The Delirious Movie Wikia
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Ruta Lee is a Canadian-American film and television actress best known for numerous TV appearances on Sixties and 70s television. Her best known films are "Witness for the Prosecution," "Funny Facs" and "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers" in the 1950s.
Born Ruta Mary Kilmonis on May 30, 1935 in Montreal, Canada, she was the only child of Lithuanian Roman Catholic immigrants. Moving to the United States on March 1, 1948, her family ended up settling in Los Angeles, California where she graduated from Hollywood High School in 1954 where she studied acting and appeared in school plays. She attended both Los Angeles City College and the University of California at Los Angeles, briefly working as a cashier, usherette, and candy girl at Grauman's Chinese Theater.
Later becoming a naturalized United States citizen. She got her break on the "The George Burns and Gracie Allen Show," which lead to roles on "The Roy Rogers Show" and "The Adventures of Superman." While acting in a small theater production of "On the Town," she landed a role in the Academy Award-nominated musical "Seven Brides for Seven Brothers," billed as Ruta Kilmonis. Between 1956 and 1964, she went on to star in the films "Anything Goes," "Funny Face," "Witness for the Prosecution," "Marjorie Morningstar, "Sergeants 3" and "Bullet for a Badman."
Through the Fifties, Sixties and Seventies, she made numerous appearances on episodic television shows, like "Maverick," "The Rebel," five guest appearances "Perry Mason" with Raymond Burr between 1958 and 1965, "Cheyenne," "Richard Diamond, Private Detective," "Alfred Hitchcock Presents," "M Squad," "Gunsmoke," "77 Sunset Strip," "The Alaskans," "Wagon Train," "Bat Masterson," "Hawaiian Eye," "Rawhide," "The Wild Wild West," "Ironsides," "The Fugitive" as well as a memorable episode of "The Twilight Zone." She also proved herself capable of comedic roles on three memorable episodes of "Hogan's Heroes" as well as two guest spots on "The Andy Griffith Show." She also appeared in the comedies, "Gomer Pyle, USMC," "The Lucy Show," "The Partridge Family" and "The Flying Nun." She also continued starring in dramas and crime dramas, such as "The Wild Wild West," "Mannix," "Columbo," "Ironsides" and "Marcus Welby, M.D." Between roles, she became a regular celebrity guest on the game shows "Hollywood Squares," "You Don't Say" and "Match Game."
Her later films included "A Howling in the Woods," "The Doomsday Machine," "Roll, Freddy, Roll," "Indict and Convict," "The Ghosts of Buxley Hall" and "Elvis and the Beauty Queen." By 1974, she grew frustrated by a sparsity of worthy roles and took a job co-hosting the daytime game show "High Rollers" until it ended in 1976.
Through the Eighties, she had roles on "CHiPs," "Fantasy Island," "The Love Boat" and "Mork and Mindy." She soon began performing extensively in the mid-1980s on stage, including the title character in the musical "Peter Pan." She had a recurring role on the series, "Coming of Age" and starred in the television movie "Sweet Bird of Youth" with Elizabeth Taylor. Through the 1990s, she appeared on "Roseanne," "Murder She Wrote" and "Saved By The Bell." In 1995, a Golden Palm Star on the Palm Springs Walk of Stars was dedicated to her, and in 2002, she was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards for her work in western television and cinema as well as a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for her contributions to the television industry in 2006.
In February 2008, Lee appeared in a production of "Steel Magnolias" with Sally Struthers at the Casa Mañana theatre in Fort Worth, Texas. In October 2010, she performed in a production of "The Best Little Whorehouse in Texas" at the same theater.
Lee was married to Texas restaurant executive Webster B. "Webb" Lowe Jr. since 1976, dividing their time between their homes in Hollywood, Palm Springs, Fort Worth and Mexico until he passed away on July 1, 2020. They had no children. On August 24, 2013, she was inducted into the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame, having her Lithuanian citizenship restored in February 2019.
Lee has been involved with the charitable organization The Thalians for over fifty years. In addition to raising money and providing services for troubled youth and mental health organizations, she was also the board chairman, co-producing the annual Ball of the Thalians with the late Debbie Reynolds throughout these five decades. She stepped down in 2011, after fifty-five years of involvement with The Thalians, becoming a member emerita.

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