Stonehouse, Ruth (1893–1941)

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Stonehouse, Ruth (1893–1941)

American silent-film actress and director. Born in 1893; died in 1941.

Selected filmography (as an actress):

The Papered Door (1911); Billy McGrath's Love Letters (1912); Chains (1912); From the Submerged (1912); Neptune's Daughter (1912); Sunshine (1912); Twilight (1912); Broken Threads United (1913); Home Spun (1913); In Convict's Garb (1913); The Pathway of Years (1913); The Spy's Defeat (1913); Thy Will Be Done (1913); A Woman's Way (1913); An Angel Un-aware (1914); Ashes of Hope (1914); The Battle of Love (1914); Blood Will Tell (1914); The Hand That Rocks the Cradle (1914); Night Hawks (1914); The Other Girl (1914); Sparks of Fate (1914); Splendid Dishonor (1914); Trinkets of Tragedy (1914); Above the Abyss (1915); An Amateur Prodigal (1915); The Fable of the Galumptious Girl (1915); A Night in Kentucky (1915); The Romance of an American Duchess (1915); The Slim Princess (1915); When My Lady Smiles (1915); The Adventures of Peg o' the Ring (serial, 1916); Dorothy Dares (1916); The Heart of Mary Ann (1916); Love Never Dies (1916); Mary Ann in Society (1916); Daredevil Dan (1917); Follow the Girl (1917); A Limb of Satan (1917); Love Aflame (1917); The Phantom Husband (1917); The Stolen Actress (1917); Tacky Sue's Romance (1917); A Walloping Time (1917); The Masked Rider (serial, 1919); The Master Mystery (serial, 1919); Puppy Love (1919); Are All Men Alike? (1920); Hope (1920); The Land of Jazz (1920); Parlor Bedroom and Bath (1920); Don't Call Me Little Girl (1921); I Am Guilty (1921); Flames of Passion (1923); The Flash (1923); Lights Out (1923); The Way of the Transgressor (1923); Broken Barriers (1924); A Girl of the Limberlost (1924); Blood and Steel (1925); Fifth Avenue Models (1925); The Fugitive (1925); A Two-Fisted Sheriff (1925); Broken Homes (1926); The Wives of the Prophet (1926); Poor Girls (1927); The Satin Woman (1927); The Ape (1928); The Devil's Cage (1928).

Born in 1893, Ruth Stonehouse began her career as a dancer in vaudeville when she was eight years old. Also an aerialist, she later became an actress and formed a partnership with Bronco Billy Anderson at Essanay Studios of Chicago. As early as 1911, she had become one of the company's leading players, appearing opposite such silent-screen stars as Francis X. Bush-man, Harry Houdini, and Norma Shearer . As an actress, Stonehouse believed she was being typecast in submissive "little girl" roles; to combat this image, she began working behind the camera. In 1916, she joined other women directors hired by Universal Studios, such as Lois Weber , Ida May Park , Cleo Madison , Grace Cunard , Elsie Jane Wilson , and Ruth Ann Baldwin , to write, direct, and star in their own films. During the early 1920s, Stonehouse returned to acting in supporting roles for Universal and other studios, a career that ended in 1928. Although Stonehouse was proud of her work as a director, as noted in a Women Film Directors profile, her directorial film work has either been lost or is otherwise unavailable, thus impeding an accurate assessment. She died in 1941.


Foster, Gwendolyn A., ed. Women Film Directors: An International Bio-critical Dictionary. Westport, CT: Greenwood Press, 1995.

Katz, Ephraim. The Film Encyclopedia. 3rd ed. rev. by Fred Klein and Ronald Dean Nolan. NY: Harper-Perennial, 1998.

Slide, Anthony. Silent Portraits: Stars of the Silent Screen in Historic Photographs. Vestal, NY: Vestal Press, 1989.

Barbara Koch , freelance writer, Farmington Hills, Michigan