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Ruth Taylor (actress)

Ruth Taylor (January 13, 1905 – April 12, 1984) was an American actress in silent films and early talkies. Her son is the writer/comic/actor Buck Henry.

Early years

Born Ruth Alice Taylor to Norman and Ivah (Bates) Taylor in Grand Rapids, Michigan. She was two years old when her parents moved to Portland, Oregon, where she graduated from high school.

Film career

After participating in amateur dramatics as a youth, Taylor persuaded her mother to bring her to Hollywood where the teenager spent a year working as an extra. She was discovered by Mack Sennett in February 1925 when he was looking for a blonde to play in a Harry Langdon comedy. She was chosen from around two hundred girls who responded to Sennett's call. She was also selected as one of the WAMPAS Baby Stars in 1928.

In 1927, Taylor's two-year contract with Mack Sennett expired. She was cast as Lorelei Lee in the silent movie version of Gentlemen Prefer Blondes (1928). Directed by Malcolm St. Clair, the film co-starred Alice White and Ford Sterling.

During the search for Lorelei Lee, fans sent 14,000 letters to Paramount Pictures. Each suggested a choice of an actress for the role. In return, every fan was mailed a photo of Ruth Taylor when she was selected for the part. It was the largest shipment of pictures of one person ever shipped from Hollywood. Anita Loos was determined that Taylor play the role of her literary character. Just Married (1928) was the first offering in what was billed as a new comedy team featuring Taylor and James Hall. Produced by B.P. Schulberg, the movie was directed by Frank R. Strayer.

Taylor's final screen credits are roles in A Hint to Brides (1929), The College Coquette (1929), This Thing Called Love (1929), and Scrappily Married (1930).

Later in life she was to marry a retired USAF Brigadier General and New York Stockbroker, Paul Steinberg Zuckerman. He had served in the Lafayette Escadrille during WWI, and as a senior officer in WWII. Their son, Buck Henry, went on to become a famous comedian and screen writer of such hits as The Graduate.


Ruth Taylor died in Palm Springs, California in 1984, aged 79.


  • Los Angeles Times, "Has No Competition", March 6, 1925, Page A9
  • Los Angeles Times, "Famous Charmers Of Ages Find Way To Screen", September 18, 1927, Page 15
  • Los Angeles Times, "She's In Pictures, All Right", November 1, 1927, Page A14
  • Los Angeles Times, "Austin With New Team", May 26, 1928, Page 7
  • Syracuse Herald, "Sennett Grads Hail Lorelei", March 25, 1928, Page 68
  • 1910 United States Federal Census, Portland, Oregon
  • 1920 United States Federal Census, Portland, Oregon

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