Roy Del Ruth
Photos with Roy Del Ruth
Roy Del Ruth was born on Oct. 18, 1895 in Philadelphia, PA, Del Ruth began his Hollywood career during the silent era as a writer for Mack Sennett in 1915.He began directing in 1919 for Sennett with his first short film Hungry Lions. In the early 1920s, he moved over to features with such early efforts as "Asleep at the Switch" (1923), "The Hollywood Kid" (1924), "Eve's Lover" (1925) and "The Little Irish Girl" (1926). Read more... of the first automobile to a small rural town. The film featured several elaborate sound effects for the time and was considered lost until it was restored years later. Del Ruth went on to direct a number of films before having the distinction of directing the musical "The Desert Song" (1929), the first color film ever released by Warner Bros. That same year, Del Ruth directed "Gold Diggers of Broadway" (1929), Warner's second two-strip Technicolor, all-talking feature that also became a big box office hit for the director. Having successfully segued into the talkie era, Del Ruth directed two more two-strip color musicals, "Hold Everything" (1930) and "The Life of the Party" (1930), before directing James Cagney and Joan Blondell in the cheerfully amoral gangster film, "Blonde Crazy" (1931). That same year, he directed the first of three adaptation of Dashiell Hammett's famed novel, "The Maltese Falcon" (1931),. Here, Ricardo Cortez portrayed the roguish private eye whose investigation of a murder case entwines him in a plot involving a number of unsavory types searching for a fabled, jewel-encrusted falcon. While the plot basically mirrors the 1941 remake, this pre-Code version featured several instances of sexual innuendo, including Bebe Daniels bathing in the nude, overt references to homosexuality and even one instance of cursing. Meanwhile, Del Ruth reunited with James Cagney for the crime drama "Taxi!" (1932) and very well directed the showbiz comedy "Blessed Event" (1932). Del Ruth went on to helm a number of above average pictures like "The Little Giant" (1933) starring Edward G. Robinson, "Lady Killer" (1933) with James Cagney, "Bureau of Missing Persons" (1933) featuring Bette Davis, "Upper World" (1934) with Ginger Rogers, and the musical comedy "Kid Millions" (1934) starring Eddie Cantor. He next directed Ronald Colman in his second and final appearance as Bulldog Drummond in the detective mystery "Bulldog Drummond Strikes Back" (1934), and helmed the backstage showbiz musical "Broadway Melody 1936" (1935), starring Jack Benny and Eleanor Powell. After returning to the realm of crime for "It Had to Happen" (1936) with George Raft and Rosalind Russell, Del Ruth directed James Stewart in one of the actor's few musicals, "Born to Dance" (1936). He followed up with the "Broadway Melody of 1938" (1937), before guiding ice skating star Sonja Henie through "My Lucky Star" (1938) and "Happy Landing" (1938). Del Ruth continued churning out product for the studios, helming competent films like "The Star Maker" (1939), "Here I Am Stranger" (1939), "He Married His Wife" (1940) and "Topper Returns" (1941). After working solo on "The Chocolate Soldier" (1941), "Masie Gets Her Man" (1942), "Du Barry Was a Lady" (1944) and "Broadway Rhythm" (1944). It may be interesting to note that Del Ruth was the second highest paid director in Hollywood from the period 1932 to to 1941, according to Box Office and Exhibitor magazine...Del Ruth was one of seven directors on the successful "Ziegfeld Follies" (1946), which featured an all-star cast of Fred Astaire, Lucille Ball, Fanny Brice, Judy Garland, Gene Kelly, Lena Horne, Red Skelton and William Powell. From there, he helmed the cheerfully ambitious Christmas-themed ), Del Ruth undoubtedly made significant contributions during the studio era that certainly bore re-examination comedy "It Happened on Fifth Avenue" (1947), an appealing entertainment that was compared to "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946), but it did not have that film's generational resonance. the musical comedy starring Don DeFore and Ann Harding was still a touching film that managed to delight. Del Ruth next directed "The Babe Ruth Story" (1948), Babe Ruth (William Bendix). Bending historical truths lest he offend Ruth's legacy, Del Ruth's biopic was rushed through production amidst news of the ailing Ruth's declining health. Even Del Ruth remained unsatisfied with the results. He directed George Raft again in the noir crime drama "Red Light" (1949), Milton Berle and Virginia Mayo in the comedy "Always Leave Them Laughing" (1949), and James Cagney in the vibrant "The West Point Story" (1950). Following a pair of Doris Day musicals, "Starlift" (1951) and "On Moonlight Bay" (1951), About this time Del Ruth's career began to slow to basically one project a year "Stop, You're Killing Me" (1952) and the James Cagney military musical "About Face" (1953). He went on to direct Jane Powell and Gordon MacRae in "Three Sailors and a Girl" (1953), He then took a short excursion into the new 3D process with the horror film starring Karl Malden: "Phantom of the Rue Morgue" (1954). Away from the director's chair for the next five years, Del Ruth returned to helm the horror picture "The Alligator People" (1959), a bizarre tale about humans being partially transformed into alligators in the deep south. After his last film "Why Must I Die?" (1960), Del Ruth called it a career. He died a year later on April 27, 1961 at 67 years old from a heart attack.