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Ruth White (actress)

Ruth White (actress)

Film, stage and television actress
Ruth White (actress)
The basics

Quick Facts

Intro Film, stage and television actress
Was Actor Stage actor Film actor Television actor
From United States of America
Type Film, TV, Stage & Radio
Gender female
Birth 24 April 1914, Perth Amboy, Middlesex County, New Jersey, U.S.A.
Death 3 December 1969, New Jersey, U.S.A. (aged 55 years)
The details


Ruth Patricia White (April 24, 1914 – December 3, 1969) was an American actress who worked in theatre, film, and television. She was an Emmy Award and Obie Award winner and also a Tony Award nominee.

Early career

A lifelong resident of Perth Amboy, New Jersey, White graduated with a bachelor's degree in Literature from New Jersey College for Women, now Douglass Residential College, Rutgers University in 1935. While pursuing her acting career in nearby New York City, she taught acting and drama at Seton Hall University. During this period, she also studied acting with Maria Ouspenskaya.

Career hiatus and resurgence

White's career was delayed in the late 1950s while she nursed her ailing mother. During her mother's illness White gained weight and looked older than her age. However, she managed to recover and appeared in off-Broadway plays of Samuel Beckett ("Happy Days") and Edward Albee ("Malcolm" and "Box"). White also earned a Tony Award nomination in 1968 for her role in Harold Pinter's "The Birthday Party."

In 1964, she won an Emmy Award for her role in the Hallmark Hall of Fame TV Movie Little Moon of Alban. By the end of the 1960s, she had become one of New York's most highly praised and in demand character actresses, and appeared in Midnight Cowboy, Hang 'Em High and No Way To Treat A Lady.


White, who never married, died of cancer on December 3, 1969. She is interred with her brothers Charles and Richard in their family plot at Saint Mary's Cemetery, Perth Amboy, New Jersey. Her final film role was in The Pursuit of Happiness, released fourteen months after her death.

Selected filmography

  • Edge of the City (1957) - Katherine Nordmann
  • The Nun's Story (1959) - Mother Marcella (School of Medicine)
  • To Kill a Mockingbird (1962) - Mrs. Dubose
  • Baby the Rain Must Fall (1965) - Miss Clara
  • A Rage to Live (1965) - Mrs. Bannon
  • Cast a Giant Shadow (1966) - Mrs. Chaison
  • Up the Down Staircase (1967) - Beatrice Schacter
  • The Tiger Makes Out (1967) - Mrs. Kelly
  • No Way To Treat A Lady (1968) - Mrs. Himmel
  • A Lovely Way to Die (1968) - Biddy, Cook
  • Hang 'Em High (1968) - Madame 'Peaches' Sophie
  • Charly (1968) - Mrs. Apple
  • Midnight Cowboy (1969) - Sally Buck - Texas
  • The Reivers (1969) - Miss Reba
  • The Pursuit of Happiness (1971) - Mrs. Popper (Last appearance)

Selected television credits

  • The Magic Cottage early DuMont children's series
  • "Captain Video and His Video Rangers" episode "Space Race" as Mrs. Bullfinch
  • The Fugitive
  • The Twilight Zone episode "The Incredible World of Horace Ford"
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