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Ruth Gordon
Garson Kanin and Ruth Gordon 1946.JPG
Gordon with Garson Kanin, 1946
Ruth Gordon Jones

(1896-10-30)October 30, 1896
Died August 28, 1985(1985-08-28) (aged 88)
Occupation Actress, writer
Years active 1915–1981 (retired)
  • Gregory Kelly
    (married 1921–1927, his death)
  • Garson Kanin
    (married 1942–1985, her death)
Children Jones Harris (born 1929)
Ruth Gordon at age four

Ruth Gordon Jones (October 30, 1896 – August 28, 1985) was an American film, stage, and television actress, as well as a screenwriter and playwright. Gordon began her career performing on Broadway at age nineteen. Known for her nasal voice and distinctive personality, she gained international recognition and critical acclaim for film roles that continued into her seventies and eighties. Her later work included performances in Rosemary's Baby (1968), Harold and Maude (1971), Every Which Way but Loose (1978) and Any Which Way You Can (1980).

In addition to her acting career, Gordon wrote numerous plays, film scripts, and books, most notably co-writing the screenplay for the 1949 film Adam's Rib. Gordon won an Oscar, an Emmy, and two Golden Globe Awards for her acting, as well as receiving three Academy Award nominations for her writing.


On August 28, 1985, Gordon died at her summer home in Edgartown, Massachusetts, following a stroke at age 88. Her husband for 43 years, Garson Kanin, was at her side and said that even her last day of life was typically full, with walks, talks, errands, and a morning of work on a new play. She had made her last public appearance two weeks before, at a benefit showing of the film Harold and Maude, and had recently finished acting in four films.


"She had a great gift for living the moment," said Glenn Close, who co-starred in Maxie, one of Gordon's last films, "... and it kept her ageless."

In August 1979, a small theater in Westboro, Massachusetts, and in November 1984, an outdoor amphitheater in Quincy, Massachusetts, were named in her honor.

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