Ruth Clifford

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Jump to navigation Jump to search

Ruth Clifford
Ruth Clifford Who's Who on the Screen.jpg
Clifford in a publicity still from Who's Who on the Screen (c. 1920)
Born(1900-02-17)February 17, 1900
Pawtucket, Rhode Island, U.S.
DiedNovember 30, 1998(1998-11-30) (aged 98)
Woodland Hills, Los Angeles, California. U.S.
Resting placeHoly Cross Cemetery
Years active1915–1977
James A. Cornelius
(m. 1924; div. 1938)
Children1 son

Ruth Clifford (February 17, 1900 – November 30, 1998) was an American actress of leading roles in silent films, whose career lasted from silent days into the television era.

Early years[edit]

Clifford was born in Pawtucket, Rhode Island, the daughter of parents who were both born in England.[1] Following her mother's death when Ruth was 11, she and her sister were placed in St. Mary's Seminary in Narragansett, Rhode Island. Four years later, they went to Los Angeles to live with their actress aunt.[2]


Clifford got work as an extra and began her career at 15 at Universal, in fairly substantial roles.[2] She received her first film credit for her work in Behind the Lines (1916).[1]

By her mid-twenties, she was playing leads and second leads, including the role of Abraham Lincoln's lost love, Ann Rutledge, in The Dramatic Life of Abraham Lincoln (1924). But sound pictures found her roles diminishing, and throughout the next three decades she played smaller and smaller parts.[citation needed]

She was a favorite of director John Ford (they played bridge together), who used her in eight films, but rarely in substantial roles. She was also, for a time, the voice of Walt Disney's Minnie Mouse[3] and Daisy Duck.

Clifford's obituary in the Los Angeles Times noted that she "became a prime source for historians of the silent screen era".[4]


In the 1940s, Clifford toured the United States as a member of the Abbey Theatre Company and had lead roles in "classic Irish plays".[1]


In the 1950s, Clifford appeared in episodes of Highway Patrol and in commercials.[1]

Personal life[edit]

Clifford married to Beverly Hills real-estate developer James Cornelius[5] on December 5, 1924.[1] They had one child and divorced in 1938.


Clifford died in Woodland Hills, California,[6] on November 30, 1998,[1] at the age of 98.[2] Her interment was in Culver City's Holy Cross Cemetery. She was survived by two first cousins.[4]

Partial filmography[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f Slide, Anthony (2010). Silent Players: A Biographical and Autobiographical Study of 100 Silent Film Actors and Actresses. University Press of Kentucky. pp. 63–67. ISBN 0813137454. Retrieved 24 September 2017.
  2. ^ a b c Brownlow, Kevin (January 5, 1999). "Obituiary: Ruth Clifford". Independent. Archived from the original on January 17, 2018. Retrieved September 25, 2017.
  3. ^ Smith, Dave (2012). Disney Trivia from the Vault: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered: Secrets Revealed and Questions Answered. Disney Electronic Content. ISBN 9781423178576. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  4. ^ a b Oliver, Myrna (December 31, 1998). "Ruth Clifford; Early Movie Star, Character Actress". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 25 September 2017. Retrieved 25 September 2017.
  5. ^ U.S. Census records for 1930, Beverly Hills, California, Sheet 14A
  6. ^ Ellenberger, Allan R. (2001). Celebrities in Los Angeles Cemeteries: A Directory. McFarland. p. 161. ISBN 9780786409839. Retrieved 25 September 2017.

External links[edit]