After training at the University of Michigan School of Drama, Ruth Hussey worked as a fashion commmentator on a local radio station, then moved to New York, becoming a Powers model. In the mid '30s she performed in several plays with touring companies, and shortly thereafter was signed to a film contract with MGM. She debuted onscreen in 1937, and for the remainder of the decade she appeared in minor films. In 1940 she was nominated for a Best Supporting Actress Oscar for her work in The Philadelphia Story, after which she became a leading lady; she was often cast as a graceful, sophisticated, intelligent woman. Her greatest success came on the stage, starring opposite Ralph Bellamy in the 1945 Broadway production State of the Union, after which she concentrated on the stage and made only sporadic film appearances, lastly in 1960. She is the mother of Oscar-winning filmmaker John William Longenecker.
- Used the name Ruth O'Rourke after her mother remarried; switched back to her birth name before making her first film.
- Edited Brown University's yearbook Brun Mael during her senior year of college.
- Worked as a fashion commentator and a model before becoming an actress.
- Was discovered by a talent scout during her tour in the play Dead End in 1937.
- Made her Broadway debut opposite Ralph Bellamy in State of the Union (1945).
- Last feature film was 1960's The Facts of Life.