Lillian Roth

Lillian Roth

Original Name Rutstein
Boston, Suffolk County, Massachusetts, USA
Death 12 May 1980 (aged 69)
New York, New York County (Manhattan), New York, USA
Burial Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, USA
Plot Section 26, Grave 039
Memorial ID 906 · View Source
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Actress, Singer. She was born Lillian Rutstein in Boston to (hopeful actors) Arthur and Katie Rutstein with younger sister Anne following two years later. They were relentless in their goal to introduce the girls to show business. In 1916, when Lillian was five and Anne three, the family moved to New York City to be near the various casting offices. Education films became the start of Lillians entry into show business after becoming their living trademark as a statue holding a lamp symbolizing knowledge. Many bit parts immerged for the children. At six; Lillian was cast in the Shubert Broadway production, 'Inner man.' She began formal training at the Professional Children's School in New York and was again rewarded with casting in another Shubert production called 'Shaving' with the billing 'Broadway's Youngest Star.' A vaudeville tour on the B.F. Keith circuit followed which made both of the girl's famous. During a show in Washington D.C., attended by President and Mrs Wilson, culminated in a meeting after the show where the enamored President took the girls for a ride in his open touring car. In the late'20s and early '30's, Lillian starred onstage in Earl Carroll's Vanities and Ziegfeld's Midnight Frolics. She was invited to Hollywood after their agent saw her during a New York show. A few very successful Hollywood films...'The Vagabond King, Animal Crackers, Madam Satan, Paramount On Parade and Ladies They Talk About.' She became a millionaire during the Great Depression. Lillian was an excellent vocalist, often toured and had bookings at various nightclubs. Some of her signature songs...'Sing you sinners, Anytime's The Time to Fall in Love and If I could Be With You.' Unfortunately, by the end of the 30s, her career was over and she disappeared from the theatre scene. Her private life was in scrambles decimated by Alcoholism. Lillian with suicidal tendencies, became a common drunk which led to failed marriages (total eight) and even incarceration at mental facilities. Finally, her friends and Alcoholic Anonymous were her salvation. In the late 40's she reemerged as a songstress again doing club work. A sober Lillian appeared across the country and then Australian and New Zealand. She returned again to Hollywood with a successful booking at Ciro's. In 1953, she was featured on television's This Is Your Life. The show, together with the publication of Roth's autobiography, I'll Cry Tomorrow rekindled her fame. A blockbuster film with the same name was released in 1955 starring Susan Hayward ( fourth Oscar nomination) as Lillian. She would become the first celebrity to associate her name with Alcoholics Anonymous, putting a face on her disease. Roth was able to fashion a new career and returned to her profession while working regularly in clubs and on television for the rest of her life. In 1977, half a lifetime after her last film, she appeared in a minor role in the Brooke Shields debut feature film Communion. Lillian again appeared in Broadway shows, 'I Can Get It For You Wholesale and 70 Girls 70.' She died of a stroke at age 69 in New York City and was interred at Mt. Pleasant Cemetery in Hawthorne, New York. Her simple flat marker bears the poignant inscription 'As bad as it was, it was good.'

Bio by: Donald Greyfield

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  • Maintained by: Find a Grave
  • Added: 31 Dec 2000
  • Find a Grave Memorial 906
  • Find a Grave, database and images ( : accessed ), memorial page for Lillian Roth (13 Dec 1910–12 May 1980), Find a Grave Memorial no. 906, citing Mount Pleasant Cemetery, Hawthorne, Westchester County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .