FILM, TELEVISION AND STAGE LEGEND RUTH WARRICK, STAR OF "ALL MY CHILDREN" AND "CITIZEN KANE," DIES AT 88
Ruth Warrick (1916-2005) died on Saturday, January 15, 2005 at 12:15 a.m. in her home in New York City of complications from pneumonia. She was 88. Ms. Warrick's indelible film debut was in Orson Welles' 1941 classic, "Citizen Kane," in the role of Emily Kane. This landmark film had its 50th anniversary in 1991, and to celebrate it Ms. Warrick was honored with a caricature on the wall of the famed New York restaurant, Sardi's. "Citizen Kane" was Ms. Warrick's entry into Hollywood. Some thirty other movies would follow, including "The Corsican Brothers," "Driftwood," "China Sky," "Journey into Fear," "Let's Dance" and "Song of The South."
In May of 2004 Mr. Warrick received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences for her long career on the Emmy Award-winning ABC Daytime drama, "All My Children." Ms. Warrick originated and continued to play the role of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford since the show's inception in 1970.
"All My Children" would mark Ms. Warrick's final television appearance. On January 5, 2005 she made a brief return to the fictional town of Pine Valley to commemorate the show's 35th Anniversary.
"Ruth Warrick was my first mentor. Over the years she not only shared with me her talent and grace, but she did so with the entire country. She was a consummate professional and her passion, glamour and talent will continue to be an inspiration. She leaves behind an everlasting legacy from her extensive career in television, film and stage, as well as her commitments to the social causes she stood behind. She will truly be missed," said co-star Susan Lucci.
Ruth Warrick was born in 1916 in St. Joseph, MO and moved to Kansas City while she was in high school, and later attended the University of Kansas City (Now UMKC). A promotional tour brought her to New York, where her interest in acting brought her to the Mercury Theater, headed by acclaimed actor/director Orson Welles, with whom she ultimately headed for Hollywood. Ms. Warrick was nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Hannah Cord in "Peyton Place." She worked for five years on "As the World Turns," had a starring role in the television series "Father of the Bride" and guest starred on "The Love Boat" and in ABC After school specials. She also played the familiar role of Hannah Cord in the 1985 made-for-television movie, "Return to Peyton Place."
Ms. Warrick was no stranger to Broadway. She appeared with Debbie Reynolds in the musical, "Irene." She also starred on Broadway with Jackie Gleason in "Take Me Along," and had a featured role in "Pal Joey." In regional theater she starred in "Who's Afraid of Virginia Woolf?" and in "Long Day's Journey into Night," and starred in the National tour as Anna in "The King and I."
Her popular and fascinating autobiography, "The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler," Discusses the character of Phoebe on "All My Children," as well as Ms. Warrick's life as an actress in New York and Hollywood. The book, which she wrote with Don Preston, was published in 1980 by Prentice-Hall. Ms. Warrick was also honored with a star on Hollywood's Walk of Fame for her body of work in motion pictures.
Long active in arts-in-education programs, including programs for the disadvantaged in the Watts area of Los Angeles, Ms. Warrick devoted her boundless energy to the League School for the education of autistic and emotionally disturbed children, and to Business & Industry for the Arts in Education, for which she was the unofficial spokesperson, encouraging arts programs in elementary schools and urging business leader to convince school boards and legislators to appropriate funds for arts in public education. In the spring of 1983 Ms. Warrick received the first national Arts in Education Award from the Board of Directors of Business and Industry for Arts in Education, Inc. She was cited for leadership in helping to make the arts more entral to the schooling process. A Humanitarian Award is given each year in her name. She was on the Board of Regents of the Cathedral of St. John the Divine, and was an honored patron of Jobs for Youth. In 1995 she was given the first St. Joseph Proud Award.
Ms. Warrick was a co-founder and First Teacher in the Watts (LA) Operation Bootstrap, where she taught communication skills. In New York City she taught at Julia Richman High School as part of President Carter's City in Schools program. She was a Dropout Prevention Consultant to President John F. Kennedy, and consulted for the U.S. Labor Department on the Job Training programs during the Kennedy, Johnson and Carter years. In 1991 Ms. Warrick received her certification as a licensed metaphysical teacher from Unity School of Practical Christianity in Lees Summit, MO.
Ms. Warrick is survived by her three children, Karen Langenwalter, Jon Rolf and Robert McNamara, her grandson, Erik Rolf, and six great grandchildren. Her wish was to be cremated and that her ashes to be interred at the Church of The Transfiguration, aka The Little Church around the Corner in New York City.
A service for family and close friends will be held this Saturday in Manhattan. A public memorial service celebrating the life and career of Ms. Warrick will be announced at a later date. In lieu of flowers, donations can be made to the following charities: Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, God's Love We Deliver, City Harvest and Gilda's Club NYC.