January 19, 2005 by

Ruth Warrick


Categories: Actors, Education, Hollywood, Writers/Editors

rwarrick.jpgRuth Warrick, the veteran actress known for playing Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on the ABC soap opera “All My Children,” died on Jan. 15 of complications from pneumonia. She was 88.
Born in St. Joseph, Mo., Warrick studied drama at the University of Kansas City. She traveled to New York in 1937 after winning a local beauty contest. As Kansas City’s paid ambassador, Warrick presented a live turkey to Mayor Fiorello La Guardia on the steps of City Hall. Once in the Big Apple, however, Warrick decided to stay and pursue a career in acting. She worked a few modeling jobs, then joined the Mercury Theater of the Air, a radio acting company headed by actor/director Orson Welles.
In 1941, Welles brought Warrick to the west coast to appear in his film, “Citizen Kane.” Welles handpicked her for the role of Emily, the wife of newspaper magnate Charles Foster Kane, because no “ladies in Hollywood” were as suitable for the part. To celebrate the 50th anniversary of the film’s opening, the famous New York restaurant Sardi’s posted a caricature of Warrick on its wall of fame.
Although it wasn’t a financial success, “Citizen Kane” opened numerous doors for Warrick. She appeared in 30 other movies, including “The Corsican Brothers,” “Song of the South” and “Journey Into Fear,” and on Broadway with Jackie Gleason in “Take Me Along” and Debbie Reynolds in “Irene.” But it was television that turned Warrick into a star.
She acted in two soap operas — “The Guiding Light” (1953-54) and “As the World Turns” (1956-60) — then played the starring role of Ellie Banks in the 1960s TV series “Father of the Bride.” Warrick received an Emmy nomination for her portrayal of Hannah Cord on the long-running primetime soap “Peyton Place,” and later reprised the role in the 1985 made-for-TV movie “Peyton Place: The Next Generation.”
When the soap opera “All My Children” debuted in 1970, Warrick originated the role of Phoebe Tyler Wallingford. She was so convincing as the meddlesome, grande dame of Pine Valley that fans often had trouble separating the actress from the character. The role earned Warrick two Daytime Emmy Award nominations. She made her final appearance on “All My Children” two weeks ago to commemorate the show’s 35th anniversary.
The author of the 1980 autobiography, “The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler,” Warrick also taught at Julia Richman High School in New York and worked with several charities. She received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences in 2004. Her star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame is located at 6689 Hollywood Blvd.

3 Responses to Ruth Warrick

  1. Deborah

    I remember watching All My Children on the sly after school then scheduling my college classes around. After 35 yrs, Ruth Warrick was definitly the most memorable. And who can forget her debut in Citizen Kane!?!

  2. tim boyd

    Ruth/Phoebe, WE LOVE YOU. GOD BLESS. You will never ever be forgotten! You made AMC the show to watch in the 70’s. I remember all of us running home for lunch from school to see just what you would do next.
    You will always and forever be a part of PineValley.
    Thanks for all the wounderful times and great memories.
    Love, a true fan
    Tim Boyd

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