Tuesday, February 6, 2024

Star of the Month: Thelma Ritter



BORN: February 14, 1902

DIED: February 5, 1969

AGED: 66 years

DIED FROM: Heart Attack

MARRIED: Once to Joseph Moran

CHILDREN: 2 children. Her daughter followed her into the acting business


OSCAR NOMINATIONS: All About Eve(1950), The Mating Season(1951), With A Song In My Heart(1952), Pickup On South Street(1953), Pillow Talk(1959), Birdman of Alcatraz(1962)

KNOWN FOR: Her thick Bronx accent. Her small stature but never mess with her

I wanted to switch up the months since last year, I had chosen SZ Sakall for February and would have been a male again just like last year so I have gone with a gal once more and that is the great Thelma Ritter whom we all know in movies with her distinctive voice and sarcastic, but all knowing look she gives to many an actor. I found out that this multi nominated actress and Tony award winner still does not have her name on the Hollywood Walk of Fame! I just don’t understand that injustice and she should have one soon. She always wanted to be an actress and appeared in theatre where she met her future husband. They would appear in Vaudeville but he decided to get out of that business and became an agent. She took time off to raise their 2 children and all seemed to be going along when their friend and next door neighbour, George Seaton, asked her to play a bit part in the movie , “Miracle on 34th Street” as a tired shopper who wants to have a word with Santa. She was uncredited but made such an impression that she soon co-starred with Bette Davis, Anne Baxter, George Sanders etc as the loyal maid of Margo Channing in, “All About Eve”. She received her first of 6 Oscar nominations and there was no stopping her. She was in so many great movies but also appeared in many TV shows from “Wagon Train” to “Alfred Hitchcock Presents”  and winning a Tony Award tying with Gwen Verdon for the Musical show, “New Girl in Town.”

Sadly, she died of a heart attack, too young, in my opinion, at the age of 66…my husband’s age actually, and I can’t imagine him being gone at this age. I think she was no nonsense in life as on screen but she had a loving home, husband and raised 2 children. A success in every way.


1. All About Eve-1950

2. The Mating Season-1951

3. With A Song In My Heart-1952

4. Titanic-1952

5. Rear Window-1954

6. Daddy Long Legs-1955

7. A Hole In The Head- 1959

8. Pillowtalk-1959

9. The Misfits- 1961

10. Move Over, Darling-1963


  1. Hi Birgit!

    You could not have possibly made a better choice than Thelma!!! Incomparable is a word tossed around for many but it fits her to a tee.

    Amazing that within such a brief time from her uncredited bit in Miracle on 34th Street she was one of 20th Century Fox's marquee character stars cast in only their A pictures or occasionally headlining a higher end B. Such was the power of the studio system, if they liked you and your name added to the grosses (which hers invariably did) you were golden. Which makes her never winning the Oscar despite 6 nominations such a head scratcher. The studio surely would have thrown their weight behind her. But she was apparently philosophical about it hostessing a party for her last five nominations themed "Come watch me lose!"

    I love her in all her nominated performances but am astonished that she didn't snag one for Rear Window!

    I've seen all her films, she was fortunate to never appear in anything flat out terrible (though Boeing, Boeing comes close!). My absolute favorite is now and will always be the delightful "The Mating Season" which was one of her nominations, though in the wrong category...she's the star of the film but with Gene Tierney next to her the studio would never have placed her so. I would have loved to see her win for that but where she was really robbed was when she lost for "Pick-Up on South Street" which took her the furthest outside her established persona and she met the challenge beautifully.

    My top 10 of her films based on her performances:

    The Mating Season (1951)
    Rear Window (1954)
    Titanic (1953)
    With a Song in My Heart (1952)
    Pick-Up on South Street (1953)
    All About Eve (1950)
    How the West Was Won (1962)
    The Model and the Marriage Broker (1951)
    Lucy Gallant (1955)
    For Love or Money (1963)

    1. Hi Joel….i wanted to comment on your previous comments…I love Vincent! That song is so, so good. I wish I would have remembered to choose that one. I love your other 2 picks, American Pie is superb and I didn’t know that Killing Me Softly was about Don McLean.
      I’m so happy you mentioned Flesh and Fantasy which is a film I saw mega years ago and couldn’t remember the title but always remember Robert Cummings was in it. This is a film I want on DVD. I have not seen your other 2 picks although have heard of them, obviously and really want to see Madame Satan.
      I’m so glad you like my choice and I would have been shocked if you hadn’t. She is one of THE best so it shocked me to learn she still has no star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame when orange nut does but he’ll pay for anything. I have not seen Boeing, Boeing but I want to see so many others of her films like your favourite. I am amazed at how many films you have seen and would love to see more and more….and more:).
      Have you watched “Barbie”? I watched it this past weekend and, it’s nice but, I just don’t get the huge hoopla about it. It’s male bashing and if the Ken’s can change all the Barbie’s minds into Stepford wives so quickly, what the hell does that say? Yes, they snap out of it when America gives that rant but…that’s just stupid. I don’t know..I just don’t get the hype.

  2. I do love her. I did not realize she died so young. As I understand the walk of fame, I thought people had to sponsor them. So, if you decided to spearhead it, you could get it done, but it would cost $$$.

  3. I have seen most of those films, though a long time ago, but would have been hard pushed to name her. I remember reading the book Daddy Longlegs too. Wouldn’t be acceptable these days, thank goodness.

    1. It’s Birgit…yes, Daddy Long Legs would be tough, unless you are rich and famous…wait…that is Daddy Long Legs. Hey Tony Randall was in his 70s when he married 23;yr old gal and proceeded to have 2 kids with her.

  4. I had forgotten you talking about SZ Sakall, one of my favorite actors. I looked back, and I had commented back then. Anyway, maybe I just don't watch enough movies, because I have a hard time placing Ms. Ritter, but I'm sure I've seen her in something...

    1. It’s Birgit…yes, SZ Sakall is so great and cuddly. You know Thelma. Just bring her up from Miracle on 34th Street.

  5. She was outstanding and stood out in a crowd. Thanks for showcasing her. Sandra sandracox.blogspot.com

    1. It’s Birgit…she is exceptional and deserves to be famous

  6. I remember Thelma Ritter. She had such a distinctive voice and manner. Love Rear Window!

  7. I see my comment fell into the spam folder again. Sigh. I wish I could tell Blogger that I'm not spam, but apparently not.

    I don't quite remember what I said. Something along the lines of "I love her". And "I didn't realize she died so young".

  8. Hi, Birgit!

    You were right in summoning me to this post, dear friend, because I very much liked character actress Thelma Ritter. Upon checking her filmography, I can tell you that I have seen many of her pictures. I think my first exposure to her and to Susan Hayward was in the 1952 autobiographical musical drama With A Song In My Heart. I also enjoyed watching Thelma do her thing in Miracle On 34th Street (1947), Call Northside 777 (1948), Letter To Three Wives (1949), All About Eve (1950), As Young As You Feel (1951), Titanic (1953), Rear Window (1954) Daddy Long Legs (1955), A Hole In The Head (1959), Pillow Talk (1959), The Misfits (1961), Birdman Of Alcatraz (1962), Move Over, Darling (1963) and finally in the Tony Curtis - Jerry Lewis bedroom farce Boeing Boeing (1965) released a little over three years before her death.

    In certain ways, Thelma Ritter reminds me of Rosie O'Donnell. Both are tough as nails and both are scene stealers in their supporting roles as second bananas, best friends, confidants, maids, etc. I agree that Thelma deserves a greater measure of recognition for her body of work and numerous nominated performances. It is never too late to correct an injustice or oversight and give her a star on the Walk of Fame. It is indeed a shame she didn't enjoy a longer life.

    Feel better and have a safe and happy few weeks until I see you again, dear friend BB. Please give my buddy Harley a smooch on Valentine's Day!