Ruth Ford (actress)

Ruth Ford (July 7, 1911, Brookhaven, Mississippi[1] – August 12, 2009, New York City) was an American model and actress. Her brother was the bohemian surrealist Charles Henri Ford. Their parents owned or managed hotels in the American South, and the family regularly moved.

Ruth Ford
Pierre Balmain and Ruth Ford, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, 1947
Born(1911-07-07)July 7, 1911
DiedAugust 12, 2009(2009-08-12) (aged 98)
OccupationModel, actress
Years active1938–85
Spouse(s)Peter van Eyck
(m. 1940; div. 19??)
Zachary Scott
(m. 1952; died 1965)

Life and career

Ford was a graduate of the University of Mississippi.[2]

As a model, she posed for Harper's, Town and Country and Mademoiselle.

She married actor Peter Van Eyck in 1940, but the marriage was unsuccessful. Van Eyck was the father of her daughter, Shelley, who was born in 1941. Before Ford's trip to Hollywood, she was a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, and appeared in his film Too Much Johnson (1938), which was considered lost until the rediscovery of footage in 2013.[3] Welles' assistance helped her to land contracts with Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. studios.

She starred in the 1976 Broadway play Poor Murderer.

Ford married film star Zachary Scott, and they remained together until Scott's death in 1965. Scott adopted Shelley, who took the name Shelley Scott. Zachary Scott reportedly died penniless except for a $100,000 insurance policy he left for his widow. Later, in the 1970s, she was involved in a relationship with a much younger man, the writer Dotson Rader.[4]


In May 2010 it was reported, originally in The Wall Street Journal, that Ford's estate had been worth $8.4 million, almost all of it in the value of two apartments she owned in the famous apartment building The Dakota in Manhattan, where she died at the age of 98 in 2009. One of the apartments had belonged to her brother Charles, who predeceased her. She bequeathed the apartments to her cook/butler, Indra Tamang, a Nepalese-American whom Charles Henri Ford had brought to New York. Ford's daughter and grandchildren reportedly were disinherited.[5]

Partial filmography


  1. Hevesi, Dennis (2009-08-14). "Ruth Ford, Film and Stage Actress, Dies at 98". The New York Times. Retrieved 2009-08-14.
  2. "Eudora Welty to open Faulkner conference". The Clarksdale Press Register. Mississippi, Clarksdale. July 28, 1987. p. 3. Retrieved 13 July 2019 via
  3. Kehr, Dave (2013-08-07), "Early Film by Orson Welles Is Rediscovered", New York Times
  4. "Ruth Ford & Dotson Rader: A December Mistress-Muse to May". Retrieved Mar 24, 2019.
  5. "Upper West Side Butler Inherits Two Apartments in the Dakota". DNAinfo New York. Archived from the original on Jul 23, 2011. Retrieved Mar 24, 2019.
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