Monday, February 07, 2005

Ruth Warrick

The mother of my high-shool friend Jon McNamara died recently. Because she was a famous actress, all the papers noticed. I remember her as striking - really quite beautiful - in makeup and very strange without it; otherwise she seemed to me a mom like other moms. This photo shows her in 1970, a half a decade after I last saw her. I recall that she drove a car having a device that automatically dimmed the high beams wen cars approached. Quite cool. They lived in a big frame house near the train station and belonged to a golf club that you could walk to if you wished (though we didn't much that I can recall). In the basement of their house there were big cartons of products given her by sponsors of the soap opera in which she starred. Later on Jon changed his name to take his birth father's. His sister Karen played bassoon well and, strange to remember, was a Baptist.

The obit in Paybill was pretty good.

Ruth Warrick of "All My Children" Is Dead at 88
By Kenneth Jones
18 Jan 2005

Ruth Warrick, one of the grand ladies of TV soap operas whose career included her movie debut with "Citizen Kane" as well as a flirtation with Broadway and work in stock, died Jan. 15.

Ms. Warrick, known to fans of ABC's "All My Children" as Phoebe Tyler Wallingford, died in her Manhattan home of complications from pneumonia, her manager told The New York Times. She was 88.

In the classic 1941 film, "Citizen Kane," she played Charles Foster Kane's wife, Emily, niece to the president. She made only three appearances on Broadway, in Miss Lonelyhearts (1957), the musical Take Me Along (replacing Eileen Herlie) and in the 1974 revival of Irene.

The native of St. Joseph, MO, was no stranger to the stage, however, having studied acting with Antoinette Perry and Brock Pemberton, and played in many stock productions — as early as 1933 at the University of Kansas. In 1960 she was Anna in The King and I at the Music Fair in Toronto. Her work in film, radio and theatre was eclipsed by her work on "All My Children." As rich and grand Phoebe, she appeared on the program since 1970.

Ms. Warrick was married five times. Survivors include three children, Karen Langenwalter, Jon Rolf and Robert McNamara; a grandson; and six great-grandchildren
This photo shows here in 1999.

The Washington Post added:

Ms. Warrick's casting in coldly intelligent roles belied a blunt, sometimes bawdy sense of humor. During one "All My Children" rehearsal, she approached a bored cameraman and flashed open her cape to reveal that she was topless. Later, to protest the network's poor air-conditioning system, she conducted rehearsal in a housecoat unzipped to her belly button. She said she liked slipping into the ocean at public beaches in a long top and panties.

Ms. Warrick could be outlandish, outdoing all the pretensions at a diamond-studded Broadway opening by wearing a flamboyant crown. She also was a sincere Democratic political activist engaged in voter registration drives. Moreover, she taught acting to poor black and Hispanic students in New York and helped start a job-training program in the Watts section of Los Angeles after riots there in the 1960s.

No comments: