Thelma Ritter

  • Celebrity
  • Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • Died: February 5, 1969
  • Profession: Actor
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Fast Facts

  • Called "a great character actress, the best we had" by playwright-screenwriter Paddy Chayefsky after her death. 
  • Knew she wanted to act from a young age. At age 8 she performed monologues at her grammar school; at 11 she appeared in a semi-professional production of A Midsummer Night's Dream; and in her teens she acted in high-school plays.
  • Worked in an office for a time in order to raise money to afford drama school.
  • Met her future husband Joe in the late 1920s when both were working for a theater troupe in New England. He eventually left acting and entered advertising.
  • Appeared primarily in stock theater for the first 14 years of her career, though she did grace Broadway in the short-lived The Shelf (1926) and In Times Square (1931). . 
  • Left showbiz for a time during the 1940s to concentrate on her family and raise her children.
  • Recruited for a small part in Miracle on 34th Street (1947) by director George Seaton, who was a family friend. It was her first film role, at the age of 42.
  • Her brief Miracle on 34th Street turn so impressed 20th Century Fox head Darryl F. Zanuck that he signed her to a contract. 
  • Shared the Tony Award for Best Actress in a Musical for New Girl in Town (1957) with costar Gwen Verdon; it was the first tie in Tony history.
  • Lived in Forest Hills, NY, all of her adult life.

Awards

  • 1956, Emmy — Best Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1950, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1959, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1958, Tony — Actress (Musical): Winner
  • 1952, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1966, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1952, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1953, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1962, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee
  • 1951, Golden Globe — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role in a Motion Picture: Nominee
  • 1951, Oscar — Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role: Nominee

Relationships

  • Anthony Moran — Son
  • Charles Ritter — Father
  • Lucy Hale Ritter — Mother
  • Monica Moran — Daughter
  • Joseph Moran — Husband

College

  • Attended American Academy of Dramatic Arts, New York, New York, United States

Details

  • Birth Place: Brooklyn, New York, United States
  • Died: February 5, 1969
  • Profession: Actor

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