Barbara Ruick

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Barbara Ruick
Barbara Ruick in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis trailer.jpg
in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)
Born (1930-12-23)December 23, 1930
Pasadena, California, U.S.
Died March 3, 1974(1974-03-03) (aged 43)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Cause of death Cerebral hemorrhage
Occupation Actress, singer
Years active 1931-1974
Spouse(s) Frank Howren (1949-1949; annulled)
Robert Horton (1953-56; divorced)
John Williams (1956-1974; her death); 3 children
Children Joseph Williams (musician) (b. 1960)
Mark Towner Williams (b. 1958)
Jennifer Williams (b. 1956)
Parent(s) Melville Ruick and Lurene Tuttle[1]

Barbara Ruick (December 23, 1930 – March 3, 1974) was an American actress and singer.


Ruick was the daughter of actors Lurene Tuttle and Melville Ruick. She grew up acting out scenes with dolls, employing her mother as an audience. She attended Roosevelt High School, Burbank High School in Burbank, and North Hollywood High School. She did little acting in high school but joined a school band at the age of fourteen. She sang with the band at dances and benefits.


with Bob Fosse, Debbie Reynolds and Bobby Van in The Affairs of Dobie Gillis (1953)

She achieved success in radio prior to signing as a contract player with MGM studios.[2] She was heard in the original radio version of Dragnet. She also recorded several songs for MGM Records. In the 1950s, she starred as Kay in the first LP recording of the songs from George Gershwin and Ira Gershwin's 1926 Broadway musical, Oh, Kay!. This was a studio cast recording released by Columbia Records, and conducted by Lehman Engel. Despite what is sometimes claimed, it did not use the original orchestrations, but it was the most complete recording of the score made up to that time.

In seeking acting parts she was forced to travel to New York City where her relation to her mother was not as well known. She landed a job on Hollywood Screen Test, a talent show which aired on ABC Television from 1948-1953. Ruick appeared on the Kraft Television Theater, soap operas, and The College Bowl (1950), which was hosted by Chico Marx. She also performed for fifteen weeks on the Jerry Colonna Show. In 1955 she was a regular on The Johnny Carson Show. Ruick did episodes of The Millionaire (1957), Public Defender (1954), Brothers Brannigan (1960), The 20th Century Fox Hour (1956), and Climax Mystery Theater (1955).

Ruick played bit parts in her first four films, one of them being The Band Wagon (1953), and then graduated to supporting roles. Her best remembered roles are Carrie Pipperidge in the film version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Carousel (1956), where she delivers a touching[neutrality is disputed] rendition of "When I Marry Mr. Snow", and as Esmerelda, one of the wicked stepsisters, in the 1965 TV version of Rodgers and Hammerstein's Cinderella.

Notable work


Ruick married actor Robert Horton Jr., in Las Vegas, Nevada, on August 22, 1953. She had co-starred with Horton in the movie Apache War Smoke the year before. The couple separated just prior to their second wedding anniversary in 1955 and divorced in 1956, just after he accompanied her to the world premiere of the film Carousel, in which she appeared.[3] She was the wife of film composer John Williams from 1956 until her death. Following her marriage to Williams, Ruick appeared in few motion pictures. They had three children together.[citation needed]


Barbara Ruick Williams died March 3, 1974, aged 43, from a cerebral hemorrhage in Reno, Nevada while on location with her last film, Robert Altman's California Split, which is dedicated to her. She had a cameo role as a barmaid. Ruick was found dead in her hotel room at the age of 43. She was interred at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Glendale, California.


  1. Barbara Ruick genealogy site,; accessed November 7, 2015.
  2. Films & Filming, vol.24, 1977, p.32.


  • Charleston, West Virginia Daily Mail, Actress Found Dead In Hotel, Monday, March 4, 1974, Page 5B.
  • Los Angeles Times, Barbara Ruick Real Gone Among Bop Set, July 6, 1952, Page D3.
  • Los Angeles Times, Actress Wins Out Despite Head Start, August 16, 1953, Page D3.
  • Los Angeles Times, Actress Barbara Ruick Files Suit For Divorce, August 11, 1955, Page 4.

External links