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George Grantham Bain Collection (Library of Congress)

Ruth Gordon (1896–1985)

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Ruth Gordon was an actress and half of one of the most acclaimed screenwriting duos in Hollywood.  She went to New York to pursue an acting career and made her first film in 1915.  She made her Broadway debut the following year in "Peter Pan."  She then spent the next 20 years working on stage, including appearing at London's Old Vic in 1936. In 1940 she portrayed Mary Todd in "Abe Lincoln in Illinois."  In 1942, she married Garson Kanin and began writing plays.  The couple collaborated on screenplays, including some especially written for Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy.  Gordon returned to film acting during the 1960s and became a star, with memorable roles in Rosemary's Baby (1968), for which she won an Oscar, and Harold and Maude (1971). She also wrote her memoirs and several other books.
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