Rosalind Russell

Good morning! Amb here, ready to bring you the latest scoop on funny-named folks in show business.

Now, I’ve been known to refer to myself as a “Girl Friday” around these parts, as a testament to both my stellar  journalistic skills  and to the screwball comedy that is my life, but today we’re talking about the genuine article: the Oscar-nominated actress Ms. Rosalind Russell.

Rosalind was born in the nautical-sounding Waterbury, Connecticut, and was

tall ship

Roz’s namesake. (Probably not, but would that have been cool, or what?)

named, appropriately enough, after a ship that her parents had sailed on, called The S.S Rosalind.

According to my sources, this means that she was not, in fact, named after the character “Rosalind” in Shakespeare’s famed comedy “As You Like It”… which is just as well, because that means I can write about the fictional Rosalind some other time. She is amazing, you guys, and I’m not just saying that because she ends up with some funny-named guy called Orlando.

But back to Ms. Russell. Proving herself to be as clever and quick witted as the characters she played onscreen, Roz was able to attend the American Academy of Dramatic Arts in New York City, after convincing her mother that she intended to *cough* teach*cough* acting. Well played, madam, well played!

In 1934, after having done a little theatre work, she was given a screen test and signed a contract with Universal Studios. In a madcap plot twist straight out of one of her films, MGM tested her at the same time, and Benny Thau and Ben Piazza also made her an offer. Unable to resist a deal from such a delightfully named duo (and really, who can blame her?) our heroine hatched a plan to get out of her agreement with Universal.

Rosalind Russell, Cary Grant, His Girl Friday

Clearly, Roz can take on Cary Grant. I could probably take on Cary Grant too, if I had a hat like that.

A little birdie tells me that she showed up to her first day at Universal claiming that she really had no idea what this “Hollywood” hullabaloo was all about … while slouching around set wearing her worst-fitting clothes. Now, while the idea of an unattractive Rosalind is about as preposterous as the idea of a shy and demure Amber, it was enough to fool Universal, who released her from her contract.

Roz promptly signed a seven year deal with MGM and had all sorts of success there, including landing the iconic role of Hildegard “Hildy” Johnson in the film “His Girl Friday”. Roz’s performance as the fabulously fast-talking Hildy was ranked #28 on Premiere Magazine’s “100 Greatest Performances of All Time” list. There are too many amazing lines from that movie to count, but this is one of my favourites:

Bruce (talking about Hildy’s ex-husband): He’s not the man for you. I can see that. But I sort of like him. He’s got a lot of charm.
Hildy: Well, he comes by it naturally. His grandfather was a snake.

And since you all know I love a good romance (and good showbiz gossip) I have to tell you that the role of Hildy Johnson improved more than just Roz’s career. Her co-star, Cary Grant, introduced her to a friend of his, the fabulously named Frederick Brisson, during the shoot. The couple were married a year later, and  Grant was the best man at their wedding. Now there’s a Hollywood ending for you!

love amb


About amb

Would rather spend time in TV land than Corporate World. Writes at and wishes she was more like Ingrid Bergman.
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15 Responses to Rosalind Russell

  1. Pingback: Alien Babies and Other Surprises | words become superfluous

  2. Liz says:

    My dad is a huge fan of RR (he loves classic movie as much as you and Tracy/Fannie combined) so will make sure he sees this post.

    Great story you tell–well researched per usual. And I totally love that hat. Really love it. Your journalistic skills are indeed stellar and it’s always fun to read the result of those skills 🙂 (am I pulling a Liz? haha)

    Have fun in CW today. And be sure to stop over @ foodforfun for ice cream (I remember saying you liked ic especially). Changed up my posting schedule as things are happening a bit differently this week.

    Lol–clicked on a few of your links in the post and am laughing all over again at “Whip Hubley.” That’s one of the best names ever. (Sorry, Dave–Outerbridge Horsey is right up there, too 😉 )

    • amb says:

      Oh good! Hope he enjoys it. Tell him I say hello 🙂

      Thank you! I think you were pulling a bit of a Liz there, and I think I loved it. So glad you had fun reading today’s post, as I had fun writing it!

      Stopped by foodforfun and drooled all over my keyboard – will no doubt be back again at lunchtime. YUM.

      I agree about Whip Hubley, that name rocks my socks!! Plus he was my first hijacking of BoFN, so he’ll always hold a special place in my heart 😉

      • Liz says:

        I like “rock my socks.” You have been seen at BoFN quite frequently as of late. So the Takeover is almost complete? (maybe shouldn’t have said that so loudly as I imagine others are listening in? 😉 ) Carry on, my friend.

        • amb says:

          I know – and I’m back on Tuesday! Whoohoo!

          Bahaha. The takeover is (somewhat) sanctioned – Dave said I could “totally go for it” with Thursday posts, so I’m taking him at his word until he gets tired of seeing me around here, or until I run out of things to say, whichever comes first 😉

  3. I love Rosalind Russell and I love that film. I agree with Liz on the hat. Great hat and great ice cream. 🙂

    I didn’t know Cary Grant introduced her to her husband. Learned something new again today.

  4. Arto says:

    I read this post in the voice of Russell and Grant in that movie. Made it even funnier, if that was possible. She had the right instincts (as proven by going with Benny Thau’s offer) – that movie slays me every time. Poor Ralph Bellamy.

    • amb says:

      LOL. I know. As soon as they sit down to that lunch you want to just give him a hug and be like, never gonna happen. Go home, Bruce.

      Nicely done with the voiceovers, Arto! They talk so fast in this one, I get all breathless watching! I don’t know how they did it and I will love them forever for pulling it off. Such a great film … so many great moments … really wish I had taken a snow day after all today so that I could be home watching it right now 🙂

      • Arto says:

        They do talk fast! There’s so much energy in it, they must have been exhausted every day.

        I like that part where Grant’s trying to explain what Ralph Bellamy’s character looks like and he’s like “he looks a bit like that actor guy, what’s his name, Ralph Bellamy!”

  5. Dave says:

    You know it’s been a busy day when it takes me until 6:30pm to reply to a post, and it’s only to say that I haven’t read it yet… but will soon! Looks like we’ve got some good dialogue going!

  6. Pingback: My Favourite Television Show You’ve Never Heard Of: Defiance | words become superfluous

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