Ruth Terry

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Ruth Terry
Ruth Terry.jpg
Terry in 1940
Ruth Mae McMahon

(1920-10-21)October 21, 1920
DiedMarch 11, 2016(2016-03-11) (aged 95)
Resting place Forest Lawn Cemetery, Cathedral City, California
  • Actress
  • singer
Years active1937–1964
  • John Martin
    (m. 1942; div. 19??)
  • John P. Gilmour
    (m. 1946; div. 19??)
John Ledbetter
(m. 1966)

Ruth Mae Terry (born Ruth Mae McMahon, October 21, 1920 March 11, 2016) [2] was an American singer and actress in film and television from the 1930s to the 1960s. She claimed her stage name came from Walter Winchell, who combined the names of two then-famous baseball players, Babe Ruth and Bill Terry. [3]


Early years

Terry was born in Benton Harbor, Michigan, [2] the daughter of Irish-American parents, Mr. and Mrs. M. E. McMahon. [4] She attended St John's Catholic School in Benton Harbor. [5]

Terry won a number of prizes for singing before singing with the Paul Ash Theater Orchestra at the age of twelve. At that same age, she left her hometown to sing with Clyde McCoy's orchestra. [5]


Terry's first movie was Love and Hisses in 1937 with Walter Winchell, at which time she was earning $400 per week. Her first western was Call of the Canyon with Gene Autry. She appeared in several Roy Rogers movies. Her best-known movie was Pistol Packin' Mama , based on the song of the same name with Robert Livingston. She retired when she married her second husband in 1947. [6]

While making films, Terry continued her singing career in a limited way. On August 15, 1943, she appeared as guest female singer on The Bob Crosby Show on NBC radio. [7]

Personal life

On June 20, 1942, Terry and test pilot John Martin eloped and were married in Las Vegas, Nevada. [5] On October 25, 1947, she married John P. Gilmour, a Canadian. A November 8, 1947, article in her hometown newspaper, The News-Palladium, reported, "She has given up her career as an actress and she and her husband and her four-year-old son by a previous marriage will make their home at St. Genevieve de Pierre Fonds, Quebec." [8]

Terry was a Republican who supported Dwight Eisenhower in the 1952 presidential election. [9]


Terry died on March 11, 2016 at the age of 95. She was buried in Forest Lawn Cemetery (Cathedral City). [10]


1937 Love and Hisses Hawaiian Specialty Singer
1938 International Settlement Vera Dale
1938 Alexander's Ragtime Band Ruby20th Century Fox
1938 Hold That Co-ed Edie
1939 Wife, Husband and Friend Carol
1939 The Hound of the Baskervilles Betsy AnnUncredited
1939 Hotel for Women Craig's Receptionist
1939 Slightly Honorable Ann SeymourUnited Artists
1940 An Angel from Texas Valerie Blayne
1940 Sing, Dance, Plenty Hot Irene
1941 Blondie Goes Latin Lovey Nelson, the SingerColumbia
1941 Rookies on Parade Lois Rogers
1941 Appointment for Love Edith Meredith
1942 Sleepytime Gal Sugar CastonRepublic
1942 The Affairs of Jimmy Valentine Bonnie ForbesRepublic
1942 Call of the Canyon Katherine 'Kit' CarsonRepublic
1942 Youth on Parade Patty Flynn / Betty ReillyRepublic
1942 Heart of the Golden West Mary Lou PopenRepublic
1943 The Man from Music Mountain Laramie WintersRepublic
1943 Mystery Broadcast Jan CornellRepublic
1943 Pistol Packin' Mama Vicki Norris / Sally BensonRepublic
1944 Hands Across the Border Kim AdamsRepublic
1944 Jamboree Ruth Cartwright
1944 Goodnight, Sweetheart Caryl Martin
1944 Three Little Sisters Hallie Scott
1944 Sing, Neighbor, Sing Virginia Blake
1944 My Buddy Lola
1944 Lake Placid Serenade Susan Cermak
1945 Steppin' in Society Lola Forrest
1945 The Cheaters Therese Pidgeon
1945 Tell It to a Star Carol LambertRepublic
Robert Livingston and Aurora Miranda
1947 Smoky River Serenade Sue GreeleyColumbia
1962 Hand of Death Woman with Packages
1964 The New Interns Carolyn's MotherUncredited, (final film role)

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  2. 1 2 "Ruth Terry, Hollywood actress – obituary". The Telegraph. May 4, 2016. Retrieved October 17, 2016.
  3. Fitzgerald, Mike. "Ruth Terry Interview". Western Clippings. Retrieved May 8, 2014.
  4. "Ruth Terry -- A Local Product". The News-Palladium. Michigan, Benton Harbor. January 1, 1938. p. 134. Retrieved June 20, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  5. 1 2 3 "Ruth Terry Wed At Las Vegas To Test Pilot On Saturday". The News-Palladium. Michigan, Benton Harbor. June 22, 1942. p. 4. Retrieved June 22, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  6. "Ruth Terry, Miami film discovery, appears at Lincoln Theater tonight". The Miami News. December 27, 1939. Retrieved February 28, 2014.
  7. Rathbun, Joe (August 15, 1943). "Joe's Radio Parade". The Times Recorder. Ohio, Zanesville. p. 22. Retrieved June 22, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  8. "Actress Ruth Terry Marries Canadian, Drops Film Career". The News-Palladium. Michigan, Benton Harbor. November 8, 1947. p. 8. Retrieved June 22, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  9. Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers