Ruth Goetz

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Ruth Goetz
Born (1912-01-12)January 12, 1912
Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, U.S.
Died October 12, 2001(2001-10-12) (aged 89)
Englewood, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Playwright, Screenwriter

Ruth Goetz (January 12, 1912 — October 12, 2001) was an American playwright, screenwriter, and translator along with her husband and collaborator Augustus Goetz.


Early life[edit]

Ruth Goetz was born Ruth Goodman on January 12, 1912 in Philadelphia, Pennsylvania, to Lily Cartun Goodman and Philip Goodman, a playwright and a theatrical producer. In her early years, Goetz attended Miss Marshall's Classes for Young Gentlewomen. Shortly after, Goetz studied scenic design with Norman Bel Geddes and harbored work as a costume designer. Goetz married Augustus Otto Goetz, a stockbroker at the time, on October 11, 1932.


In pursuit of writing careers, the Goetzes began collaborating on plays together. Among their first, written in collaboration with Arthur Sheekman, was Franklin Street, a comedy loosely based on Philip Goodman's autobiography, which closed at the National Theater in Washington, D.C. in 1940. Their next play, One-Man Show, the story of the relationship between a father and daughter set in the world of art dealers, opened at Broadway's Ethel Barrymore Theatre in 1945 for a brief run.[1]

Later, the Goetzes adapted Washington Square, a novel by author Henry James, to the stage under the same title. Met with little success, the Goetzes revised the ending and brought it back to the stage under the title The Heiress onto Broadway in 1947. After the success of the play, the Goetzes wrote the screenplay for its adaptation to the screen in a film directed by William Wyler. The film received critical acclaim and garnered the duo a Writers Guild of America nomination for Best Written American Drama.

In the late 1940s, author André Gide authorized the Goetzes to adapt his novel, L'Immoraliste, for the stage.[2] The theatrical adaptation opened on Broadway in 1954.

The duo would go on to adapt author Theodore Dreiser's novel Sister Carrie and playwright Zoë Akins' stage play Morning Glory to the screen. Additionally, the duo wrote the screenplay for MGM's Rhapsody.

The last collaboration between the Goetzes was the theatrical adaption of Storm Jameson's novel, The Hidden River, which opened on Broadway in 1957. Shortly after its opening, Augustus Goetz died of illness on September 30, 1957.

In 1959, Goetz wrote the stage play Sweet Love Remember'd in honor of her late husband. The play closed out of New Haven following the death of star, Margaret Sullavan. Goetz adapted and translated many French plays into American theatrical production such as L'Amour Fou by Andre Roussin into Madly in Love released in 1964,[3] Comme au Theatre by Francoise Dorin into Play on Love released in 1970.

Personal life and death[edit]

Goetz actively served positions in many organizations based in the art scene of New York such as the Young Playwrights, Inc, the Dramatists Guild, and the Museum of Modern Art.[4] The Goetzes had their only child, Judith, in 1946.

Goetz died on October 12, 2001 at Englewood Hospital in New Jersey.[5]



  • Franklin Street(1940)
  • One Man Show(1945)
  • The Heiress(1947)
  • The Immoralist(1954)
  • The Hidden River(1957)
  • Madly in Love(1964)
  • Play on Love(1970)



[6] [7] [8]

  1. ^ "Ruth and Augustus Goetz Papers". New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. New York Public Library of the Performing Arts. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  2. ^ Day, James (Dec 2002). "Theater, Texts, and Ambiguity in Gide's "L'Immoraliste"". The French Review. 76 (2): 332. 
  3. ^ Jones, Kenneth. "Playwright Ruth Goetz, Co-Author of The Heiress, Dead at 89". Playbill. Playbill. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  4. ^ "Back Matter". The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin. 25 (2): 102. October 1966. 
  5. ^ Gussow, Mel. "Ruth Goetz, 93, Who Co-Wrote 'The Heiress'". The New York Times. The New York Times. Retrieved 3 March 2016. 
  6. ^ Hale, Robert Beverly et al.. “Reports of the Departments”. The Metropolitan Museum of Art Bulletin 25.2 (1966): 65–98. Web...
  7. ^ Ruth and Augustus Goetz Papers, *T-Mss 1999-003, Billy Rose Theatre Division, The New York Public Library for the Performing Arts
  8. ^ "Ruth Goetz -- Bucks County Artists -- Michener Art Museum." Ruth Goetz -- Bucks County Artists -- Michener Art Museum. James A. Michener Art Museum, n.d. Web. 29 Feb. 2016.

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