Ruth Warrick, who starred in “All My Children” and “Citizen Kane,” died Saturday in New York of complications from pneumonia. She was 88.
Warrick’s indelible film debut was as Charles Foster Kane’s first wife Emily in Orson Welles’ 1941 “Citizen Kane.” She went on to appear in more than 30 films, including “The Corsican Brothers,” “Driftwood,” “China Sky,” “Journey into Fear,” “Let’s Dance” and “Song of the South.”
Warrick played Phoebe Tyler Wallingford on “All My Children” from the show’s debut in 1970. In May, she received a Lifetime Achievement Emmy from the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences. Her last TV appearance on “All My Children” was on Jan. 5, when she made a brief return to the fictional town of Pine Valley to commemorate the show’s 35th anniversary.
“Ruth Warrick was my first mentor. Over the years she not only shared with me her talent and grace, but she did so with the entire country,” co-star Susan Lucci said. “She leaves behind an everlasting legacy from her extensive career in television, film and stage, as well as her commitments to the social causes she stood behind.”
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Born in St. Joseph, Mo., she moved to Kansas City while in high school and later attended the U. of Kansas City. A promotional tour brought her to New York, where her interest in acting brought her to the Mercury Theater, headed by Orson Welles, with whom she ultimately headed for Hollywood.
Nominated for an Emmy for her portrayal of Hannah Cord in “Peyton Place,” she also appeared for five years on “As the World Turns,” had a starring role in the television series “Father of the Bride” and guested on “The Love Boat” and in ABC after-school specials. She also played Hannah Cord in the 1985 made-for-television movie “Return to Peyton Place.”
On Broadway, she appeared with Debbie Reynolds in the musical “Irene.” She also starred on Broadway with Jackie Gleason in “Take Me Along” and had a featured role in “Pal Joey.” In regional theater she starred in “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” and in “Long Day’s Journey into Night.” In addition, she starred as Anna in a national tour of “The King and I.”
Her autobiography “The Confessions of Phoebe Tyler” was published in 1980 by Prentice-Hall.
Warwick was active in numerous arts education programs, was a dropout prevention consultant to President Kennedy and consulted for the U.S. Labor Department on job training programs during the Kennedy, Johnson and Carter years.
She is survived by three children, a grandson and six great-grandchildren.
Donations may be made to Broadway Cares/Equity Fights AIDS, God’s Love We Deliver, City Harvest or Gilda’s Club NYC.