Edit

Biography

Jump to: Overview (3)  | Mini Bio (1)  | Spouse (1)  | Trivia (3)

Overview (3)

Born in Watford, Hertfordshire, England, UK
Died in Chelsea, England, UK  (arteriosclerotic cardiovascular disease)
Height 5' 1½" (1.56 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Ruth Wynn Owen was born at Ericdale, Monmouth Road, Watford, Hertfordshire, England, UK to Reginald Wynn Owen and Nellie Edith Grindon.

Taught to read at an early age, Ruth read and was told old, Welsh legends long before she was really old enough to understand them; coupled with a vivid imagination she created plays which she, her brother and her sister 'starred' and they performed for family and to servants.

At the age of sixteen she went to train as an actress at the Old Vic in Waterville Road, London, where she joined the "Group Theatre" which involved Rupert Doon and Tyrone Guthrie.

Ruth met Ian William Danby In the early 1930's, during which period she was the leading lady in the Seagull Company in Yorkshire and he was a Junior Reporter for the Yorkshire Post. They married in 1936, and in July 1938 twin girls were born to them. They later adopted a son, Charles Christopher Danby (1944 - 1993).

During World War II, she and Dylan Thomas met and began an enduring friendship. In "Dylan Thomas" biographer Paul Ferris writes "Ruth was married. She fell in love with Thomas but refused to become his mistress. She found him gentle and vulnerable, inclined to boast in order to prove himself. He talked to her about his childhood. Perhaps he thought he was in love with her. But his letters are uneasy. He gave her the manuscript of a poem, and wrote her one further letter, in September 1943, from Carmarthenshire, sending her 'with all my heart, my love'. He remained very much married to his wife."

Following the War, Ruth developed heart problems which continued to trouble her for the remainder of her life, and while she largely retired from acting, she remained deeply involved with drama, as Drama Adviser to the prison service (including Wakefield Gaol) and her involvement with the West Riding Youth Drama Group. Through correspondence with Geoffrey Ost of the Sheffield Playhouse, she met and became understudy for 'Peggy Ashcroft'; they became good friends and Ruth was her understudy on several occasions.

In the late 1960's Ruth had suffered from a recurrent 'sore throat'. It was a long time before throat cancer was diagnosed. In the early 1970s, she underwent radiation treatment and in 1972 she had a laryngectomy.

Her husband, Ian died in December 1990 and Ruth died in the Royal Marsden Hospital on 6 May 1992, from severe narrowing of the arteries from which she had suffered for years, rather than throat cancer.

One of her former students, Brian Blessed, visiting her in hospital a few days before her death, gave her a stone he had brought back from Mount Everest and put a scarf that had been blessed by The Dalai Lama around her neck.

Another student, Patrick Stewart, flew in from Los Angeles too late to visit her but he spoke at her Quaker funeral where he and his daughter read the lament "Fear no more the heat o' the sun" from Shakespeare's 'Cymbeline'.

She was survived by her daughters, by the descendants of one of her twins and by her long-term partner who provided support to Ruth throughout her final illness. (Her adopted son died in 1993.)

- IMDb Mini Biography By: HR Mitchell

Spouse (1)

Ian Danby (1936 - 1990) ( his death) ( 2 children)

Trivia (3)

Of Welsh descent, she left acting to concentrate on Occultist religious teachings of the witchcraft line known as Y Plant Bran.
With the Group Theatre she first played in Southwold in the 1930s as Lady Isabel in 'East Lynne'. Programme notes at Southwold state: She has played in most good repertories and most London theatres - most recently the Comedy and the Royal Court and Manchester Library Theatre and her hobbies are given as "archaeology and ancient and comparative religion".
According to one of her daughters, she was "was dreadfully upset when she heard of Dylan Thomas's death in 1953.".

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page