Ruth Taylor

Active - 1918 - 1953  |   Born - Jan 13, 1908   |   Died - Apr 12, 1984   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama

Share on

Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

A vivacious blond Mack Sennett comedienne, Ruth Taylor nabbed the most sought-after role of 1928, that of Lorelei Lee in the screen version of Anita Loos' Gentlemen Prefer Blondes. According to Taylor, she was one of 200 hopefuls testing for the role. Taylor had been in the Follies prior to signing with Sennett in 1925 and remained proud of the fact that she was never even asked to appear in a bathing suit. She was not so proud when losing a leading role in What Price Glory to fellow Sennett alumna Phyllis Haver, however. "Another Sennett girl makes good," she wrote. "Wonder if I will." The answer came sooner than she may have anticipated when chosen to play opposite Alice White in Loos' popular satire. Many critics thought her letter-perfect as the quintessential dumbbell and there are those who prefer her performance to Marilyn Monroe's in the 1953 remake. Strangely, Gentlemen Prefer Blondes did not make Taylor a major contender for stardom, although she was voted a 1928 WAMPAS Baby Star, an honor she shared with Lina Basquette, June Collyer, and the Mexican spitfire herself, Lupe Velez. College Coquette (1929), a weak co-ed comedy ruined by poor sound recording, may have been the main reason that she basically turned her back on Hollywood and today she is mainly remembered as the mother of prolific actor/screenwriter Buck Henry. A different actress with the same name appeared in a few films in the late 1910s.