Actress, Brookhaven native Ruth Ford dies at 98
SHERRY LUCAS • AUGUST 14, 2009
Mississippi native and actress Ruth Ford, for whom William Faulkner wrote Requiem for a Nun, died Wednesday in New York City at her home in the Dakota. She was 98.
Ford was a successful fashion model in the 1930s. Her theater and film career stretched from the 1930s through the 1960s. She was the sister of poet, artist and editor Charles Henri Ford, who died in 2002 at age 94. He co-wrote The Young and Evil, considered by many the first gay novel.
"As a brother and sister team, they were quite spectacular," said Allen Frame, a family friend.
Born in Brookhaven, Ruth Ford lived in various towns in Arkansas, Tennessee, Texas and Mississippi as a child (her father worked in the hotel business), attended school in Vicksburg and later at the University of Mississippi.
Erik LaPrade, who worked closely with her brother, provided career details. Ruth Ford moved to New York in the 1930s and her first hit, Shoemaker's Holiday, was performed on Orson Welles' theater group in 1939.
She married Peter Van Eyck in 1940, with whom she had a daughter, Shelley. She moved to Hollywood and made more than 26 films, including appearances in John Huston's Across the Pacific and Gregory Peck's first feature The Keys of the Kingdom.
She returned to New York in 1946 and enjoyed critical success in Jean-Paul Sartre's No Exit, directed by Huston.
She married actor Zachary Scott in 1950.
Ford met Faulkner in Oxford and later befriended him in Hollywood. She collaborated with him on the stage adaptation of Requiem for a Nun. It opened at the John Golden Theatre in 1959.
Born: 7/7/1911, Brookhaven, Mississippi, U.S.A.
Died: 8/12/2009, New York City, New York, U.S.A.
Ruth Ford's westerns - actress:
Roaring Frontiers - 1941 (Reba Bailey)
The Devil's Trail - 1942 (Ella)