"I learned writing's totally different from talking," Ruth Warrick discovered. In 1980, Prentice-Hall published her autobiography with a soap opera angle, 'The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler'. Ruth Warrick rose to Hollywood stardom in the 1941 Orson Welles' film, 'Citizen Kane'. "Every time I see that movie, I realize how wonderful it was. You know that it’s the one movie that students of the cinema must see," Ruth remarked.

"I was literally so thrilled to be chosen. It was so exciting. I knew enough about Orson Welles’ theater triumphs to know that I was incredibly lucky to be working with a man of that calibre. I wasn’t going to examine it, I wasn’t going to lose the glory of the moment by speculating on my future. I was simply going to enjoy it thoroughly and be totally involved in it.

"It’s not a long role but it’s a key role. It’s very, very important. She’s the niece of the president. We are to be married in the White House and she must be a lady. And there are no ladies in Hollywood. I don’t mean somebody who can play a lady but somebody who is a lady. I have to thank my mother and my grandmother who said every day of my life, 'Now, Ruth, be a little lady.' I was brought up to be a lady – which is usually the last way one gets into show business. The bad girls would get the fascinating film roles. I eventually accepted that, and grew to understand it was a plus and not a minus because ladies last longer."

Ruth said she first saw Orson Welles briefly in a 22nd-floor lounge at the CBS building in Manhattan, "I know he noticed me." Then 2 years later when she called her answering service, "They said, 'Where in the name of heaven have you been? You have a 1.30 appointment with Orson Welles in the Waldorf Towers. And it is now 5.15 … I certainly knew anything Orson did would be memorable to a degree, because of the things that he had done with the Mercury Theater."

Ruth made known she left the Hollywood studios in 1952 because "the system was good while it lasted but it was hard on people when it was over. I soon saw perfectly well that television was taking over. It (acting) was a job and I had 2 children to support. You move, you change. You go with what’s happening. The studios didn’t want you to grow up, they wanted actors to remain obedient children. So when things went sour, those actors felt desolate, abandoned. I was lucky. I had known a solid upbringing in (St. Joseph) Missouri. I was me before I arrived in Hollywood. But others had been molded like clay, created into stars with little other identity. So people like Rita Hayworth and Lana Turner had trouble adjusting when it was all over." 

Between 1970 and 2005, Ruth played the moral arbiter of Pine Valley U.S.A, Phoebe Tyler. In 1976 Ruth read in 'Time' magazine that Jimmy Carter's mother, Lillian’s favorite soap was 'All My Children'. She recounted, "I called the Carter-Mondale campaign headquarters and asked for her and they said, 'She’s not here.' And I said, 'Well, this is Phoebe Tyler calling.' Well, the local operator got on the line and said, 'Oh, well, you want a different number.' And she gave me her private number. So Miss Lillian invited me down to Plains. She made Jimmy watch the show and he said, 'Momma, that’s the meanest woman I ever saw.' Some people have called me the Bette Davis of daytime." 

In writing 'The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler', Ruth Warrick confessed, "I started a couple of times and almost gave up. I tried dictating and that was a mess. It takes me 2 hours to get into a rhythm, and then I can go all night. But I lacked the time since I was involved daily with Phoebe, along with personal appearances 3 weekends a month. People come up to me on the street and embrace and kiss me. 

"Others hold up their babies for me to kiss. One woman wrote that her child's first words were 'Phoebe Tyler.' Dogs have puppies named Phoebe Tyler. On an airplane I fly and even in Europe, it’s always the same. I see that look in people's eyes as if they’re viewing one of the wonders of the world. It’s scary. If you could see the looks on people’s eyes when they touch you they almost swoon. You’d think we are the Pope and the second coming. At first, it was embarrassing. Little children would run away from their parents and hug me. I guess daytime stars are the movie stars of yesteryear. We are the ones people have the kinship with." 

In 1983, it was reported Ruth was nearly mobbed visiting New York's city jail for women on Riker’s Island to teach arts to the inmates. "To see these arms coming out from the bars and the sound of it, it reminded me of Evita. It’s a scary thing when you think of the power. I want to use the power to help them … what got to me was this terrific reaching out. The humanity of them is intense. I wanted to help them, but you feel so powerless at the same moment that they are giving you all this power. That’s the dichotomy of it."

Ruth noted in hard times, schools would cut budget in teaching art, music, literature and drama. She argued, "They call such things ‘frills’ and say you don’t have to have them. The budget gets tight, so they cut the arts. They don’t cut the football team. I’m not against football, but there are priorities and the parents have to be educated to understand that their children are being deprived – that, that part of the brain is never going to function if it isn’t stimulated at a certain time. If you give children the arts, their reading and math go up and every single one of their basic studies improves. 

"We have put up educational sites all over the nation to demonstrate this because people have to have proof. Every year, industries go to the campuses to recruit the brightest and the best. Do you know who got the best job this year (in 1983)? A graduate who majored in English literature! Japanese children, from the time they are 3 and 4 years old, have intensive artistic training in their schools. Not just some of them – all of them. A lot of people say, ‘What does it matter?’ but it does matter. It feeds the human soul … Part of our economic crisis literally stems from that."

When Ruth first started working on 'All My Children', "I was marching in peace marches. I was very much an activist. Phoebe and I are quite a bit alike, sort of metamorphosed into a single person. I have a sharp tongue and I can be just as bitchy as Phoebe. I’m also a witty person who learned just how damaging words can be. I lead a more interesting life than Phoebe. At one point, the director took me out to dinner, all the courses, all the wine, and then he said, 'Well, if you don’t stop being amusing, we’re going to have to replace you.'

"In the beginning she was very Philadelphia Main Line. She never went out of the house without a hat or white gloves. Phoebe didn’t do much except drink dry martinis and plan social events. The network almost fired me the first year on the show because I am a political activist. I marched for peace movements. I taught in Watts (Watts Writers Workshop as well as other ghetto projects). I helped finance the conversion of a storefront into a job-training center. I supported Synanon (drug and alcohol rehabilitation center) and was a feminist before the women’s lib movement began."

In 1990, Ruth Warrick went to Moscow, where she was part of 'The Global Forum' group that met with Mikhail Gorbachev about problems facing the world's environment. In 1991, Ruth produced a play by Vladimir Gubaryev about Roald Z. Sagdeyev, the Russian physicist who married Susan Eisenhower. Back in 1989, Ruth and Prince C.P.V.R. Jadhar Khedker from India formed the production company Khedker and Warrick, "He told me, 'You really should be a producer now. You shouldn’t have to just wait around until someone else decides to hire you.' So we got started."

The project was called, 'The Tiaras of Trinity'. Ruth reasoned, "While we are right to try to protect other endangered species, the number one endangered species is ourselves, homo sapiens, and we refuse to do anything about it. At the rate we’re polluting the world, it may disintegrate without the help of atom bombs. I was told, 'Oh, it would just be a documentary and people don't really want documentaries.'

"But you can do so much with an entertainment medium, such as 'Tiara's' and, of course, the soaps are especially effective in that way. Our own Agnes Nixon has always used timely, topical stories in our series … On our show, she's dealt with diabetes and diabetic retinopathy; on drug addiction, on wife and child abuse, and so much more including AIDS. My son does research at Johns Hopkins University, and he said it would be a good thing if the soap did an AIDS story. I agreed with him, and I mentioned it to some people on the show."

Ruth married 5 times to 4 men, "If only some judge could fix it so I could never get married again. 'Song of the South' (1946) will always be a very special movie to me. It was a wonderful experience working for Walt Disney, who had been one of my heroes and later became a close personal friend. The movie closely paralleled my life at the time. I was married to Erik Rolf in real life, as well as on the screen. We had a son named Jon, like in the film, and we were also having marital problems. In the end of 'Song of the South', everything worked out and everyone lived happily ever after. It's a shame it doesn't always happen that way in real life. Erik and I separated soon after finishing the film.

"A television marriage is easier to live with than a real life marriage. You can put the script aside at the end of the day and you have the weekends to yourself. I salute the gentlemen who have survived me. Many haven't. My first marriage was to a Norwegian, Erik Rolf. We had 2 children. It lasted 7 years. Then I married a Dane, Carl Neubert, for 2 years. After that divorce I married an Irishman, Bibber McNamara. We had a son. But that marriage, too, collapsed after 7 years.

"Then I remarried Neubert for another 2 years. My latest (in 1978) marriage, which ended about a year ago (1977), was to Jarvis Cushing. It didn’t survive more than 16 months. Not too many leading ladies, if any, have had more interesting husbands than I’ve had – or as many. But I can say in all honesty that everyone who has been married to me wanted to marry me again." Fans had been known to stop Ruth on the streets of New York and told her, "We know you're Ruth, but you're Phoebe to us."

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