Rosalind Russell

Rosalind Russell

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Rosalind Russell
Film: East side of the 1700 block of Vine Street
Actress | Musician | Screenwriter | Writer
Born June 4, 1907 in Waterbury, Conn.
Died Nov. 28, 1976 of cancer in Beverly Hills, Calif.

Rosalind Russell portrayed sophisticated career women in films for three decades, and then made her biggest hit as the uninhibited "Auntie Mame."

Russell had hoped to win an Oscar in 1946 for "Sister Kenny," but she did not. Nor did she win in 1947 for "Mourning Becomes Electra," despite all the predictions.

She also was nominated for an Academy Award in 1942 for "My Sister Eileen" and for "Auntie Mame" in 1958.

Having played any number of career girls during 40 years as a star on Broadway and in Hollywood, she often was asked about her views on women's liberation.

"I'm not really a women's libber," she once told an interviewer. "Two points I believe in: equal opportunity for women and equal pay for doing the same job. Otherwise, I see nothing wrong with the way a woman fills out a bathing suit."

Her career woman roles included performances in such standards as "Live and Learn," "Man Proof," "Fast and Loose," "This Thing Called Love" and "His Girl Friday." But ultimately she was able to break out of the mold, going on to more varied roles in "My Sister Eileen," "Picnic" and "Auntie Mame."

Although she received her greatest popular acclaim from her Broadway and Hollywood portrayals of the irrepressible Mame, her own favorite film was "Sister Kenny."

While attending Marymount College in New York, she became interested in acting, and after graduation enrolled at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York.

She made her motion picture debut with William Powell and Myrna Loy in "Evelyn Prentice."

In 1951 Russell returned to live stage, starring in John Van Druten's comedy "Bell, Book and Candle." After that came "Wonderful Town," her musical comedy debut directed by George Abbott. The show was a smash hit during the 1953-54 season.

Russell also was an accomplished pianist and an avid writer. She published articles in numerous magazines and authored a number of screenplays.

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Points of interest

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    Academy Awards

    Year Category Work
    1942 Best Actress My Sister Eileen Nomination
    1946 Best Actress Sister Kenny Nomination
    1947 Best Actress Mourning Becomes Electra Nomination
    1958 Best Actress Auntie Mame Nomination
    1972 Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award Win

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