Ruth Hussey: Actress in MGM movies of the ’40s has died
Ruth Hussey, a Best Supporting Actress Oscar nominee for George Cukor’s The Philadelphia Story, died of complications of appendectomy this past April 19 in Newbury Park, Calif. Hussey was 93. (Image: Ruth Hussey Free and Easy.)
Though never a top Hollywood star, Ruth Hussey (born on October 30, 1911, in Providence, Rhode Island) was a reliable and welcome presence in a number of movies of the ’40s and early ’50s. At times, all she had to do was look pretty; but when given the chance, Hussey could wisecrack like the best of them – but without ever losing her cool, ladylike poise. She could easily have played the roles for which Myrna Loy became famous, but the problem was that they were both at the same studio, MGM, and the Myrna Loy parts went to Myrna Loy.
Ruth Hussey movies
Among Ruth Hussey’s notable movies are the aforementioned The Philadelphia Story (1940), in which she almost loses James Stewart to Katharine Hepburn; King Vidor’s H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), as one of the two women in Robert Young’s life (the other was Hedy Lamarr); The Uninvited (1944), with Ray Milland and Gail Russell, a highly entertaining supernatural tale; and Stars and Stripes Forever (1952), a biopic of John Philip Souza (Clifton Webb), in which Hussey played Souza’s wife. In her last feature film, The Facts of Life (1960), Hussey was Bob Hope’s wife.
On Broadway, Ruth Hussey played the female lead in Howard Lindsay and Russel Crouse’s Pulitzer Prize-winning hit State of the Union (1945), a role that went to her The Philadelphia Story co-star Katharine Hepburn when the play was transferred to the big screen in 1948. (Ralph Bellamy’s part in the play was given to Spencer Tracy in the film version.)
Additionally, Hussey was featured in a couple of dozen television series, among them Studio One in Hollywood; Lux Video Theatre, Climax!; and Marcus Welby, M.D., starring her H.M. Pulham, Esq. leading man Robert Young.
Ruth Hussey’s last appearance in front of the camera was in the TV movie My Darling Daughters’ Anniversary (1973), directed by veteran Joseph Pevney, and featuring Robert Young and fellow veteran Raymond Massey.
Ruth Hussey Free and Easy image via Doctor Macro.