Ruta Lee has labored with the very best of Hollywood – and now she’s telling all.
The actress not too long ago penned a memoir titled “Think about Your A—Kissed!” the place she shared private recollections from over time. She has labored with quite a few stars, together with Frank Sinatra, Burt Reynolds, Clint Eastwood, Johnny Carson, Alex Trebek and Fred Astaire – simply to call a number of. The “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers” actress additionally befriended many fellow main women, together with Lucille Ball, Julie Newmar and Debbie Reynolds, amongst others.
Lee spoke to Fox Information about how her mom’s prayers might have led to a life-changing function, in addition to what it was actually like working with a few of Hollywood’s prime stars.
Fox Information: Many individuals keep in mind you from “Seven Brides for Seven Brothers.” How did you get the function?
Ruta Lee: It was my first job within the motion pictures and what an auspicious first job! I received it just by auditioning for it. I received a name from my agent, who I used to be very fortunate to have as a result of I used to be very younger and really silly. I didn’t know something about something in these days. I went in for the audition.
In the meantime, my mom went to the church throughout the road, lit candles, received down on her knees and prayed. And I received the job! And it was fairly the job. What a blessing. We shot it in Cinemascope, however not each theater on the earth was outfitted with Cinemascope again then. However everyone had widescreen. So we’d do the take once more for the widescreen. So relying on which model is operating on tv, they’re just a bit completely different. I don’t assume lots of people notice that.
Fox Information: You will need to have many, however what’s considered one of your favourite recollections out of your time on set?
Lee: I wouldn’t say this second was a enjoyable time however it was definitely memorable. On the primary day, we had been on the barn elevating set, which is mainly the point of interest of the film. It was an impressive quantity that Michael Kidd choreographed for all of us. Our sneakers for the dance quantity had not been rubberized but. We had been breaking in new sneakers simply to get them going.
I did this massive kick ahead. My sneakers slipped and my head hit the ground. I went out like a light-weight. All I heard was Michael Kidd say, “She’ll be all proper. She simply dropped 1 / 4 down between the planks and he or she’s on the lookout for it.” All I may do was chortle and probably the most painful factor on the earth is to have your head hurting and chortle.
However that’s simply the type of great choreographer Michael Kidd was. He simply made all the pieces such a lark. And there I used to be with a few of the greatest dancers in America. I couldn’t assist however marvel to myself how I received to be on this fabulous place. And Michael made it really easy for us. We simply laughed via all of the weeks of capturing and rehearsals we did.
Fox Information: What do you imagine has been the key behind the movie’s lasting success?
Lee: Initially, the story is a superb one. There’s a gentleness, a sweetness to it. However there’s additionally this energy. The dancers, particularly the blokes, had been the strongest I’ve ever seen. And we simply had a good time laughing on set doing what we liked. And I feel that reveals. New generations are nonetheless discovering the film and say it’s an awesome movie. I’m proud to be part of it.
Fox Information: You additionally appeared in one other iconic movie, “Humorous Face.” What was your impression of Audrey Hepburn?
Lee: Audrey was probably the most great, treasured woman. She by no means got here throughout as a film star. She was very right down to earth. And she or he was very sensible about conserving her power. She didn’t spend a whole lot of time on set laughing and carrying on with the remainder of the corporate such as you would usually do in between takes. As an alternative, she would preserve her power till it was time for her to carry out. However she was completely pretty to everybody.
And my God was she stunning. She didn’t have the same old look you’d count on from a film star in these days. She introduced a complete new look to the enterprise that was all her. And also you couldn’t assist however be mesmerized by it. However she was simply so marvelous as an individual too. She was such a pleasure to work with.
Fox Information: It’s been mentioned you audition for the function of Ginger in “Gilligan’s Island.” What occurred?
Lee: Nicely, I can’t inform you a hell of rather a lot about it. I can inform you I didn’t get the function *laughs*. I feel the principle motive is I didn’t have good massive boobs. It didn’t matter how a lot rubber I put in there. It simply didn’t look fairly nearly as good.
Fox Information: How was it working with the Rat Pack?
Lee: It was most likely probably the most gloriously enjoyable time of my life. I imply, simply think about, being with Frank Sinatra, Sammy Davis Jr., Peter Lawford, Dean Martin, Joey Bishop and a number of other different Vegas comics of the day. It was only one massive chortle after the opposite. Frank would all the time say to the crew, “Look, I don’t care if it takes you every week to arrange the shot, set it up. After which don’t inform me that we’ve to redo it once more as a result of there was a squeak within the wheel, a light-weight went out, or there was a distraction from a sound. I’ll offer you one take.”
So he would do one take. And the remainder of the time we laughed, screamed and pulled pranks on one another. They usually all the time had nice tales to inform. It was an absolute miracle to work with these guys. All of them had been charmers. And within the course of, I grew to become a very good good friend of Frank’s. However you’ll should learn the guide to be taught extra about that.
Fox Information: Honest sufficient. However who was your favourite main man to work with?
Lee: Gosh, after all, considered one of my favorites will surely be Frank. Why? As a result of he simply modified a whole lot of issues in my life and it made it a lot nicer for me. Being a part of his circle was fairly a blessing. Tyrone Energy in “Witness for the Prosecution” was simply great. Charles Laughton was very candy, however a somewhat unusual main man. He was simply so distant. He was very reticent about mixing and mingling. He was very, very shy or he was simply quiet.
Now, Darren McGavin, he was nice enjoyable. And naturally, there’s Fred Astaire, Gene Kelly and the great Clint Eastwood. Let’s face it, I like all of them. They had been all completely different from one another and I liked each second of it.
Fox Information: Between Fred Astaire and Gene Kelly, who was probably the most difficult to work with and why?
Lee: In some methods, they had been each perfectionists. Fred had a mode that was very distinctive. He got here from a technology the place faucet dancing was into the ground, that means all the pieces was pounded into the ground. Your physique went “bang, bang, bang.” There was a powerful heaviness to it that used up your complete energy. However he took faucet dancing into the air. He made it as mild as butterfly wings.
As for Gene, he made his dancing like a routine for the Olympics. It was very robust and masculine whereas Fred’s was light. And Gene relied on comedy and nice athleticism. They had been each perfectionists however they actually liked one another. And one factor they each did was rehearse continually. They by no means stopped.
In actual fact, Debbie Reynolds as soon as advised me that there have been days when her toes had been bleeding from the blisters and sores simply working with Gene Kelly. He made her dance continually. However she additionally described it as a real masterclass of dance. And whenever you’re younger, you’re not afraid of something. You simply make the leap. That’s what she did. Fred was the identical. He would rehearse till the solar got here up. It might be six within the morning and he would say, “It’s time to stop.” They only utterly immersed themselves in dance.
Fox Information: What has saved you going as a performer?
Lee: There are only a few issues I didn’t do. And in these days, you simply saved busy. If I wasn’t doing a movie, I used to be on tv. And if I wasn’t doing that, I used to be hitting the street or on stage. If one thing didn’t come your approach, you simply needed to maintain your self busy. There have been some issues that I’m sorry that I didn’t do, however that occurs to all of us. And searching again, I needed to do all of it. I needed to sing, I needed to bounce, I needed to behave – all of it. I did. And I liked each minute of it.