Thelma Ritter

Thelma Ritter

Highest Rated: 99% All About Eve (1950)

Lowest Rated: 14% A New Kind of Love (1963)

Birthday: Feb 14, 1905

Birthplace: Brooklyn, New York, USA

Character actress who after many unrewarded years on the stage enjoyed almost immediate, and enduring, success following her film debut in the late 1940s. Usually in the role of the sardonic chorus figure, strewing films with witty asides and cynical observations, Ritter enlivened a host of excellent productions and earned her place as one of the best character players the screen has ever known. Ritter earned six Academy Award nominations as best supporting actress: "All About Even" (1950), "The Mating Season" (1951), "With a Song in My Heart" (1952), "Pickup on South Street" (1953), "Pillow Talk" (1959), and "The Birdman of Alcatraz" (1962). Ritter's first screen role was in "Miracle on 34th Street" (1947) playing the mother sent from Macy's to Gimbel's by Kris Kringle. In "All About Eve" (1950), she was Birdie, the ex-vaudevillian ("I closed the first half for 11 years and you know it!"), who now is Margo Channing's maid and companion and who utters the immortal line, "What a story. Everything but the bloodhounds yapping at her rear end." That hard edge came to use in "Titanic" (1953), when she was the Unsinkable Molly Brown, playing cards as the ship begins to sink. In "Rear Window" (1954), she was Jimmy Stewart's housekeeper, in "Pillow Talk" (1959), her witticisms stole scenes from Doris Day, and in "A Hole in the Head" (1959), she was Frank Sinatra's understanding sister-in-law. In "How the West Was Won" (1962), Ritter was a spinster traveling to the west with Debbie Reynolds, and in "A New Kind of Love" (1963), a fashion designer alongside Joanne Woodward -- a job one might never imagine Ritter doing in real life. In film after film, her presence was the highlight of the picture, and although she was more than 40 before she stepped before a camera, Ritter eventually worked with virtually every major director of her period (Hitchcock, Mankiewicz, etc.) and every major star (Edward G. Robinson, Barbara Stanwyck, Bette Davis, Marilyn Monroe, Clark Gable, Montgomery Clift, etc.) stealing scenes from most of them. Ritter began working in TV regularly about the mid-50s. One of her earliest roles was in the 1955 "Goodyear TV Playhouse: A Catered Affair," written by Paddy Chayefsky. In a role that was eventually played by Bette Davis on the big screen, Ritter was a mother who can't keep her daughter's wedding small. She appeared on other anthology programs and made occasional appearances on Jack Paar's late-night talk show.

Highest rated movies

All About Eve Rear Window The Misfits Miracle on 34th Street
Pillow Talk
Pickup on South Street
Birdman of Alcatraz
Titanic

Photos

Filmography

Movies

Credit
88% 89% The Incident Bertha Beckerman (Character) - 1967
No Score Yet 71% Boeing, Boeing Bertha (Character) - 1965
No Score Yet No Score Yet For Love or Money Chloe Brasher (Character) - 1963
14% 51% A New Kind of Love Leena (Character) - 1963
No Score Yet 77% Move Over, Darling Grace Arden (Character) - 1963
86% 74% How the West Was Won Agatha Clegg (Character) - 1962
91% 84% Birdman of Alcatraz Elizabeth Stroud (Character) - 1962
97% 78% The Misfits Isabelle Steers, Roslyn's Landlady (Character) - 1961
No Score Yet 83% The Second Time Around Aggie Gates (Character) - 1961
75% 49% A Hole in the Head Sophie Manetta (Character) - 1959
93% 87% Pillow Talk Alma (Character) - 1959
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Proud and Profane Kate Connors (Character) - 1956
No Score Yet 65% Daddy Long Legs Miss Pritchard (Character) - 1955
No Score Yet No Score Yet Lucy Gallant Molly Basserman (Character) - 1955
No Score Yet No Score Yet Death Paints a Legacy Unknown (Character) - 1955
98% 95% Rear Window Stella (Character) $1.6M 1954
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Farmer Takes a Wife Lucy Cashdollar (Character) - 1953
91% 66% Titanic Maude Young (Character) - 1953
92% 89% Pickup on South Street 'Moe' Williams (Character) - 1953
No Score Yet 100% The Model and the Marriage Broker Mae Swasey (Character) - 1952
67% 62% With a Song in My Heart Clancy (Character) - 1952
No Score Yet 48% As Young as You Feel Della Hodges (Character) - 1951
No Score Yet No Score Yet The Mating Season Ellen McNulty (Character) - 1951
No Score Yet No Score Yet I'll Get By Miss Murphy (Character) - 1950
99% 94% All About Eve Birdie (Character) $10.2K 1950
No Score Yet 25% Perfect Strangers Lena Fassler (Character) - 1950
No Score Yet No Score Yet City Across the River Mrs. Katie Cusack (Character) - 1949
96% 87% Miracle on 34th Street Peter's Mom (uncredited) (Character) - 1947

TV

Credit
No Score Yet No Score Yet Wagon Train Unknown (Guest Star) 1962
No Score Yet No Score Yet Startime Unknown (Character) 1960
No Score Yet No Score Yet Alfred Hitchcock Presents Unknown (Character) 1956

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