local factory.
Her mother, Mary Pauline Gold, immigrated to the United States from Poland in 1909. She was the daughter of Jake Gold and Esther Bycofsky (or Bucofsky). Mary married Abraham "Anthony" Roman on October 2, 1916 in Boston.
Her mother was affectionately nicknamed "Suki" (also spelled "Sooky").
She was almost cast in Cornered (1945), The Bachelor and the Bobby-Soxer (1947), The Big Clock (1948), The Paleface (1948), and Whispering Smith (1948).
In the late 1940s, she had a pet dog named Sean. He was half Kerry Blue and half Hungarian Puli.
Appeared with Gary Cooper in four movies: Good Sam (1948), Dallas (1950), Starlift (1951), and Blowing Wild (1953).

Personal Quotes (17)

Acting is my life. The profession can break my heart. In fact, it already has several times. But I love it.
[on Desert Desperados (1959)] My figure's always been sort of hidden, but, brother, it isn't in this picture.
[on Desert Desperados (1959)] I've never had a chance to be sexy or to wear scanty clothes in Hollywood, and I'm hoping there won't be any trouble. But you know those Italian film makers - this movie will come as a shock to some people.
[on Beyond the Forest (1949)] Bette Davis was great. I kept blowing my lines in one scene with her because they were so awful to try to say. I finally told the director that and Bette immediately came to my rescue. "She's right," Bette shouted. "This girl is absolutely right." Later she told me, "Ruthie, never forget what you did today. . . never be afraid to fight for what you know is right." And I never did forget.
[on Kirk Douglas] He surprised me on the second day of shooting by saying, "Do you know that this picture [Champion (1949)] is going to make you?" I couldn't believe that but Kirk insisted and even offered to make a bet on it. If I had taken the bet I would have lost, for the role of Emma did more for my career than any other role.
My happiest 26 days in the movies were spent making the picture Champion (1949). For, though you hear a great deal about teamwork in Hollywood, you almost never see as much of it as we did while shooting this film. Whenever there was a question about a scene, we'd hold a group conference, complete with producer, director and cast, to thrash the matter out. Each suggestion was not only considered but also thoroughly discussed. . . All this was immensely helpful to me in playing the role of Emma, for I was very young in pictures then, and this was quite a different type of role from the few I'd played.
[1951] I realized one day a long time ago that the toughest obstacle to overcome was me. I could take care of the outside things. It was the inside I had to control. If I can beat myself, I decided, I can beat anything.
[on her father's carnival sideshow] It wasn't a very big one or a very fancy one, but it was the most exciting thing in the world to me. I would hang around it hour after hour. I even hated to take the time to go home to lunch. I still get weak with nostalgia whenever I look at a merry-go-round.
[on her mother, Mary Roman, whose nickname was "Suki"] She had show business in her blood, too. She was a wonderful dancer, and if she'd been given a chance she would have become a great one.
[1951] I still have so much to learn, but one thing I do know. If I never do anything else from here on in, I have the satisfaction of knowing I did exactly what I set out to do when I came out here [Hollywood] - to stay until I proved myself, no matter how tough it got to be.
It's strange how you dream about how great it will feel when you finally get on top, all the things you'll do, yet when it happens you're so involved with new problems, new struggles, that you don't have the time or the energy to wallow in your success.
I guess I love acting so much I can't bear not to be involved with it.
Most people don't know how many heartbreaking years there are behind a success in this business. All they can see is that you're a star with your name in lights.
I began to get bits in pictures with here and there a better part sandwiched in. And then began further tests, one after the other, until I had had eighty of them - count them, eighty! - with some of the most provocative and generally unsatisfying results imaginable. For instance, another girl and I were tested for the lead in a serial picture, Jungle Princess [Jungle Queen (1945)], at Universal-International. I won . . . but did I? Yes, I got the role of the serial queen but the other girl got the star part in a Walter Wanger feature! The name of the picture was Salome, Where She Danced (1945). The name of the girl was Yvonne De Carlo.
I was tested for Crossfire (1947). Gloria Grahame got the part. I was tested for The Killers (1946). Winner - Ava Gardner. I tried out for That Wonderful Urge (1948). Jayne Meadows got it. Again I did my stuff, this time for Good Sam (1948). Joan Lorring got what I was after. I got the smaller role. At 20th Century-Fox I made what I thought was the best test of my life, a Technicolor scene for Burlesque [When My Baby Smiles at Me (1948)]. After seeing it I was sure I was in. I wasn't. The contract was handed to Jean Wallace.
[1951] My father died when I was so young I scarcely remember him. Sooky [the nickname of her mother, Mary Roman] seldom speaks of my father and I've learned very little about him except that he was an educated man whereas Sooky, to this day, can neither read nor write. But . . . she is a great teacher. She taught me to live, to accept pain without complaining, and to never, never give up.
I was christened Norma but when a fortuneteller told Sooky the name Norma would bring bad luck to the child, Sooky, being superstitious, changed my name to Ruth.

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