Ruta Lee "IS" Hollywood. From Classic to
Contemporary. Currently, Ms. Lee is shopping her memoirs, entitled “Consider
Your Ass Kissed,” to publishers. So many wonderful stories, anecdotes and
first hand and authentic memories of the entertainment industry. From one
of the brides on "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" to 'Funny Face”
with remarkable leading men including Clint Eastwood, Frank Sinatra, Charles
Bronson, James Garner, Fred Astaire, Robin Williams, Howard Keel, Bob Crane,
etc. and working with equally impressive list of ladies including Rona Barrett,
Phyllis Diller, Julie Newmar, Lucille Ball, Sally Fields, Gypsy Rose Lee (no
relation) and her best friend and co-founder of Thalians, Debbie Reynolds. Ruta
has garnered multiple generations of fans, having starred and guest starred in
just about every TV series over the years such as Perry Mason, George Burns
& Gracie Allen Show, Andy Griffith Show, Dragnet, Peter Gun, Bonanza,
Gunsmoke, Rawhide, Marcus Welby MD, Twilight Zone, Ironside, The Flying Nun,
Hogan's Heroes, Mork & Mindy, Benson, The Love Boat, Roseanne, Days of Our
Lives and, of course, 77 Sunset Strip and The Lucy Show, etc etc etc. She could
be the spokeswoman for MeTV, appearing daily on one program or another.
Certainly one of Hollywood's most glamorous ladies, Ruta
Lee is also one of its most multifaceted and top-notched civic contributors.
Born in Montreal, Lee is the daughter of a Lithuanian tailor. While at
Hollywood High, Lee's career in show business began at the famed Grauman's
Chinese Theatre… as an usherette, then candy girl. She was quickly promoted to
box office cashier and just as quickly fired. Her dancing was better than her
math. She vowed to return to that famous courtyard (years later, talent and
serendipity placed her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, directly in front of
that box office from which she was fired). Soon after, she was signed by MGM as the youngest of the
Seven Brides for Seven Brothers and subsequently in Funny Face with Fred
Astaire and Audrey Hepburn, as Tyrone Power's secret love in Witness for the
Prosecution, and Frank Sinatra's leading lady in Sergeant's Three, to name but
a few of the many films in her credits. Simultaneously, Lee launched into
television, with over 2000 appearances on shows from Perry Mason to Power
Rangers, Twilight Zone to Murder She Wrote, Hogan's Heroes to Love Boat, and Roseanne.
Lee was also co-host on NBC's High Rollers with Alex Trebek, a regular on
Hollywood Squares with Peter Marshall and made several television movies. She
had series leads in CBS' Coming of Age and HBO's 1st and Ten. Her stints on the
Bonnie Hunt Show remain among her favorites.
As a young starlet, Ruta made international headlines
when she convinced Khrushchev to release her 90 year old grandmother from the
Soviet Union. She brought her to the U.S. where she lived her remaining years
in the sunshine of freedom. She is grateful to all for the prayers that helped
in that effort. Lee has headlined around the country in many musicals
as Dolly, Annie, Molly, Peter Pan, Mame, Irene, Nelly, Irma, Rose, The
Woman of the Year, and Madame in the Best Little Whorehouse
in Texas, these are just a few of her leading lady roles.
Critics have raved about all of her stage roles, but two
stand out as favorites, The Unsinkable Molly Brown and Goodbye
Charlie. Lee's performance in the former was described by composer Meredith
Willson as "the greatest Molly of them all and had Ruta Lee created the
role on Broadway, the original production would still be running."
More recently she took a star turn in the critically
acclaimed Steel Magnolias at Garry Marshall's Falcon Theater as well
as Fort Worth's Casa Manana and Funny Business at the L.A.'s Coronet.
She headlined 4 seasons to the hit musical revue, Senior Class at the
Annenberg Theater, Palm Springs.
Lee is highly acclaimed for her leadership role
in The Thalians, a charitable organization which is committed to good
mental health from pediatric to geriatric. She has been either chairman or
president for over 45 years… roles exchanged between herself and Debbie
Reynolds. The Thalians honored Ruta Lee for her dedication to mental
health, where she joined the ranks of previous honorees, Gene Kelly, Frank
Sinatra, Sammy Davis, Mary Tyler Moore, Whoopi Goldberg, Angela Lansbury
and and Clint Eastwood, to name just a few.
She has served as Commissioner on the Los Angeles Board
of Environmental Quality and as a member of the Economic Development Board,
acted as a national spokesperson for the American Cancer Society, was
honored Woman of the Year by B'nai B'rith, received the Humanitarian Award
from the Beverly Hills Business Women's Association as well as top
honors from the City of Hope. Ruta is very proud to be the recipient of
the prestigious Yellow Rose of Texas from President George W.
Bush. Recently, she received Lithuania's highest honors from President
Valdas Adamkus at a magnificent ceremony in the Vilnius Presidential
Palace. Ruta is also the proud recipient of a star on the Hollywood Walk
of Fame, which added to her stars on the Palm Springs Walk of
Stars and the Celebrity Walk at the Thalians Mental Health
Center, Cedars-Sinai, makes it a Triple Crown for a super gal. More
recently, Ruta was honored as a "Woman of Achievement" by Northwood
University, joining a roster of some of the most prestigious women in America.
Lee and husband Webb Lowe have homes in Hollywood, Palm
Springs, Fort Worth, and Las Hadas, Mexico… She says, "We sleep
around!" Ruta considers the Metroplex her neighborhood, having played Casa
Manana and other venues for over 35 years. She loves Texas & Texans. She
also loves all animals and is the proud mother of 4 dogs, 2 cats and a big
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