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Rosalind Russell

Real name: Rosalind Russell
Birthdate: June 4, 1907
Status: Married
Partner: Frederick Brisson

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Biography

Rosalind Russell (June 4, 1907 – November 28, 1976) was a four-time Academy Award nominated and Tony Award winning American film and stage actress, perhaps best known for her role as a fast-talking newspaper reporter in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy His Girl Friday.

She is the actress (tied with Meryl Streep) with the most Golden Globe Awards (for films) wins, with five. It is notable that she won every Golden Globe for which she was nominated.

Rosalind Russell was one of seven siblings born in Waterbury, Connecticut to Clara and James Edward Russell, an Irish-American Catholic family. She was not named after the character from Shakespeare's As You Like It, but rather after the ship on which her parents had travelled. She attended Catholic schools before attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City.

She proved her quick-witted talent for comedy in the classic screwball comedy His Girl Friday (1940), directed by Howard Hawks. She played a quick-witted ace reporter who was also the ex-wife of her former newspaper editor (played by Cary Grant).

Russell scored a big hit on Broadway with her Tony Award-winning performance in Wonderful Town in 1953. The play was a musical version of her successful film of a decade earlier, My Sister Eileen. Russell reprised her starring role in the musical version in 1958 in a television special.

Probably her most memorable performance was in the title role of the long-running stage hit Auntie Mame (1956) and the subsequent movie version (1958), in which she played an eccentric aunt whose orphan nephew comes to live with her. When asked which role she was most closely identified with, she replied that strangers who spotted her still called out, "Hey, Auntie Mame!"

Russell was the logical choice for reprising her role as "Auntie Mame" when its Broadway musical adaptation Mame was set for production in 1966. She claimed to have turned it down since she preferred to move on to different roles. In reality, she did not want to burden the public with her growing health problems, which included rheumatoid arthritis.

She married Danish-American producer Frederick Brisson on October 25, 1941. Fred was often referred to in Hollywood as "The Lizard of Roz" due to his habit of getting choice Broadway play roles for the movie to be played by his wife Roz. They had one child in 1943, a son named Lance. Her father-in-law was the successful Danish actor Carl Brisson.

Russell died after a long battle with breast cancer in 1976 at the age of 69, although initially her age was misreported because she had shaved a few years off her true age. She was survived by her husband and son. She is buried in Holy Cross Catholic Cemetery in Culver City, California.



 


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