Film legend and original All My Children cast member Ruth Warrick (Phoebe Wallingford) passed away on Saturday, January 15th at 12:15AM in her Manhattan home. Official reports list the cause of Ms. Warrick's death as complications from pneumonia. She was 88.
Born June 29th, 1916 in St. Joseph, Missouri, Ms. Warrick moved to Kansas City while she was in high school and later attended the University of Kansas City. A promotional tour brought her to New York; her interest in acting brought her to the Mercury Theater, headed by Orson Welles, with whom she ultimately headed for Hollywood.
Ms. Warrick's launched her illustrious film career with her debut as Emily Kane in Welles' 1941 classic, "Citizen Kane." To mark the 50th anniversary of the film, recently named one of the top ten films of all time, Warrick was honored with a caricature on the wall of famed New York Restaurant, Sardi's. "Citizen Kane" was Warrick's entry into Hollywood and it was followed by almost two dozen other movies over the next decade, including "The Great Bank Robbery," "Song of the South," and "Driftwood."
In 1953, Ms. Warrick found a successful career in a new form of entertainment: television. From 1953 to 1954, Ms. Warrick appeared on the Procter & Gamble-produced soap opera "The Guiding Light
" in the role of Nurse Janet Johnson. A few years later, in 1956, Ms. Warrick helped launch another P&G soap, As the World Turns
, and enjoyed a four-year run as Edith Hughes
. For her work on the 1960s television series Peyton Place, Ms. Warrick earned an Emmy nomination. In 1970, Ms. Warrick created the role of the inimitable Phoebe English Tyler on ABC's new soap opera, All My Children. Once involved in a loveless marriage to Dr. Charles Tyler and drinking heavily, Phoebe eventually found her love match in Langley Wallingford, a former carnie worker masquerading as a scholar. In more recent years, Phoebe was often seen offering (sometimes unwanted) relationship advice to her niece, Brooke English.
Long active in arts-in-education programs, including programs for the disadvantaged in the Watts area of Los Angeles, Ruth received the first national Arts in Education Award in 1983 from the Board of Directors of Business and Industry for Arts in Education, Inc. She was cited for leadership in helping to make the arts more central to the schooling process. The award was then named the Ruth Warrick Award for Arts in Education and is now given annually.
In May 2004, Ms. Warrick received the Lifetime Achievement Emmy Award from the National Academy of Television Arts & Sciences for her long career on the Emmy award-winning daytime drama, All My Children. She made what would ultimately be her final All My Children appearance on January 5, 2005, an episode that marked the show's 35th anniversary.
Ms. Warrick is survived by three children, a grandson and six great-grandchildren. A private memorial service for family and close friends will be held in New York City on January 22nd, with a public memorial service to be announced. Donations can be made in lieu of flowers to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS
, City Harvest
or Gilda's Club