Ruth Donnelly Biography

Place of Birth: Trenton, New Jersey
Height: 5' 6" (1.68 m)
Wiki Biography: 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 gave excellent support as Mary Brian's domineering mother in Hard to Handle (1933) and was excellent as Edward G. Robinson's wife in the Runyonesque comedy A Slight Case of Murder (1938). There were many other good roles as comedy relief from Hands Across the Table (1935), with Carole Lombard to Mr. Deeds Goes to Town (1936),with Gary Cooper); and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939),with James Stewart.. She was versatile enough to handle dramatic roles, playing a worldly nun in The Bells of St. Mary's (1945) and one of the asylum inmates of The Snake Pit (1948). Except for a handful of TV guest appearances, Ruth essentially retired after her last film, Autumn Leaves (1956), and lived for the remainder of her life at the Wellington Hotel in Manhattan. She was for many years married to Basil de Guichard, an airline executive.

Ruth DonnellyPhotos & Pictures


TV Title Appeared As Year Genre
The Imogene Coca Show 1954 Comedy
Movies Title Appeared As Year Genre
Female 1933 0
Hard to Handle 1933 0
Ladies They Talk About 1933 Drama, Romance
Bureau of Missing Persons 1933 Comedy, Crime, Drama
Footlight Parade 1933 Comedy, Musical, Romance
Convention City 1933 Comedy
Wonder Bar 1934 Crime, Drama, Musical
Hands Across the Table 1935 Comedy, Romance
Mr. Deeds Goes to Town Mabel Dawson 1936 Comedy, Romance
Cain and Mabel 1936 Comedy, Musical, Romance
The Affairs of Annabel Josephine 1938
Mr. Smith Goes to Washington 1939 0
Mr Smith Goes to Washington 1939 Drama
My Little Chickadee 1940 Comedy
This Is the Army 1943 Comedy, Musical
The Bells of St. Mary's Sister Michael 1945
The Snake Pit 1948 Drama
Where the Sidewalk Ends 1950 Crime, Drama
Autumn Leaves 1956 Drama