Ruth Hussey, who was nominated for an Academy Award for her role as James Stewart’s wise-cracking girlfriend in 1940’s “The Philadelphia Story,” has died. She was 93.
Hussey died Tuesday at a convalescent home in Newbury Park in Ventura County of complications from an appendectomy, according to her son, John Longnecker.
From the late 1930s through 1960 Hussey made dozens of films and appeared with such leading men as Stewart, Spencer Tracy, Melvyn Douglas and Robert Taylor.
She also was a stage actress, appearing on Broadway in 1945 in the hit “State of the Union” and in 1949 in the comedy “Goodbye, My Fancy.”
Born Oct. 30, 1911, in Providence, R.I., Hussey graduated from Pembroke Women’s College at Brown University and the drama school at the University of Michigan.
She began her show-business career as a local radio fashion commentator. Later, she moved to New York and became a model for the Powers agency. She toured with stage companies and won an MGM contract when she was spotted by a talent agent during a road production in Los Angeles.
Her first movie role, in the 1937 Tracy film “Big City,” was uncredited. Three years later, she was Tracy’s leading lady in “Northwest Passage.”
She received an Oscar nomination for supporting actress for playing Elizabeth Imbrie, the sassy photographer who accompanies Stewart to cover a socialite’s wedding in “The Philadelphia Story.”
She lost to Jane Darwell, who was Ma Joad in “The Grapes of Wrath.”
Her last feature film role was in 1960 in “The Facts of Life,” playing Bob Hope’s wife.
Hussey also had a long career in television, including guest appearances in “The Magnificent Ambersons” and “Time Out for Ginger.”
She also played the love interest of Robert Young in the 1973 television movie “My Darling Daughters’ Anniversary.”