Ruth Donnelly

1896 - 1982

Feisty, ebullient character comedienne who, for three decades, enlivened Hollywood films with her drollery and quick-fire repartee. The daughter of a newspaper editor and music critic, Ruth made her stage debut in the chorus of the touring production 'The Quaker Girl' in 1913. Four years later, she had made it to Broadway, playing a telephone operator in 'The Scrap of Paper' at the Criterion Theatre. She then appeared for ten months in the musical farce 'Going Up' (1917-18), which starred Frank Craven and a young Ed Begley. Some of her biggest comic successes were in plays by George M. Cohan, notably 'A Prince There Was' (1918-19) and 'The Meanest Man in the World' (1920-21).Ruth appeared on screen, first in a small part in Rubber Heels (1927). Not until the Wall Street crash of 1929 was she tempted to pursue a career in Hollywood, rather than on Broadway. For most of her time in the movies, she played acidulous secretaries, wisecracking friends of the heroine, or shrewish wives. She g

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