Rosalind Russell (Who’s Who at MGM, 1937) 🇺🇸

January 09, 2022

Rosalind Russell used a woman’s prerogative and changed her mind several times before deciding on acting as a career. After going through phases of wanting to be a writer and theologian, she finally decided upon the stage.

She was born to James E. and Clara Knight Russell on June 4. She attended primary school near the family home in Waterbury, Connecticut. Later she went to Marymount, a private school at Tarrytown-on-Hudson, where she was an eager student of literature, journalism and drama, as well as a participant in such sports as riding, swimming, basketball and hockey.

Traveled Extensively

Her father, a prosperous lawyer, frequently sent her on extensive trips through Europe, South America, Cuba and all over the United States. Tiring of travel, Rosalind convinced a stock company manager that she had dramatic possibilities and got a small role. She went from one stock company to another, gradually learning technique and eventually worked her way to important parts.

After a thorough schooling in stock, she finally appeared on Broadway in Talent’’ and “The Second Man,” and was brought to the attention of screen talent scouts. After a screen test which resulted in a contract, she was introduced to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer executives in “No More Ladies,” a play produced by the M-G-M dramatic coach at the Hollywood Music Box Theatre.

Resents All Gossip

She was immediately assigned to “Evelyn Prentice.” Then came “The Night is Young,” “The President Vanishes,” “Forsaking All Others,” Reckless, China Seas, “Rendezvous,” “It Had to Happen,” “Under Two Flags,” “Trouble for Two,” Night Must Fall and “Live, Love and Learn.”

She especially likes candid people and her pet aversion is gossip. She reads biographies and historical novels for relaxation and because she believes they help her screen portrayals. She is considered an excellent screen type by cameramen and fashion designers. She is tall, slender, a brunette, with black eyes.

“Night Must Fall” marked a turning point in Miss Russell’s career as an actress, much as it did for Robert Montgomery’s. She abandoned the usual fashionable gowns, glamorous appearance and beautiful coiffures, to play a very plain English girl, dowdy in dress, repressed in manner, and wearing unromantic horn rimmed glasses, who blossomed into emotional womanhood under the urge of her infatuation for the murderer in the story.

Difficult Role Praised

The transition was one of the most difficult acting assignments ever given an actress. Miss Russell’s performance was hailed by preview critics. Psychiatrists, seeing the picture, commented on the absolute authenticity of the character from a scientific standpoint. She herself praised the character as one of the most interesting, from the viewpoint of an actress, that she had ever read.

On the set Miss Russell relaxes between scenes by chatting with visitors, playing games with her maid, or reading the newspapers. She keeps actively in touch with all current events. Directors describe her as one of the least temperamental of Hollywood’s actresses, and praise the efficiency that marks her work on the sound stages.

One of her pet hobbies is interior decoration. She designs all decorations in rooms in her home, and studies the subject deeply.

Source: Who’s Who at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer, 1937