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Thelma Ritter

Thelma Ritter

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Also Known As: Died: February 5, 1969
Born: February 14, 1905 Cause of Death: heart attack
Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Character actress who after many unrewarded years on the stage enjoyed almost immediate, and enduring, success following her film debut in the late 1940s. Usually in the role of the sardonic chorus figure, strewing films with witty asides and cynical observations, Ritter enlivened a host of excellent productions and earned her place as one of the best character players the screen has ever known. Ritter earned six Academy Award nominations as best supporting actress: "All About Even" (1950), "The Mating Season" (1951), "With a Song in My Heart" (1952), "Pickup on South Street" (1953), "Pillow Talk" (1959), and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962). Ritter's first screen role was in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) playing the mother sent from Macy's to Gimbel's by Kris Kringle. In "All About Eve" (1950), she was Birdie, the ex-vaudevillian ("I closed the first half for 11 years and you know it!"), who now is Margo Channing's maid and companion and who utters the immortal line, "What a story. Everything but the bloodhounds yapping at her rear end." That hard edge came to use in "Titanic" (1953), when she was the Unsinkable Molly Brown, playing cards as the ship begins to sink. In "Rear Window" (1954), she...

Character actress who after many unrewarded years on the stage enjoyed almost immediate, and enduring, success following her film debut in the late 1940s. Usually in the role of the sardonic chorus figure, strewing films with witty asides and cynical observations, Ritter enlivened a host of excellent productions and earned her place as one of the best character players the screen has ever known. Ritter earned six Academy Award nominations as best supporting actress: "All About Even" (1950), "The Mating Season" (1951), "With a Song in My Heart" (1952), "Pickup on South Street" (1953), "Pillow Talk" (1959), and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962). Ritter's first screen role was in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) playing the mother sent from Macy's to Gimbel's by Kris Kringle. In "All About Eve" (1950), she was Birdie, the ex-vaudevillian ("I closed the first half for 11 years and you know it!"), who now is Margo Channing's maid and companion and who utters the immortal line, "What a story. Everything but the bloodhounds yapping at her rear end." That hard edge came to use in "Titanic" (1953), when she was the Unsinkable Molly Brown, playing cards as the ship begins to sink. In "Rear Window" (1954), she was Jimmy Stewart's housekeeper, in "Pillow Talk" (1959), her witticisms stole scenes from Doris Day, and in "A Hole in the Head" (1959), she was Frank Sinatra's understanding sister-in-law. In "How the West Was Won" (1962), Ritter was a spinster traveling to the west with Debbie Reynolds, and in "A New Kind of Love" (1963), a fashion designer alongside Joanne Woodward -- a job one might never imagine Ritter doing in real life. In film after film, her presence was the highlight of the picture, and although she was more than 40 before she stepped before a camera, Ritter eventually worked with virtually every major director of her period (Hitchcock, Mankiewicz, etc.) and every major star (Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, etc.) stealing scenes from most of them. Ritter began working in TV regularly about the mid-50s. One of her earliest roles was in the 1955 "Goodyear TV Playhouse: A Catered Affair," written by Paddy Chayefsky. In a role that was eventually played by Bette Davis on the big screen, Ritter was a mother who can't keep her daughter's wedding small. She appeared on other anthology programs and made occasional appearances on Jack Paar's late-night talk show.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 What's So Bad About Feeling Good? (1968) Mrs. Schwartz
2.
 The Incident (1967) Bertha Beckerman
3.
 Boeing Boeing (1965) Bertha
4.
 How the West Was Won (1963) Agatha Clegg
5.
 For Love or Money (1963) Chloe Brasher
6.
 Move Over, Darling (1963) Grace Arden
7.
 A New Kind of Love (1963) Lena O'Connor
8.
 Birdman of Alcatraz (1962) Elizabeth Stroud
9.
 The Second Time Around (1961) Aggie
10.
 The Misfits (1961) Isabelle Steers
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1947:
Made screen debut in small role in "Miracle on 34th Street"
1950:
Had first Academy Award nomination as best supporting actress for "All About Eve"
1953:
Played the Unsinkable Molly Brown in "Titanic"
1955:
Originated role of mother in Paddy Chayefsky's "The Catered Affair" on TV (NBC)
1968:
Made final film, "What's So Bad About Feeling Good?"
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Joseph Moran. Survived her.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Monica Moran. Actor. Survived her.

Contributions

Jeffery West ( 2006-02-16 )

Source: wikipedia

Brooklyn-born, Thelma Ritter, acted in high school plays, trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and was a Stage Actress. She took a break in her career to raise a family and worked in radio in the early 1940's. She began her film career with a role in "Miracle on 34th Street" in 1947. She was nominated for 6 Academy Awards for Best Supporting Acress. Memorable roles included "Rear Window" with Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly, "Pillow Talk" with Rock Hudson and Doris Day and "All About Eve" with Bette Davis. Thelma suffered a heart attack after a 1968 performance on the Jerry Lewis Show and subsequently passed away 10 days shy of her 67th birthday.

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