Essentially a stage actress, Michigan-born Ruth Nelson appeared sporadically in films from her first movie appearance in Of Human Bondage (1934) to her last in Awakenings (1990). Few of Ms. Nelson's roles were large enough to afford attention from critics -- notable exceptions were the 1943 wartime drama North Star and the 1947 Tracy /Hepburn vehicle Sea of Grass -- and unfortunately she made few TV appearances, so it's hard to provide anyone unfamiliar with her work a frame of reference. She did, however, pop up frequently as a peripheral interview subject during the late-'70s heyday of director Robert Altman. Ms. Nelson had married another director, John Cromwell, in 1946, and both Mr. and Mrs. Cromwell acted together in Altman's 1978 film A Wedding. Fans who tried to grill Cromwell on his own film accomplishments (Anna and the King of Siam, Dead Reckoning, et al.) were obliged to filter their request through Ruth Nelson, who was able to "interpret" her husband's nods, shrugs and snorts of disapproval.