Ruth was born in David City, Nebraska...
and it was actually her costume-designing talents that got her started in theatre.
From there, it was a jump to the chorus line.
Above is from her Broadway debut with
The Ziegfeld Follies of 1927.
She once admitted she was no actress,
"but I can sell a song."
After several song hits, like "Shine on Harvest Moon,"
and "Ten Cents a Dance,"
Ruth headed to Hollywood where she starred
in a number of shorts...the above shot is from
Hips Hips Hooray, with Bert Wheeler and Robert Woolsey.
From Roman Scandals (1933),
in which Ruth appeared with Eddie Cantor...
she had only 1 song and 2 lines in the movie,
but her name on the marquee brought in the bucks!
Ruth with her infamous first husband,
Martin "Moe, the Gimp" Snyder.
After their divorce in 1937 and Ruth's move to California,
Moe followed and shot Ruth's new beau (and accompanist)
That sounded like the plot of a great movie,
so, of course, THEY MADE IT!
Love Me or Leave Me (1955),
with James Cagney as Moe, Doris Day as Ruth,
and Cameron Mitchell as Myrl.
(Ruth later said she would have preferred Jane Powell to play her!)
Ruth went on to marry Myrl, Moe went to jail,
and here's a pic of Myrl and Ruth prepping
for the radio show she did for CBS in the 1930s.
America's Sweetheart of Song,
with over 60 hit recordings,
passed away in 1978.
The notoriety of the shooting and subsequent trials
effectively finished her performing career.
(Today it would probably help!)