Ruby Romaine

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Ruby Romaine
Tracey Takes On... character
Ruby Romaine.jpg
First appearance "Tracey Takes On...Charity"
Last appearance "Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales"
Created by Tracey Ullman
Portrayed by Tracey Ullman
Nickname(s) Rube
Little Girl Friday
Gender Female
Occupation Makeup artist
Family Shep (uncle, also Buddy's father)
Rosco (uncle)
Spouse(s) Tubby Lapels (Divorced)
Significant other(s) Senator Joe McCarthy (briefly)
Children Buddy Romaine
Desiree Romaine
Relatives Karen (granddaughter)
Wayne (grandson)
Whitney (great-granddaughter)
Nationality American

Ruby Romaine is a fictional character portrayed by actress-comedian Tracey Ullman on her show Tracey Takes On.... The character became so popular, that HBO commissioned a pilot for the character which resulted in the one-off special, Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales. Ruby is a self-professed "star maker."[1]


Ruby's family hails from Wisconsin. When her family moved out to North Hollywood, they lived in a trailer. Her parents were extremely obese: "I don't think I ever saw them put anything in their mouths that didn't have milk, butter, and cheese in it." Ruby's space in the trailer was whatever was left over after they sat down.[2] Ruby was an early bloomer. She developed triple D-cup breasts and "hair in all four locations." Sometime before age 15, Ruby's uncle Rosco came to live with her and her family. Rosco made sexual advances towards her, an act for which he stood trial. The judge made him join the navy and sent him to Guam where he died. "God rest his sweaty paws," says Ruby.[3] According to the book Tracey Takes On, Ruby had a short-lived marriage to entertainer Tubby Lapels, "chairman emeritus of the Hermosa Beach Friars Club." This produced her daughter Desiree.[4] However, according to the episode "Tracey Takes On... America," Desiree was the product of an affair with Senator Joseph McCarthy.[5] "He was the first guy I did it with in a blimp."

Besides Desiree, Ruby also as a son, Buddy.[6] Ruby gave birth to her children six months apart, "That way I could spend a lot of time with them and make sure that they were growing up right."[6] Desiree steals from the morgue where she works.[7] Buddy was the product of incest.[8] Ruby had an affair with her uncle, Shep. She was able to conceal her pregnancy by telling her mother that she was "nursing kids for the county." Buddy didn't meet his "Uncle Daddy" until he was an adult competing in a car show contest. Shep took the car Buddy won and disappeared from his life yet again.[8]

Buddy was a child star. He starred as the "Tasty Bread Boy" in television commercials.[9] When he was seventeen, Buddy decided that he wanted to fight in the Vietnam war.[9] Buddy returned a shell-shocked veteran.[9] He lives with Ruby to this very day. Even with his harrowing experience, Buddy still misses Vietnam. To fill the void, Buddy adopted a pot bellied pig, Oinky.[10][11] Ruby makes sure that Buddy takes his anti-psychotic medication[7] daily, although he seemingly has lapses. Buddy acted as Secretary of State for the secessionist group, Army of Armageddon.[12] The group called for their mobile home to be declared a separate state. Buddy has a history of selling his body parts. He used part of the money to send away for a "slender Filipino fiance".[12] Buddy proposed marriage as was mandatory contractually. However, upon his "fiance's" arrival, Buddy was held up with the Armageddon group. His fiance ultimately decided to marry the sergeant who was awaiting Buddy's surrender.[12]

Desiree's daughter, Karen, Ruby's niece, married and had a child with an African-American man. They named the child Whitney. Ruby never knew of the child. She also didn't attend the wedding. Ruby ran into her daughter in a food market. She was shopping with her granddaughter, Ruby's great-grandchild. This mini-reunion resulted in a reconciliation for mother and daughter, and an introduction for Whitney and Ruby. Ruby takes her great-grandchild to the Department of Motor Vehicles, and uses her to get out of jams when she gets caught making off-color remarks to store employees.[7]

Ruby stocked up on what she calls "vintage dinners" - frozen TV dinners that were taken off the market when health experts discovered that some of the additives were causing cancer. She still serves them on special occasions like Thanksgiving for her family.[13]


Ruby resides in East Hollywood, Los Angeles, California (North Hollywood according to Ruby herself in a home shopping call in[14]). Her address is, 264 1/2 Fernando Venezuela Boulevard, (formally Appleby), Hollywood, California, 90036.[15] She dubs her neighborhood "Boomshakalaka Town".[4] The majority of Ruby's neighbors are Hispanic. "It used to be a real elegant neighborhood, but now all the children have earrings and you can smell the rice and beans in the air."[16]

Ruby's relationship with her neighbors is nothing short of tumultuous. Ruby was raped by her neighbor's dog, Raging Bull. Taking matters into her own hands, Ruby had her friend Dean castrate the dog with bricks as to not have her attacked again.[17]

Mexican Jehovah's Witnesses frequently turn up on Ruby's doorstep. She quickly turns them away. Ruby is not a religious person.[18]

Frozen blocks of urine have crashed through Ruby's bathroom ceilings from space shuttles.[19]

Hollywood makeup career[edit]

Ruby's makeup career began when a motion picture came to her hometown called "Pirate of the Plains" starring actor Errol Flynn. Flynn took a liking to underage Romaine and slept with her. Ruby, threatening to make a scandal out of the affair, was offered a job doing makeup which kicked started her fifty-year career.[20] She is the oldest working Hollywood Makeup Union member. "I've been working here fifty years, hell, I'm almost out of rouge!"[21] Ruby choose to make her makeup the old-fashioned way: in a blender. She has over 720 film and television shows to her credit.

Ruby has worked on such stars as Barbara Eden, Bette Davis, Clark Gable[22] (Mogambo), Debbie Reynolds, Debra Paget and Dennis Weaver (in Seven Angry Men, they didn't have the budget for twelve[22]), Humphrey Bogart, Jane Kaczmarek, Jane Seymour, Jane Wyman (who never said more than a few words to her), Katharine Hepburn, Kirk Douglas (The Vikings), Maureen O'Hara, Mickey Rooney (she cut out fresh orange peel teeth for him for his Japanese character I.Y. Yunioshi in Breakfast At Tiffany's), Nick Nolte, Ronald Reagan ('powered his nose' for Chesterfield cigarette ads), Rose Marie, Spencer Tracy, the cast of Bonanza, and has applied putty to Candice Bergen's neck.[21] She also worked for legendary actress, Joan Crawford.[21] "My job was to draw her eyebrows in five minutes before the alarm went off."[21] Crawford's two adopted children implored Ruby to help save them from their mother who was "strapping them to the bed and giving them enemas". Ruby went on the side of the woman who "signed her paychecks".[21]

Ruby has related that she put actor Tony Curtis in a diaper since the director wouldn't let him climb down for bathroom breaks in the movie Trapeze.[8]

Ruby got to make amends with actress Vivian Biltmore, the woman who got her fired off the (film) set claiming that she was drunk. Ruby did Biltmore's makeup for her Oscar-winning performance in Faded Splendor. Ruby reconciled with the star while acting as makeup mortician.[16]

Ruby also worked on actress Jayne Mansfield. "I got to the scene of the accident where Jayne Mansfield's head rolled along the side of that highway. Sad thing was, I had done her roots only three days prior. Can you believe her luck?"[23]

Ruby worked on The Greatest Story Ever Told (which was the closet thing she ever had to a religious experience).[18] Actress Angela Lansbury accused her of drinking the wine for the Last Supper scene.[18] Ruby was subsequently fired.

Ruby did Burt Reynolds' makeup for Smokey and the Bandit.[24]

She has worked on such motion pictures as Showgirls, doing makeup for actress Elizabeth Berkley. Ruby used ice-cubes on Berkley's nipples before every take.[25] Ruby has also done makeup for the porn industry. Her work can be seen in "Plymouth Cock."[22] "I never needed a 'beaver brush' when I worked with Minnelli!"[22]

Ruby has had multiple affairs. The list includes: Anthony Quinn, Cornel Wilde,[17] John Garfield,[26] Lawrence Welk,[27] Lorne Greene, Robert Mitchum,[17] John Edgar Hoover,[26] Joe McCarthy.[5] Ruby swears that when she worked with Rock Hudson he was "all hands."[28] Ruby worked on Magnificent Obsession starring Hudson and Jane Wyman.[28]

She has only been arrested once in her life. "It was on one of those low-budget shows. It was all about people turning into rats." A half-pound of cocaine was found in the hair and makeup trailer on the set of a B movie Ruby was working on. She was innocent, but years prior she did let a gaffer rub some on one of her nipples and lick it off. "He got a bigger kick out of it than I did. That's for sure."[29]

Ruby's favorite film is The Lost Weekend. She helped Ray Milland research his role. "[I]t took more than a weekend, I can tell ya!"[30]

Hollywood insider[edit]

Ruby is adamant that Liberace was not gay. She saw him and Carol Burnett "canoodling" in a restaurant.[31]

She rejects the reported life story of Grace Kelly. "She slept with every leading man she ever worked with."[32]

Ruby tried to cover up the bruises on actress Lana Turner, given to her by abusive boyfriend Johnny Stompanato. "He smacked her around, and she liked it!"[16]

Ruby worked on actress Hedy Lamarr. In response to Orson Welles' The War Of The Worlds radio broadcast, Lamarr and Ruby dove underneath the makeup trailer, "with our kissers in the dirt for six hours." "Hedy was so mad, she put a gypsy curse on Orson, which is why he got so fat," says Ruby.[19]

Key player[edit]

Unbeknownst to the public, Ruby was the "Deep Throat" that brought 1970s actress Linda Granger's career to halt. This brought an end to both Linda's hit television series VIP Lounge, and to her character Vicki Starr, who was killed off in the program. Ruby leaked that Linda was a drug addict who tried to snort the translucent power from her makeup kit. The last straw was when Ruby took it away from her, and Linda slapped her.[33] Linda also, at some point, got Ruby fired from the set of Vegas Vixens.[24]

Back in the 1950s, Ruby had the opportunity to become a secret agent for the FBI. A listening devise was transplanted in Ruby's back molar to spy on possible communist Hollywood movie stars. While spying on John Garfield, Garfield misinterpreted Ruby's (drunk) facial expressions, and thought she was coming onto him. After a brief liaison, Ruby worked every John Garfield picture.[26]

Ruby took it upon herself to spy on possible communist sympathizers in Hollywood for her then lover, Senator Joseph McCarthy.[5] Being in the makeup business, she had prime access to spy on the stars.

Alien abduction[edit]

Driving home after a day of doing makeup on a George Schlatter comedy show, Ruby was startled when her Buick began shaking violently. Ruby jumped out of her car thinking it was another California earthquake. Suddenly, a beam of bright light shone in front of her. A green figure emerged from a metallic mobile home-shaped spacecraft. The creature led Ruby aboard. There she drank and danced with the creature she called, "Mayor of the Moon" and "the top alien back home." She was then probed by the creature. Soon after, she was led back to her car which had been washed and simonized. Ruby went to the FBI to tell them of her encounter.[27]

Alcoholism, smoking, and overall health[edit]

Ruby's brand of cigarette choice is Pall Mall.[34] She began smoking as early as seven years old.[23] She has what many would describe as an alcohol problem, but Ruby would never admit to this. She sometimes refers to her alcohol as "medication",[35] or a purifier.[12] She is not one to refrain from taking medication for her artificial hip, (which was put in backwards), with beer.[36] She is keen on not missing Happy Hour at Smog Cutters,[22] which she frequently drives to in her blue Buick. She enjoys champagne music[27] and wine tasting.[4] Ruby is known to call into The Family Spending Channel, a home shopping network, when she's had "a few too many."[14]

Ruby only gets mammograms as to ensure that she doesn't get dropped by Artist Guild's health insurance program. "Even if I get a lump out here on the Matterhorn, by the time it gets to base camp, I'll be 105."[37]

Ruby has had a hysterectomy.[35]

See also[edit]


  1. ^ Ullman, p. 151.
  2. ^ Ullman, p. 109.
  3. ^ Ullman, pp. 12-13.
  4. ^ a b c Ullman, p. xxv.
  5. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... America". Tracey Takes On. February 24, 1999. HBO. 
  6. ^ a b Ullman, p. 59.
  7. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Mothers". Tracey Takes On. February 8, 1997. HBO. 
  8. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Hype". Tracey Takes On. March 3, 1999. HBO. 
  9. ^ a b c Ullman, p. 203.
  10. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Age". Tracey Takes On. February 15, 1998. HBO. 
  11. ^ "Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales". Tracey Ullman in the Trailer Tales. August 3, 2003. HBO. 
  12. ^ a b c d "Tracey Takes On... Marriage". Tracey Takes On. January 4, 1998. HBO. 
  13. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Food". Tracey Takes On. February 8, 1998. HBO. 
  14. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... Money". Tracey Takes On. April 9, 1997. HBO. 
  15. ^ Ullman, pp. 164-165.
  16. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Death". Tracey Takes On. March 13, 1996. HBO. 
  17. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Man's Best Friend". Tracey Takes On. February 22, 1998. HBO. 
  18. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Religion". Tracey Takes On. February 15, 1998. HBO. 
  19. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... The End of the World". Tracey Takes On. March 17, 1999. HBO. 
  20. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Childhood". Tracey Takes On. March 5, 1997. HBO. 
  21. ^ a b c d e "Tracey Takes On... Hollywood". Tracey Takes On. January 11, 1998. HBO. 
  22. ^ a b c d e "Tracey Takes On... Sex". Tracey Takes On. January 25, 1997. HBO. 
  23. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... Smoking". Tracey Takes On. January 18, 1998. HBO. 
  24. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... Road Rage". Tracey Takes On. February 17, 1999. HBO. 
  25. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Vegas". Tracey Takes On. February 17, 1997. HBO. 
  26. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Agents". Tracey Takes On. February 1, 1998. HBO. 
  27. ^ a b c "Tracey Takes On... Fantasy". Tracey Takes On. February 2, 1997. HBO. 
  28. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... Obsession". Tracey Takes On. March 10, 1999. HBO. 
  29. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Crime". Tracey Takes On. March 27, 1997. HBO. 
  30. ^ Ullman, p. 176.
  31. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Lies". Tracey Takes On. January 27, 1999. HBO. 
  32. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Royalty". Tracey Takes On. February 14, 1996. HBO. 
  33. ^ "Tracey Takes On... 1976". Tracey Takes On. February 17, 1997. HBO. 
  34. ^ Ullman, pp. 220-221.
  35. ^ a b "Tracey Takes On... Movies". Tracey Takes On. April 2, 1997. HBO. 
  36. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Drugs". Tracey Takes On. January 13, 1999. HBO. 
  37. ^ "Tracey Takes On... Health". Tracey Takes On. March 13, 1996. HBO. 


External links[edit]