Ruth Hussey Explained

Born:October 30, 1911
Location:Providence, Rhode Island,
United States
Deathplace:Newbury Park, California,
United States
Birthname:Ruth Carol Hussey

Ruth Carol Hussey (October 30 1911  - April 19 2005) was an American actress best known for her Oscar-nominated role as photographer Liz Imbrie in The Philadelphia Story.

Early life

Hussey was born in Providence, Rhode Island in 1911. Her father died, aged 34, when Ruth was seven years old, from the 1918 flu. She went on to attend and graduate from Pembroke College in 1933.

She never landed a role at Pembroke in any of the school plays she tried out for. She then studied drama in post graduate school at the University of Michigan School of Drama, and worked as an actress with a summer stock company in Michigan for two seasons.


After working as an actress in summer stock, she returned to Providence and worked as a radio fashion commentator on a local station. She wrote the ad copy for a Providence clothing store and read it on the radio each afternoon. One day she was encouraged by a friend to try out for acting roles at the Providence Playhouse. The theater director there turned her down, saying the roles were cast only out of New York City. Later that week she journeyed to New York City and on her first day there she signed-up with a talent agent who booked her for a role in a play starting the next day back at the Providence Playhouse. In New York City she also worked for a time as a model with the world-famous Powers agency.

She then landed a number of stage roles with touring companies. Dead End toured the country in 1937 and the last theater on the road trip was at the Biltmore Hotel in Los Angeles where she was spotted on opening night by MGM talent scout Billy Grady. MGM signed her to a players contract and she made her film debut in 1937. She quickly became a leading lady in MGM's "B" unit, usually playing sophisticated, worldly roles. For a 1940 "A" picture role she was nominated for an Academy Award for her turn as Liz Imbrie, the cynical magazine photographer and girlfriend of Jimmy Stewart's character Macaulay Connor in The Philadelphia Story.

Hussey also worked with Robert Taylor in Flight Command (1940), Robert Young in H.M. Pulham, Esq. (1941), Van Heflin in Tennessee Johnson (1942), Ray Milland in The Uninvited (1944) and Alan Ladd in The Great Gatsby (1949). In 1946 she starred on Broadway in State Of The Union the Pulitzer Prize play. In 1960 she co-starred in The Facts of Life with Bob Hope. Hussey was also active in early television drama.

Personal life

On August 9 1942, Hussey married talent agent and radio producer C. Robert Bob Longenecker (1909-2002) at Mission San Antonio de Pala in North San Diego County, California. Longenecker was born and raised in Lititz, Pennsylvania. They raised three children: Rob Longenecker, John Longenecker, and Mary Hendrix. Following the birth of her children, Hussey focused much of her attention on family activities, and, in 1964 designed a family cabin in the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, California.

In 1977 she and her husband moved from their Brentwood family home to Rancho Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California. Her husband died in 2002, not long after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary.

Her son John Longenecker works as a cinematographer and film director. He won an Academy Award for producing a live action short film The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970).

Hussey died, aged 93, from complications of an appendectomy.

External links