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Also Known As: Anne Mobley Died: August 11, 1988
Born: March 27, 1929 Cause of Death: throat cancer
Birth Place: Omaha, Nebraska, USA Profession: actor, journalist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

The queen of playing mean onscreen, Anne Ramsey hailed from a blueblood family and enjoyed a distinguished theatrical career, founding the Theatre of the Living Arts with her husband Logan Ramsey. Beginning her film career later in life, her distinctively gruff voice and demeanor quickly set her apart. Immediately recognizable and unforgettable, she booked small appearances in high-profile projects throughout the 1970s, including "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976), "Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977), "Goin' South" (1978) and "Any Which Way You Can" (1980). In 1984, she underwent surgery for esophageal cancer, which necessitated the removal of part of her tongue and jaw, which added to her trademark slurred speech and gravelly voice, which she used to wonderful effect as the villainous Mama Fratelli in "The Goonies" (1985), for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award. Sweet in real life but hilariously abusive and deliciously mean-spirited onscreen, Ramsey scored again with small bits in "Deadly Friend" (1986) and "Love at Stake" (1987), and won her second Saturn Award as Danny DeVito's mother-from-hell in "Throw Momma from the Train" (1987), as well as nominations for an Oscar and...

The queen of playing mean onscreen, Anne Ramsey hailed from a blueblood family and enjoyed a distinguished theatrical career, founding the Theatre of the Living Arts with her husband Logan Ramsey. Beginning her film career later in life, her distinctively gruff voice and demeanor quickly set her apart. Immediately recognizable and unforgettable, she booked small appearances in high-profile projects throughout the 1970s, including "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976), "Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977), "Goin' South" (1978) and "Any Which Way You Can" (1980). In 1984, she underwent surgery for esophageal cancer, which necessitated the removal of part of her tongue and jaw, which added to her trademark slurred speech and gravelly voice, which she used to wonderful effect as the villainous Mama Fratelli in "The Goonies" (1985), for which she won a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award. Sweet in real life but hilariously abusive and deliciously mean-spirited onscreen, Ramsey scored again with small bits in "Deadly Friend" (1986) and "Love at Stake" (1987), and won her second Saturn Award as Danny DeVito's mother-from-hell in "Throw Momma from the Train" (1987), as well as nominations for an Oscar and Golden Globe. Sadly, her cancer returned and she died on Aug. 11, 1988, with several projects already in the can, including a cameo in Bill Murray's "Scrooged" (1988). Much loved for her one-of-a-kind character work, Anne Ramsey earned enormous critical and popular acclaim for her unexpectedly lovable characters.

Born March 27, 1929 in Omaha, NE, Anne Mobley was born into a high-society family; her mother could trace her lineage back to the Pilgrims. She became interested in theater while attending Bennington College, and went on to appear in several Broadway productions. In 1954, she married actor Logan Ramsey, taking his last name, and the two moved to Philadelphia, PA, where they formed the Theatre of the Living Arts. Her film career began later in life, in tandem with her husband's, and they appeared together in "The Sporting Club" (1971). Because of her distinctive appearance, gruff demeanor and voice which made her an immediate standout in small roles and bit parts, Ramsey made the most of each one, notching memorably fun cameos in everything from the John Travolta TV movie "The Boy in the Plastic Bubble" (ABC, 1976), "Dawn: Portrait of a Teenage Runaway" (NBC, 1976) and "Fun with Dick and Jane" (1977) to the Jack Nicholson Western "Goin' South" (1978) and the Clint Eastwood classic "Any Which Way You Can" (1980).

At the time of her growing success, the actress suffered a severe health crisis. Her trademark slurred speech and gravelly voice was caused, in part, to her having had some of her tongue and jaw removed during surgery for esophageal cancer in 1984, but she used her distinctive appearance and instrument to maximum effect. Immensely talented at making a huge impression with even a small amount of screen time, she continued to score a slew of TV and film guest spots before landing her star-making role. Playing the snarling villainess Mama Fratelli in the kids' adventure classic "The Goonies" (1985), Ramsey achieved pop cultural immortality and showcased her one-of-a-kind charisma as the ultimate battle-axe. Adding to the film's delightfulness with her inimitable performance, she won a Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award. With no one else like her in Hollywood, Ramsey made the most of her unexpected and unprecedented success. Heavily in demand after "The Goonies," the actress booked guest spots on "Hill Street Blues" (NBC, 1981-87), "Night Court" (NBC, 1984-1992) and "Night Rider" (NBC, 1982-86) before Kristy Swanson killed her with a basketball in a memorably bizarre scene in Wes Craven's cult hit "Deadly Friend" (1986).

She made a cameo as the true form of sexy witch Barbara Carrera in the Puritan parody "Love at Stake" (1987), but earned her biggest success as Danny DeVito's overbearing mother-from-hell in his blacker-than-black comedy "Throw Momma from the Train" (1987). The film and Ramsey's wonderfully wicked performance were hugely success, and the actress won a second Best Supporting Actress Saturn Award and earned nominations for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar and Golden Globe. Tragically, even as she enjoyed her greatest professional successes, her cancer returned, and she died on Aug. 11, 1988. She had kept working up until the end, however, booking a guest spot on "ALF" (NBC, 1986-1990) and lensing another fun cameo in the Bill Murray holiday comedy "Scrooged" (1988). Although many audiences knew her best for her late-career work as delightfully devilish harridans, Anne Ramsey was in real life a kindhearted and talented actress who made the most of her unique success.

By Jonathan Riggs

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Another Chance (1989) Landlady
2.
 Homer and Eddie (1989) Edna
3.
 Meet the Hollowheads (1989) Babbleaxe
4.
 Dr. Hackenstein (1988) Ruby Rhodes--The Grave Digger
5.
 Scrooged (1988) Woman In Shelter
6.
 Weeds (1987) Mom Umstetter
7.
8.
 Love at Stake (1987)
9.
 Say Yes (1986) Major
10.
 Deadly Friend (1986) Elvira Parker
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Raised in suburban New York and Connecticut
1933:
Decided to act after seeing "The Petrified Forest" with her father at age four (date approximate)
1936:
Sent to a Shakespeare camp in Brattleboro, VT at age seven (date approximate)
:
Memorized "Twelfth Night" and "As You Like It"; acted out each part at home for anyone who would watch
:
Attended Rosemary Hall, an exclusive girls' school in Connecticut; began performing on stage
:
Performed summer stock in Maine; met her future husband Logan Ramsey
1959:
Co-founded (with Logan Ramsey) the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia
:
Joined the Cherry Lane Theatre in NYC
:
Appeared Off-Broadway in Gertrude Stein's "Dr. Faustus Lights the Lights"
:
Wrote about food for <i>The New York Times</i>
1971:
Feature debut, "The Sporting Club"
1973:
TV debut, "The Third Girl From the Left", an ABC TV-movie that also marked the TV-movie debuts of Tony Curtis and Kim Novak
:
Moved to L.A. with her husband in the mid-1980s
:
Appeared in various LA productions including "Vision of Keroucac", "The Threepenny Opera", and "Persons Unclaimed"
1984:
Had part of her tongue removed during throat cancer surgery (date approximate)
1985:
Major feature supporting role, Mama Fratelli in the popular children's adventure, "The Goonies"
:
Did guest shots on various TV shows including "Knight Rider", "ALF", and "Night Court"
1987:
Performed signature role, as the ghastly mother of Danny DeVito in his "Throw Momma From the Train"; received an Oscar nomination as Best Supporting Actress
1989:
Last film appearance, "Meet the Hollowheads"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Bennington College: Bennington , Vermont -
Rosemary Hall: Wallingford , Connecticut -

Notes

Not to be confused with actor Anne Ramsay (note slight difference in spelling), who played a supporting role on the sitcom, "Mad About You" and was also occasionally billed as Anne Elizabeth Ramsay.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Logan Ramsey. Actor. Born on March 21, 1921; married in 1954; they co-founded the Theatre of the Living Arts in Philadelphia in 1959; acted together in "The Sporting Club" (1971) and Clint Eastwood's "Any Which Way You Can" (1980); died on June 26, 2000 in L.A. at age 79.

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