Rosalind Russell as Auntie Mame (1955).
Live! Live! Live! Life is a banquet, and most poor suckers are starving to death.
Taking joy in life is a woman’s best cosmetic.
I’ll match my flops with anybody’s but I wouldn’t have missed ’em.
~Rosalind Russell, American stage and screen actress (1907-1976)
I have two favorite ladies named “Ros.” One is Ros Myers from Spooks (who is also, in case you were wondering, very much So Not Dead) and the other is one of my favorite actresses, Rosalind Russell.
Today, June 4, is her birthday. Ros was the fast-talking reporter Hildy Johnson bantering with Cary Grant in the comedy classic His Girl Friday, the gossip with the absurd fashion sense in the brilliantly catty The Women and the eccentric, larger-than-life Mame Dennis in the wonderful Auntie Mame. (not to be confused with the musical Mame, made into a mediocre movie with Lucille Ball shot with a lot of soft focus lenses).
The first quote is actually from Auntie Mame,, and Rosalind adopted “Life is a Banquet” as the title of her bio, which was published the year after her passing. I’ve re-read it a number of times over the years. That quote is a great piece of advice, and I think it’s one Miss Russell lived by, right through the crippling rheumatoid arthritis she had to fight and the cancer that ultimately claimed her life.
Rosalind Russell is someone I would have loved to have met. Even in the flops to which she refers, her performances are always worth watching. And while she is remembered most for her comedies, she was also a very fine dramatic actress. Ros Russell may be gone, but like my other favorite Ros, she definitely isn’t forgotten.
Ros as Mrs. Fowler, the incorrigible gossip in “The Women” (1939)
Ros Russell and Cary Grant in “His Girl Friday” (1940).