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Ruth Gordon

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Occupation
  
Actress, writer

Children
  
Jones Harris

Role
  
Film actress

Name
  
Ruth Gordon

Years active
  
1915–1985


Ruth Gordon Ruth Gordon Biography and Filmography 1896

Full Name
  
Ruth Gordon Jones

Born
  
October 30, 1896 (
1896-10-30
)

Spouse
  
Garson Kanin (m. 1942–1985), Gregory Kelly (m. 1921–1927)

Movies
  
Harold and Maude, Rosemary's Baby, Every Which Way but Loose, Adam's Rib, Any Which Way You Can

Similar People
  
Bud Cort, Garson Kanin, Hal Ashby, Adrienne Barbeau, Vivian Pickles

Died
  
August 28, 1985 (aged 88) Edgartown, Massachusetts, U.S.

Partner(s)
  
Jed Harris (1929 - c. 1930s)

Nationality
  
American

Ruth gordon clips


Ruth Gordon Jones (October 30, 1896 – August 28, 1985), known as Ruth Gordon, was an American film, stage, and television actress, as well as a screenwriter and playwright. Gordon began her career performing on Broadway at age nineteen. Known for her nasal voice and distinctive personality, she gained international recognition and critical acclaim for film roles that continued into her seventies and eighties. Her later work included performances in Rosemary's Baby (1968), Harold and Maude (1971), and the Clint Eastwood films Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980).

Contents

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In addition to her acting career, Gordon wrote numerous plays, film scripts, and books, most notably co-writing the screenplay for the 1949 film Adam's Rib. Gordon won an Academy Award, an Emmy, and two Golden Globe awards for her acting, as well as receiving three Academy Award nominations for her writing.

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Ruth gordon wins supporting actress 1969 oscars


Early life

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Ruth Gordon Jones was born at 31 Marion Street in Quincy, Massachusetts. She was the only child of Annie Tapley (née Ziegler) and Clinton Jones, a factory foreman who had been a ship's captain. She was baptized an Episcopalian. Her first appearance in the public eye came as an infant when her photograph was used in advertising for her father's employer, Mellin's Food for Infants & Invalids. Prior to graduating from Quincy High School, she wrote to several of her favorite actresses requesting autographed pictures. A personal reply from Hazel Dawn (whom she had seen in a stage production of The Pink Lady) inspired her to go into acting. Although her father was skeptical of her chances of success in a difficult profession, in 1914 he took his daughter to New York, where he enrolled her in the American Academy of Dramatic Arts.

Early career

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In 1915, Gordon appeared as an extra in silent films that were shot in Fort Lee, New Jersey, including as a dancer in The Whirl of Life, a film based on the lives of Vernon and Irene Castle. That same year, she made her Broadway debut in a revival of Peter Pan, or The Boy Who Wouldn't Grow Up, in the role of Nibs (one of the Lost Boys), appearing onstage with Maude Adams and earning a favorable mention from the powerful critic Alexander Woollcott. Woollcott, who described her favorably as "ever so gay", would become her friend and mentor.

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In 1918, Gordon played opposite actor Gregory Kelly in the Broadway adaptation of Booth Tarkington's Seventeen. The pair continued to perform together in North American tours of Frank Craven's The First Year and Tarkington's Clarence and Tweedles. Then in 1920, Gordon and Kelly were wed.

In December 1920, Gordon checked into a Chicago hospital to have her legs broken and straightened to treat her lifelong bow-leggedness. After a three-month recovery, she and Kelly relocated to Indianapolis where they started a repertory company.

Kelly died of heart disease in 1927, at the age of 36. Gordon at the time had been enjoying a comeback, appearing on Broadway as Bobby in Maxwell Anderson's Saturday's Children, performing in a serious role after being typecast for years as a "beautiful, but dumb" character.

In 1929, Gordon was starring in the hit play, Serena Blandish, when she became pregnant by the show's producer, Jed Harris. Their son, Jones Harris, was born in Paris that year and Gordon brought him back to New York. Although they never married, Gordon and Harris provided their son with a normal upbringing and his parentage became public knowledge as social conventions changed. In 1932 the family was living discreetly in a small, elegant New York City brownstone.

Gordon continued to act on the stage throughout the 1930s, including notable runs as Mattie in Ethan Frome, Margery Pinchwife in William Wycherley's Restoration comedy The Country Wife at London's Old Vic and on Broadway, and Nora Helmer in Henrik Ibsen's A Doll's House at Central City, Colorado, and on Broadway.

Career

Gordon was signed to a Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer film contract for a brief period in the early 1930s but did not make a movie for the company until her supporting role in Greta Garbo's final film, Two-Faced Woman (1941). Gordon had better luck at other studios in Hollywood, appearing in supporting roles in a string of films, including Abe Lincoln in Illinois (as Mary Todd Lincoln), Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (as Mrs. Ehrlich) and Action in the North Atlantic, in the early 1940s. Gordon's Broadway acting appearances in the 1940s included Iris in Paul Vincent Carroll's The Strings, My Lord, Are False and Natasha in Katharine Cornell and Guthrie McClintic's revival of Anton Chekhov's Three Sisters, as well as leading roles in her own plays, Over Twenty-One and The Leading Lady. Gordon married her second husband, writer Garson Kanin, who was 16 years her junior, in 1942. Gordon and Kanin collaborated on the screenplays for the Katharine Hepburn – Spencer Tracy films Adam's Rib (1949) and Pat and Mike (1952). Both films were directed by George Cukor. The couple were close friends of Hepburn and Tracy, and incorporated elements of their real personalities in the films. Gordon and Kanin received Academy Awards nominations for both of those screenplays, as well as for that of a prior film, A Double Life (1947), which was also directed by Cukor.

The Actress (1953) was Gordon's film adaptation of her own autobiographical play, Years Ago, filmed by MGM with Jean Simmons portraying the girl from Quincy, Massachusetts, who convinced her sea captain father to let her go to New York to become an actress. Gordon would go on to write three volumes of memoirs in the 1970s: My Side, Myself Among Others and An Open Book.

Gordon continued her on-stage acting career in the 1950s, and was nominated for a 1956 Tony, for Tony Award for Best Performance by a Leading Actress in a Play, for her portrayal of Dolly Levi in Thornton Wilder's The Matchmaker, a role she also played in London, Edinburgh and Berlin.

In 1966, Gordon was nominated for an Academy Award and won a Golden Globe award as Best Supporting Actress for Inside Daisy Clover opposite Natalie Wood. It was her first nomination for acting. Three years later, in 1969, she won an Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for Rosemary's Baby, a film adaptation of Ira Levin's bestselling horror novel about a satanic cult residing in an Upper West Side apartment building in Manhattan. In accepting the award onstage, Gordon thanked the Academy by saying, "I can't tell you how encouraging a thing like this is ..." (exhorting laughter from the audience; at the time she had been in the business for fifty years and was seventy-two years old) "And thank all of you who voted for me, and to everyone who didn't: please, excuse me", prompting more laughter and applause.

Gordon won another Golden Globe for Rosemary's Baby, and was nominated again, in 1971, for her role as Maude in Harold and Maude (with Bud Cort as her love interest).

She went on to appear in 22 more films and at least that many television appearances through her 70s and 80s, including such successful sitcoms as Rhoda (as Carlton the unseen doorman's mother, which earned her another Emmy nomination) and Newhart. She portrayed a murderous author on the 1977 episode Columbo: Try and Catch Me. She made countless talk show appearances, in addition to hosting Saturday Night Live in 1977.

Gordon won an Emmy Award for a guest appearance on the sitcom Taxi, for a 1979 episode called "Sugar Mama", in which her character tries to solicit the services of a taxi driver, played by series star Judd Hirsch, as a male escort.

Her last Broadway appearance was as Mrs. Warren in George Bernard Shaw's Mrs. Warren's Profession, produced by Joseph Papp at the Vivian Beaumont Theater in 1976. In the summer of 1976, Gordon starred in the leading role of her own play, Ho! Ho! Ho! at the Cape Playhouse in Dennis, Massachusetts. She had a minor role as Ma Boggs, the mother of Orville Boggs (Geoffrey Lewis), in the Clint Eastwood films Every Which Way but Loose and Any Which Way You Can.

In 1983, Gordon was awarded the Women in Film Crystal Award for outstanding women who, through their endurance and the excellence of their work, have helped to expand the role of women within the entertainment industry.

Harold and Maude, Adam's Rib, and Rosemary's Baby have been selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the United States Library of Congress.

Death

On August 28, 1985, Ruth Gordon died at her summer home in Edgartown, Massachusetts, following a stroke at age 88. Her husband of forty-three years, Garson Kanin, was at her side and said that even her last day of life was typically full, with walks, talks, errands, and a morning of work on a new play. She had made her last public appearance only two weeks before, at a benefit showing of the film Harold and Maude, and had recently finished acting in four films.

Legacy

"She had a great gift for living the moment," said Glenn Close, who co-starred in Maxie, one of Gordon's last films, "... and it kept her ageless."

In November 1984, a small theater in Westboro, Massachusetts and an outdoor amphitheater in Quincy, Massachusetts were named in her honor.

Filmography

Actress
1987
The Trouble with Spies as
Mrs. Arkwright
1985
Maxie as
Mrs. Lavin
1984
Delta Pi as
Mugsy
1984
The Secret World of the Very Young (TV Movie) as
Mary
1984
Voyage of the Rock Aliens as
Sheriff
1983
Newhart (TV Series) as
Blanche Devane
- Go, Grandma, Go (1984) - Blanche Devane
- Grandma, What a Big Mouth You Have (1983) - Blanche Devane
1982
Don't Go to Sleep (TV Movie) as
Bernice
1982
Jimmy the Kid as
Bernice
1980
Any Which Way You Can as
Ma
1980
My Bodyguard as
Gramma
1980
Hardhat and Legs (TV Movie) as
Grandmother (uncredited)
1979
That's Life (rumored)
1979
Scavenger Hunt as
Arvilla Droll
1979
Boardwalk as
Becky Rosen
1979
Taxi (TV Series) as
Dee Wilcox
- Sugar Mama (1979) - Dee Wilcox
1978
Every Which Way But Loose as
Ma
1978
Perfect Gentlemen (TV Movie) as
Mrs. Cavagnaro
1977
Columbo (TV Series) as
Abigail Mitchell
- Try and Catch Me (1977) - Abigail Mitchell
1977
The Love Boat (TV Series) as
Mrs. Warner
- The Joker Is Mild/Take My Granddaughter, Please/First Time Out (1977) - Mrs. Warner
1977
The Prince of Central Park (TV Movie) as
Mrs. Miller
1976
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (TV Movie) as
Minnie Castevet
1976
The Great Houdini (TV Movie) as
Cecilia Weiss
1976
The Big Bus as
Old Lady
1976
Emergency! (TV Series) as
Lenore
- The Nuisance (1976) - Lenore
1975
Medical Story (TV Series) as
Emily Dobson
- The Right to Die (1975) - Emily Dobson
1975
Rhoda (TV Series) as
Carlton's Mother
- Kiss Your Epaulets Goodbye (1975) - Carlton's Mother
1975
Kojak (TV Series) as
Miss Eudora Temple
- I Want to Report a Dream (1975) - Miss Eudora Temple
1973
Isn't It Shocking? (TV Movie) as
Marge Savage
1971
Harold and Maude as
Maude Chardin
1970
Where's Poppa? as
Mrs. Hocheiser
1969
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? as
Mrs. Dimmock
1968
Rosemary's Baby as
Minnie Castevet
1966
Blithe Spirit (TV Movie) as
Madame Arcati
1966
Lord Love a Duck as
Mrs. Barnard
1965
Inside Daisy Clover as
The Dealer - Mrs. Clover
1954
The Matchmaker (TV Special) as
Mrs. Levi
1950
The Prudential Family Playhouse (TV Series) as
Paula Wharton
- Over 21 (1950) - Paula Wharton
1943
Action in the North Atlantic as
Mrs. Sarah Jarvis
1943
Edge of Darkness as
Anna Stensgard
1941
Two-Faced Woman as
Miss Ellis
1940
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet as
Mrs. Ehrlich
1940
Abe Lincoln in Illinois as
Mary Todd Lincoln
1915
Camille as
Party Guest (uncredited)
1915
Madame Butterfly as
Minor Role (uncredited)
1915
The Whirl of Life as
Undetermined Secondary Role (uncredited)
Writer
1980
Hardhat and Legs (TV Movie)
1973
Adam's Rib (TV Series) (story - 2 episodes)
- The Unwritten Law: Part 2 (1973) - (story)
- The Unwritten Law: Part 1 (1973) - (story)
1967
Rosie! (play "A Very Rich Woman")
1960
The DuPont Show of the Month (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Years Ago (1960) - (play)
1957
The Alcoa Hour (TV Series) (previous screenplay - 1 episode)
- A Double Life (1957) - (previous screenplay)
1953
The Actress (from: her stage play "Years Ago") / (screen play)
1952
Pat and Mike (written by)
1952
The Marrying Kind (written by)
1950
The Prudential Family Playhouse (TV Series) (play - 1 episode)
- Over 21 (1950) - (play)
1949
Adam's Rib (screen play)
-
The Ford Theatre Hour (TV Series) (play - 1 episode, 1948) (writer - 1 episode, 1948)
- Years Ago (1948) - (play) / (writer)
1947
A Double Life (written by)
1945
Over 21 (play)
Soundtrack
2018
Hal (Documentary) (performer: "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out")
1980
My Bodyguard (performer: "She's a Latin from Manhattan" - uncredited)
1971
Harold and Maude (performer: "If You Want to Sing Out, Sing Out" (1971) - uncredited)
Thanks
1976
That's Entertainment, Part II (Documentary) (acknowledgment: the non-musical sequences represent outstanding contributions by)
Self
1987
American Masters (TV Series documentary) as
Self
- The Algonquin Round Table: The Ten Year Lunch (1987) - Self
1985
Night of 100 Stars II (TV Special) as
Self
1983
Tom Cottle: Up Close (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #1.88 (1983) - Self
1982
Late Night with David Letterman (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 9 December 1982 (1982) - Self - Guest
- Episode #1.35 (1982) - Self - Guest
1982
Natalie - A Tribute to a Very Special Lady (TV Movie documentary) as
Self
1982
The John Davidson Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 26 March 1982 (1982) - Self - Guest
1982
Night of 100 Stars (TV Special) as
Self
1970
The Merv Griffin Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 21 December 1980 (1980) - Self - Guest
- Literary Variety (1974) - Self - Guest
- Guest Host: Wayne Newton; with Bobby Darin, Danny Thomas, Dave Barry, Ruth Gordon, Frankie Avalon (1971) - Self - Guest
- Tracy-Hepburn Salute (1971) - Self - Guest
- The Actresses (1971) - Self - Guest
- Ruth Gordon, Alex Dreier, Ray Price (1970) - Self - Guest
1980
Film '72 (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #9.28 (1980) - Self
1980
Looks Familiar (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 14 February 1980 (1980) - Self - Guest
1971
The Mike Douglas Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest / Self - Co-Host
1976
Good Morning America (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 13 November 1979 (1979) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 20 January 1978 (1978) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 29 March 1976 (1976) - Self - Guest
1978
The Film Society of Lincoln Center Tribute to George Cukor (TV Special) as
Self
1978
The Dick Cavett Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 9 February 1978 (1978) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 8 February 1978 (1978) - Self - Guest
1977
Saturday Night Live (TV Series) as
Self - Host / Essie Litella / Lillian Carter / ...
- Ruth Gordon/Chuck Berry (1977) - Self - Host / Essie Litella / Lillian Carter / -
1969
The Tonight Show Starring Johnny Carson (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 13 January 1977 (1977) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 19 November 1976 (1976) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 11 May 1976 (1976) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 23 July 1973 (1973) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 31 March 1972 (1972) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 16 December 1971 (1971) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 17 May 1971 (1971) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 19 October 1970 (1970) - Self - Guest
- Episode dated 16 July 1969 (1969) - Self - Guest
1976
That Was the Year That Was - 1976 (TV Movie) as
Self
1975
Donahue (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 13 January 1975 (1975) - Self - Guest
1971
Flip (TV Series) as
Self
- Episode #2.3 (1971) - Self
1971
This Is Your Life (TV Series) as
Self - Honoree
- Ruth Gordon (1971) - Self - Honoree
1969
The David Frost Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode #3.171 (1971) - Self - Guest
- Episode #2.57 (1969) - Self - Guest
- Episode #2.42 (1969) - Self - Guest
1969
The Dick Cavett Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode dated 29 October 1970 (1970) - Self - Guest
- Woody Allen/Ruth Gordon/Gina Lollobridgida (1969) - Self - Guest
1969
The Joey Bishop Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- Episode #4.63 (1969) - Self - Guest
- Episode #3.247 (1969) - Self - Guest
- Episode #3.237 (1969) - Self - Guest
- Episode #3.210 (1969) - Self - Guest
1969
The 41st Annual Academy Awards (TV Special) as
Self - Winner
1968
Mia and Roman (Documentary short) as
Self
1966
The 38th Annual Academy Awards (TV Special) as
Self - Nominee
1959
Person to Person (TV Series documentary) as
Self
- Episode #6.39 (1959) - Self
1956
The Ed Sullivan Show (TV Series) as
Self - Guest
- 8th Anniversary Show (1956) - Self - Guest
1940
Information Please: Series 2, No. 2 (Short) as
Self - Guest Expert
1940
Information Please: Series 1, No. 8 (Documentary short) as
Self - Guest Panelist
Archive Footage
2022
Patti Smith, la poésie du punk (TV Movie) as
Self
2021
Cat Stevens : De Steven Georgiou à Yusuf Islam (TV Movie documentary) as
Self
2020
Cineficción Radio (Podcast Series)
- Lo mejor de Cineficción Radio (2020)
2019
The Movies (TV Mini Series documentary) as
Maude
- The Seventies (2019) - Maude
2018
Hal (Documentary) as
Self
2015
Welcome to the Basement (TV Series) as
Ma
- Catch-22 (2015) - Ma
2011
American Masters (TV Series documentary) as
Self
- Woody Allen: A Documentary (2011) - Self (uncredited)
2010
A History of Horror with Mark Gatiss (TV Mini Series documentary) as
Self / Minnie Castevet
- The American Scream (2010) - Self / Minnie Castevet (uncredited)
2008
The 80th Annual Academy Awards (TV Special) as
Self
2006
Boffo! Tinseltown's Bombs and Blockbusters (Documentary) as
Maude (uncredited)
2004
Imaginary Witness: Hollywood and the Holocaust (Documentary)
2003
Sex at 24 Frames Per Second (Video documentary)
2002
The Kid Stays in the Picture (Documentary) as
Self (uncredited)
2000
Rosemary's Baby: A Retrospective (Video documentary short)
1984
RHEMA: Combine Man (Music Video) as
Sheriff

References

Ruth Gordon Wikipedia