Ruth Gordon


Actor
Ruth Gordon

About

Also Known As
Ruth Gordon Jones
Birth Place
Wollaston, Massachusetts, USA
Born
October 30, 1896
Died
August 28, 1985
Cause of Death
Stroke

Biography

A distinguished stage actress through much of the first half of the century, Gordon was also a prolific playwright and screenwriter. Married to writer-director Garson Kanin in 1942, she collaborated with him on several George Cukor films, including the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn classics "Adam's Rib" (1949) and "Pat and Mike" (1952).Though relatively inactive in the 1950s and 60s, h...

Family & Companions

Jed Harris
Companion
Theatrical producer. Father of Gordon's son Jones.
Garson Kanin
Husband
Screenwriter, director. Married December 4, 1942 until her death.

Bibliography

"Myself Among Others"
Ruth Gordon, Atheneum (1971)

Biography

A distinguished stage actress through much of the first half of the century, Gordon was also a prolific playwright and screenwriter. Married to writer-director Garson Kanin in 1942, she collaborated with him on several George Cukor films, including the Spencer Tracy-Katharine Hepburn classics "Adam's Rib" (1949) and "Pat and Mike" (1952).

Though relatively inactive in the 1950s and 60s, her career picked up again in 1968 after her infamously diabolical role as Minnie Castavets in "Rosemary's Baby," for which she won an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress. Gordon is perhaps best remembered as the octogenarian partner of 20-year old Bud Cort in Hal Ashby's black comedy "Harold and Maude" (1971).

Filmography

 

Cast (Feature Film)

The Trouble With Spies (1987)
Voyage of the Rock Aliens (1985)
Sheriff
Delta Pi (1985)
Maxie (1985)
Jimmy The Kid (1983)
Don't Go To Sleep (1982)
Grandma Bernice
Any Which Way You Can (1980)
My Bodyguard (1980)
Gramma
Boardwalk (1979)
Perfect Gentlemen (1978)
Mama Cavagnaro
Every Which Way but Loose (1978)
Ma
The Prince of Central Park (1977)
The Big Bus (1976)
Look What's Happened to Rosemary's Baby (1976)
The Great Houdinis (1976)
Cecilia Weiss
Isn't It Shocking? (1973)
Harold and Maude (1971)
Maude
Where's Poppa? (1970)
Mrs. Hocheiser
What Ever Happened to Aunt Alice? (1969)
Mrs. Alice Dimmock
Rosemary's Baby (1968)
Minnie Castevet
Lord Love a Duck (1966)
Stella Barnard
Inside Daisy Clover (1965)
The Dealer
Beautiful But Broke (1944)
Bass player
Edge of Darkness (1943)
Ann Stensgard
Action in the North Atlantic (1943)
Sarah Jarvis
Two-Faced Woman (1941)
Miss Ellis
Dr. Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940)
Mrs. Ehrlich
Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940)
Mary Todd Lincoln

Writer (Feature Film)

Hardhat and Legs (1980)
Screenplay
The Actress (1953)
Screenwriter
The Marrying Kind (1952)
Writer
Pat and Mike (1952)
Writer
Adam's Rib (1949)
Screenwriter
A Double Life (1948)
Writer

Cast (Special)

The Ten-Year Lunch: The Wit and Legend of the Algonquin Round Table (1987)
Secret World of the Very Young (1984)
That Was the Year That Was (1976)

Writer (Special)

Gene Autry: The Singing Cowboy (1993)
Writer

Special Thanks (Special)

Gene Autry: The Singing Cowboy (1993)
Writer

Life Events

1915

Stage debut in a production of "Peter Pan"

1915

Feature debut, "The Whirl of Life"

1940

Returned to film after a 24 year hiatus, featured as Mary Todd Lincoln in her first sound film, "Abe Lincoln in Illinois"

1941

First collaboration with George Cukor as an actress, "Two-Faced Woman"

1945

First non-acting feature credit, "Over 21," from her play

1947

Screenwriting debut for George Cukor's, "A Double Life"

1953

Final screenplay credit from her play "Years Ago" and last collaboration with George Cukor, "The Actress"

1966

TV-movie debut, "Blithe Spirit"

1974

Had recurring role on the TV series "Rhoda"

1980

Wrote first and only screenplay for a TV-movie, "Hardhat and Legs"

1982

Final TV-movie, "Dont't Go to Sleep"

1987

Final feature appearance, "The Trouble With Spies"

Videos

Movie Clip

Every Which Way But Loose (1978) - Two Dumb Questions In A Row Learning about the circumstances of truck driver and part-time bare-knuckle fighter Philo (Clint Eastwood) in the San Fernando valley, meeting neighbor Orville (Geoffrey Lewis) and cranky Ma (Ruth Gordon), and an unexpected orangutan, in Every Which Way But Loose, 1978.
Adam's Rib (1949) - My Dear Husband What amounts to a gritty, Manhattan opening by director George Cukor and writers Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin, Judy Holliday hunting down husband Tom Ewell and bimbo Jean Hagen, in the 1949 Spencer Tracy and Katharine Hepburn hit, Adam's Rib.
Marrying Kind, The (1952) - It's A Dead One George Cukor's opening, Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin's original script emphasizing candor over comedy, married Florence (Judy Holliday) and Chet (Aldo Ray) under the sway of Judge Carroll (Madge Kennedy), in The Marrying Kind, 1952.
Marrying Kind, The (1952) - Don't Remember No Rhumba Recounting for the divorce judge, Florence (Judy Holliday) and Chet (Aldo Ray) not agreeing about a party at her sister's and a trip to the airport, fancy sound editing, in The Marrying Kind, 1952, directed by George Cukor.
Marrying Kind, The (1952) - You Take Most People Just after her Atlantic City honeymoon, Florence (Judy Holliday) hosts friend Emily (Peggy Cass), her mother (Phyllis Povah) and affluent sister (Sheila Bond) in her Manhattan apartment, in The Marrying Kind, 1952, from Ruth Gordon and Garson Kanin's original screenplay.
Harold And Maude (1971) - In Sight Of My Adversaries Having just told his psychiatrist about his funeral-going habit, we join Harold (Bud Cort) getting some new wheels, and attending his first, where he sees Maude (Ruth Gordon) for the first time, and his mother expresses further disapproval, early in Hal Ashby’s Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - Like Some Licorice? Director Hal Ashby shooting on location this time in Palo Alto, Harold (Bud Cort) for the second time encounters Maude (Ruth Gordon) attending a funeral to which neither of them has any connection, Eric Christmas the baffled priest, in Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - Snowfall On 42nd Street For the first time Harold (Bud Cort) seeks out Maude (Ruth Gordon) who’s invited him to visit, and she’s posing for sculptor Glaucus (Cyril Cusack), then demonstrates her scent simulator, Hal Ashby directing from Colin Higgins’ original screenplay, in Harold And Maude, 1971.
Harold And Maude (1971) - This Is My Car Shooting this time at the Holy Cross cemetery in Colma, near San Francisco, Harold (Bud Cort) meets Maude (Ruth Gordon) for the third time, as spectators at a funeral, Eric Christmas the priest again, Cat Stevens with his composition “Tea For The Tillerman,” in Hal Ashby’s Harold And Maude, 1971.
Inside Daisy Clover (1966) - I'm Your Most Devoted Fan Budding movie star Daisy (Natalie Wood), with her mother "The Dealer" (Ruth Gordon) at her glorified sanitarium, surprised at a visit from her new movie star friend Wade Lewis (Robert Redford), another inmate (Ottola Nesmith) joining, in Inside Daisy Clover, 1966.
Inside Daisy Clover (1966) - Pretty Hot In There Daisy (Natalie Wood), at home with her mother "The Dealer" (Ruth Gordon) and not sure about becoming a movie star, receives conniving sister Gloria (Betty Harford) and Hollywood mogul Swan (Christopher Plummer), in Inside Daisy Clover, 1965, directed by Robert Mulligan.
Abe Lincoln In Illinois (1940) - Self Made Man At a party hosted by the Edwards (Harvey Stephens, Dorothy Tree), we meet Mary Todd (Ruth Gordon), pursued by Douglas (Gene Lockhart), until Abe (Raymond Massey), with Joshua Speed (Minor Watson), arrives, in Abe Lincoln In Illinois, 1940.

Trailer

Harold and Maude - (Original Trailer) Bud Cort (then 19) and Ruth Gordon (then 75) make an unusual couple in Hal Ashby's cult comedy Harold and Maude (1971).
Abe Lincoln in Illinois - (Original Trailer) Raymond Massey portrays the rail-splitter in his journey from log cabin to the White House in Abe Lincoln in Illinois (1940).
Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet - (Original Trailer) Doctor Ehrlich's Magic Bullet (1940) starring Edward G. Robinson, the true story of the German scientist who devoted his life to curing syphilis.
Two-Faced Woman - (Original Trailer) Greta Garbo's last movie was the screwball comedy Two-Faced Woman (1941) about a woman who pretends to be her own twin sister to win back her straying husband.
Rosemary's Baby - (Original Trailer) A young woman (Mia Farrow) fears the baby she's carrying is the son of Satan in Rosemary's Baby (1968), directed by Roman Polanski and based on the bestseller by Ira Levin.
Inside Daisy Clover - (Original Trailer) A girl on the road to stardom fights the dehumanizing effects of Hollywood life in Inside Daisy Clover (1965) starring Natalie Wood, Robert Redford and Christopher Plummer.
Pat and Mike (animated trailer) Romance blooms between a female athlete (Katharine Hepburn) and her manager (Spencer Tracy) in Pat and Mike (1952).
Marrying Kind, The - (Original Trailer) A divorcing couple (Judy Holliday, Aldo Ray) reflect on what led them to court in George Cukor's comedy/drama The Marrying Kind (1952).
Actress, The - (Original Trailer) Jean Simmons stars in The Actress (1953), the true story of Ruth Gordon's early struggles on the road to stage stardom.
Edge of Darkness - (Original Trailer) Errol Flynn is a Norwegian fisherman turned resistance leader in Lewis Milestone's excellent wartime adventure, Edge of Darkness (1943).
Action in the North Atlantic -- (Original Trailer) Merchant Marines fight off enemy attacks at the start of World War II in Action in the North Atlantic (1943) starring Humphrey Bogart and Raymond Massey.

Family

Jones Harris
Son
Illegitimate son by theatrical producer Jed Harris; born in 1929.

Companions

Jed Harris
Companion
Theatrical producer. Father of Gordon's son Jones.
Garson Kanin
Husband
Screenwriter, director. Married December 4, 1942 until her death.

Bibliography

"Myself Among Others"
Ruth Gordon, Atheneum (1971)