Thelma Ritter

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Thelma Ritter
Thelma Ritter - 1955.jpg
Ritter in 1955
BornFebruary 14, 1902
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 5, 1969(1969-02-05) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting place
Cremated
OccupationActress
Years active1947–68
Spouse(s)Joseph Moran (April 21, 1927 – February 5, 1969; her death); 2 children
 
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Thelma Ritter
Thelma Ritter - 1955.jpg
Ritter in 1955
BornFebruary 14, 1902
Brooklyn, New York, U.S.
DiedFebruary 5, 1969(1969-02-05) (aged 66)
New York City, New York, U.S.
Resting place
Cremated
OccupationActress
Years active1947–68
Spouse(s)Joseph Moran (April 21, 1927 – February 5, 1969; her death); 2 children

Thelma Ritter (February 14, 1902 – February 5, 1969) was an American actress, best known for her comedic roles as working class characters and strong New York accent. She received six Academy Award nominations for Best Supporting Actress, and won one Tony Award for Best Leading Actress in a Musical.

Early life[edit]

Ritter was born in Brooklyn, New York, in 1902.[1] After appearing in high school plays and stock companies, she trained as an actress at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts. She established a stage career but took a hiatus to raise her two children by her husband, Joseph Moran, an actor turned advertising executive.[citation needed]

Career[edit]

Ritter did stock theater and radio shows early in her career, without much impact. Ritter's first movie role was in Miracle on 34th Street (1947). She made a memorable impression in a brief uncredited part, as a frustrated mother unable to find the toy that Kris Kringle has promised her son. Her second role, in writer-director Joseph L. Mankiewicz's A Letter to Three Wives (1949), left a mark, although Ritter was again uncredited. Mankiewicz kept Ritter in mind, and cast her as "Birdie" in All About Eve (1950), which earned her an Oscar nomination. A second nomination followed for her work in Mitchell Leisen's' classic ensemble screwball comedy The Mating Season (1951) starring Gene Tierney and John Lund. She enjoyed steady film work for the next dozen years.

She appeared in many of the episodic drama TV series of the 1950s, such as Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, and The United States Steel Hour. Other film roles were as James Stewart's nurse in Rear Window (1954) and as Doris Day's housekeeper in Pillow Talk (1959). Although best known for comedy roles, she played the occasional dramatic role, most notably in With a Song in My Heart (1952), Pickup on South Street (1953), Titanic (1953), and The Misfits (1961).

Death[edit]

Her last work was an appearance on The Jerry Lewis Show on January 23, 1968.[2] Ritter died of a heart attack in New York City, just nine days before her 67th birthday.

Filmography[edit]

YearTitleRoleNotes
1947Miracle on 34th StreetPeter's Motheruncredited
1948Call Northside 777Receptionistuncredited
1949A Letter to Three WivesSadie Duganuncredited
City Across the RiverMrs. Katie Cusack
Father was a FullbackGeraldine
1950Perfect StrangersLena Fassler
I'll Get ByMiss Murphy
All About EveBirdie CoonanNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1951The Mating SeasonEllen McNultyNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
As Young as You FeelDella Hodges
The Model and the Marriage BrokerMae Swasey
1952With a Song in My HeartClancyNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1953TitanicMaude Young
Pickup on South StreetMoe WilliamsNominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
The Farmer Takes a WifeLucy Cashdollar
1954Rear WindowStella
Lux Video TheatreLux Video Theatre Guestepisode: Christmas in July
1955The Best of BroadwayMrs. Fisherepisode: The Show-Off
Daddy Long LegsAlicia Pritchard
Lucy GallantMolly Basserman
The 20th Century Fox HourAbbyepisode: Christopher Bean
Goodyear Television PlayhouseAggie HurleyNominated-Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Supporting Role
1956Alfred Hitchcock PresentsLottie Slocumepisode: The Baby Sitter
The Proud and ProfaneKate Connors
1957Telephone TimeMary Devlinepisode: Plot to Save a Boy
The United States Steel HourMa Garfieldepisode: The Human Pattern
1959A Hole in the HeadSophie Manetta
Pillow TalkAlmaLaurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (2nd place)
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
1960G.E. True TheatreDoris Greenepisode: Sarah's Laughter
Startime (TV series)Mrs. Gillisepisode: The Man
1961Frontier CircusBertha Marie Beecherepisode: Journey from Hannibal
The Second Time AroundAggie GatesLaurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (3rd place)
The MisfitsIsabelle Steers
1962Birdman of AlcatrazElizabeth StroudLaurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (3rd place)
Nominated-Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Wagon TrainMadame Sagittariusepisode: The Madame Sagittarius Story
How the West Was WonAgatha Clegg
1963For Love or MoneyChloe Brasher
A New Kind of LoveLeenaLaurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (3rd place)
Move Over, DarlingGrace Arden
1965Boeing BoeingBerthaLaurel Award for Top Supporting Performance, Female (2nd place)
Nominated-Golden Globe Award for Best Supporting Actress - Motion Picture
1967The IncidentBertha Beckerman
1968What's So Bad About Feeling Good?Mrs. Schwartz

Awards and nominations[edit]

During her career, Ritter was nominated for an Oscar six times, giving her the distinction of being one of the three actresses (tied with Deborah Kerr and Glenn Close) most nominated for the award in an acting category without a win. The current record for all actors is Peter O'Toole with eight nominations without a win, followed by Richard Burton with seven nominations. Both Kerr and O'Toole received honorary awards from the Academy, however. In 1954, Thelma Ritter co-hosted the Oscar ceremony, notably trading wisecracks with Bob Hope.

Academy Awards[edit]

Nominated Best Actress in a Supporting Role for:

Emmy Awards[edit]

Nominated for an Emmy (in 1956), as Best Actress in a Supporting Role for the Goodyear Television Playhouse production of The Catered Affair.

Golden Globe Awards[edit]

Nominated for Best Supporting Actress for:

Tony Awards[edit]

Awarded Best Actress (Musical) (1957) for New Girl in Town in a rare tie (with her co-star, Gwen Verdon).

References[edit]

  1. ^ Born in 1902 as per Social Security Death Index under the name Thelma Ritter
  2. ^ "Appearance on Jerry Lewis Show". Thewindmillsofyourmind.com. Retrieved 2012-12-04. 

External links[edit]