Rosalind Russell was an American actress of stage and screen, perhaps best known for her role as a fast-talking newspaper reporter in the Howard Hawks screwball comedy His Girl Friday, as well as the role of Mame Dennis in the film Auntie Mame. She won all 5 Golden Globes for which she was nominated, and was tied with Meryl Streep for wins until 2007 when Streep was awarded a sixth. Russell won a Tony Award in 1953 for Best Performance by an Actress in a Musical for her portrayal of Ruth in the Broadway show Wonderful Town.
Russell was known for playing character roles, exceptionally wealthy, dignified ladylike women. She had a wide career span from the 1930s to the 1970s and attributed her long career to the fact that, although usually playing classy and glamorous roles, she never became a sex symbol, thereby not being famous for her looks.
Rosalind Russell was one of seven siblings born in Waterbury, Connecticut, to Clara and James Edward Russell, an Irish-American Catholic family. She was not named after the character from Shakespeare’s As You Like It, but rather after a ship on which her parents had traveled. She attended Roman Catholic schools, including Marymount College in Tarrytown, New York, before attending the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City. Her parents thought Russell was studying to become a teacher, and were unaware that she was planning on becoming a stage comedienne.
The house in which she grew up, on Willow Street in Waterbury, was purchased in 1934 by Mayor Raymond E. Snyder, Sr. and then turned into a funeral home. It is still an active funeral business today, called “Snyder Funeral Home”.