from the trailer for the film Strangers on a Train (1951).
December 22, 1922|
Lynn, Massachusetts, U.S.
|Died||September 9, 1999
Laguna Beach, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Jack Flaxman (1939–c. 1941)
Mortimer Hall (1950–1956)
Bud Burton Moss (1956–1960)
William Ross Wilson (1976–1999)
|Children||Richard Roman Hall (b. 1952)|
Ruth Roman was born to Lithuanian-Jewish parents, Mary Pauline (née Gold) and Abraham Roman. Her mother was a dancer and her father a barker in a carnival that they owned at Revere, Massachusetts. She had two sisters, Ann and Eve. Her father died when Ruth was eight, and her mother sold the carnival.
As a girl, she attended the William Blackstone School and Girls' High School in Boston. She pursued her desire to become an actress by enrolling in the prestigious Bishop Lee Dramatic School in Boston. She enhanced her skills with work in the New England Repertory Company and the Elizabeth Peabody Players.
Heading to New York City, Roman hoped to find success on Broadway. Instead, she worked as a cigarette girl, a hat check girl and a model to make a living and save money. Four years later, Roman journeyed to Hollywood, where she obtained bit parts in several films before being cast in the title role in the thirteen-episode serial Jungle Queen (1945).
While waiting for an opportunity in movies, Roman wrote short stories based on her experiences living in a "theatrical boarding house." She sold two of them – The House of the Seven Garbos and The Whip Song.
She played an important supporting role in the film, Champion (1949), as the (shotgun-wedded) wife of a boxer played by Oscar-nominated Kirk Douglas. In one of her most memorable roles, Roman co-starred with Farley Granger and Robert Walker in the Alfred Hitchcock thriller Strangers on a Train (1951). In the film Three Secrets (1950), she played a distraught mother waiting to learn whether or not her child survived an airplane crash.
Roman was a love interest to James Stewart in the Anthony Mann-directed western The Far Country (1955). She was the leading lady in other westerns, including Colt .45 (1950) with Randolph Scott and Dallas (1950) with Gary Cooper. The May 1, 1950, issue of Life magazine featured Roman in a cover story, "The Rapid Rise of Ruth Roman".
The actress had top billing in a pair of dramas, Tomorrow Is Another Day and Lightning Strikes Twice (both 1951). She was featured prominently in the adventure stories Mara Maru (1952) with Errol Flynn, Tanganyika and The Shanghai Story (both 1954), co-starred with Van Johnson in the films Invitation (1952) and The Bottom of the Bottle (1956) and had top billing again in 5 Steps to Danger (1957), a spy film, opposite Sterling Hayden.
Although she never achieved the level of success as a leading lady that many predicted, Roman did work regularly in films well up to the late 1950s. Then she began making appearances on television shows. These included recurring roles in NBC's 1965–1966 The Long, Hot Summer and, toward the end of her career, recurring roles in the 1986 season of Knots Landing and several episodes of Murder, She Wrote, both on CBS.
She guest-starred in NBC's Bonanza and Sam Benedict, ABC's The Bing Crosby Show sitcom and its circus drama, The Greatest Show on Earth starring Jack Palance, as well as Burke's Law starring Gene Barry and I Spy featuring Robert Culp and Bill Cosby. She also appeared as a fiery redhead in an episode of Gunsmoke.
She appeared in the early 1960s in the medical dramas The Eleventh Hour and[clarification needed] Breaking Point. She starred in a season 3 episode of Mission: Impossible (1968) titled "The Elixir" as Riva Santel as well as a Season 2 episode of Naked City.
Married four times, she had one son, Richard (born November 12, 1952), with her husband Mortimer Hall. She married Hall on December 17, 1950. In 1956, she sued him for divorce, and the divorce decree became final on April 15, 1957.
Andrea Doria sinking
In July 1956, Roman was just finishing a trip to Europe with her son Richard, who was three years old at the time. At the port of Cannes, they boarded the Italian passenger liner SS Andrea Doria as First Class passengers for their return passage to the United States. On the night of July 25, the Andrea Doria collided with the Swedish passenger liner MS Stockholm.
Roman was in the Belvedere Lounge when the collision happened and immediately took off her high heels and scrambled back to her cabin barefoot to retrieve her sleeping son. Several hours later, with the other passengers, they were both evacuated from the sinking liner. Richard was lowered first into a waiting lifeboat, but before she could follow, the lifeboat departed. Ruth stepped into the next boat and was eventually rescued along with 750 other survivors from the Andrea Doria by the French passenger liner SS Île de France. Richard was rescued by the Stockholm and was reunited with his mother in New York.
Roman died at the age of 76 in her sleep of natural causes at her beachfront villa on Crescent Bay in Laguna Beach, California, on September 9, 1999. She was survived by her son, Richard Roman Hall.
- Stage Door Canteen (1943) - Girl (uncredited)
- Ladies Courageous (1944) - WAF (uncredited)
- Since You Went Away (1944) - Envious Girl in Train Station (uncredited)
- Song of Nevada (1944) - Dancer (uncredited)
- Storm Over Lisbon (1944) - Checkroom Girl (uncredited)
- Harmony Trail (1944) - Ann Martin
- She Gets Her Man (1945) - Glamour Girl (uncredited)
- Jungle Queen (1945, serial) - Lothel - Jungle Queen
- See My Lawyer (1945) - Mud Girl (uncredited)
- The Affairs of Susan (1945) - Girl at Bright Dollar (uncredited)
- You Came Along (1945) - Gloria Revere (uncredited)
- Incendiary Blonde (1945) - Chorine (uncredited)
- Gilda (1946) - Girl (uncredited)
- Without Reservations (1946) - Girl in Negligee (uncredited)
- A Night in Casablanca (1946) - Harem Girl (uncredited)
- The Big Clock (1948) - Secretary at Meeting (uncredited)
- Good Sam (1948) - Ruthie
- Belle Starr's Daughter (1948) - Cimarron Rose
- Champion (1949) - Emma
- The Window (1949) - Mrs. Jean Kellerson
- Beyond the Forest (1949) - Carol Lawson
- Always Leave Them Laughing (1949) - Fay Washburn
- Barricade (1950) - Judith Burns
- Colt .45 (1950) - Beth Donovan
- Three Secrets (1950) - Ann Lawrence
- Dallas (1950) - Tonia Robles
- Lightning Strikes Twice (1951) - Shelley Carnes
- Strangers on a Train (1951) - Anne Morton
- Tomorrow Is Another Day (1951) - Catherine 'Cay' Higgins
- Starlift (1951) - Ruth Roman
- Invitation (1952) - Maud Redwick
- Mara Maru (1952) - Stella Callahan
- Young Man With Ideas (1952) - Julie Webster
- Blowing Wild (1953) - Sal Donnelly
- Tanganyika (1954) - Peggy Marion
- The Far Country (1954) - Ronda Castle
- The Shanghai Story (1954) - Rita King
- Down Three Dark Streets (1954) - Kate Martell
- Joe MacBeth (1955) - Lily MacBeth
- The Bottom of the Bottle (1956) - Nora Martin
- Great Day in the Morning (1956) - Boston Grant
- Rebel in Town (1956) - Nora Willoughby
- 5 Steps to Danger (1956) - Ann Nicholson
- Amère victoire (UK title: Bitter Victory) (1957) - Jane Brand
- Desert Desperadoes (1959) - The Woman
- Look in Any Window (1961) - Jackie Fowler
- Milagro a los cobardes (1962) - Rubén's mother
- Love Has Many Faces (1965) - Margot Eliot
- The Baby (1973) - Mrs. Wadsworth
- The Killing Kind (1973) - Rhea Benson
- Impulse (1974) - Julia Marstow
- A Knife for the Ladies (1974) - Elizabeth
- Day of the Animals (1977) - Shirley Goodwyn
- The Sacketts (1979) - Rosie
- Echoes (1982) - Michael's Mother
|1952||Hollywood Sound Stage||One Way Passage|
- "Obituaries : Ruth Roman; Former Warner Bros. Actress". Los Angeles Times. September 11, 1999. Retrieved June 5, 2015.
- "Ruth Roman: Hollywood actress who displayed a degree of vulnerability under a worldly exterior", guardian.co.uk, September 16, 1999.
- Stevenson, L.L. (August 18, 1950). "Lights of New York". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Bernstein, Albert (February 12, 1956). "Cinema-Scoop". The Progress-Index. p. 21. Retrieved June 4, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Profile, glamourgirlsofthesilverscreen.com; accessed March 29, 2015.
- "The Rapid Rise of Ruth Roman". Life. May 1, 1950. pp. 51–52, 55–56. Retrieved 30 November 2016.
- "Ruth Roman Receives Sarah Siddon Award". Chicago Tribune. July 9, 1959. Retrieved 5 June 2015.
- Ruth Roman on IMDb
- Ruth Roman, WalkofFame.com; accessed November 22, 2015.
- "Son Born To Ruth Roman". Logansport Pharos-Tribune. November 13, 1952. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Names in the News". The Ogden Standard-Examiner. June 14, 1962. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Ruth Roman Sues". Delaware County Daily Times. February 24, 1956. p. 1. Retrieved June 5, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Gets Divorce Decree". The News-Herald. April 16, 1957. p. 1. Retrieved June 6, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
- Honan, William H. (September 11, 1999). "Ruth Roman, 75, Glamorous and Wholesome Star, Dies". The New York Times.
- Kirby, Walter (February 10, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 38. Retrieved June 2, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.
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