On May 30th, Hollywood legend, actress, dancer, philanthropist and now author Ruta Lee turned 86 years old. If she has it her way, the entertainer will be here for at least another 34 years. Her desire to live a long life along with numerous stories from her amazing life are shared in Ruta’s new book Consider Your Ass Kissed.
Before you read or listen to this CYInterview, you may want to go back and listen to our first two conversations with Ruta Lee by clicking here and here. In our conversations, there are many great stories about Hollywood’s golden era, as well as revelations about some of show business’s most legendary stars.
On what it would mean to live to 120, Ms. Lee told us this:
“If the bible promises that to us, I want every single one of those years and I want them in moderately good health. You know, I don’t know long it can go on. … I still feel like I’m 32, you know, so what the hell. If God promises it to us, let’s grab every one of them and live them well.”
Through her memoir, Ruta Lee emphasizes the importance of service and making a difference in other people’s lives. She relays a variety of stories about The Thalians, the charity she was part of with her good friend, fellow Hollywood legend Debbie Reynolds. The organization’s goal is to assist peoples with mental health challenges. When it comes to charity, Ruta worries that today’s younger generations do not understand the importance of it:
“I think that we are not teaching our kids the ABCs of morality in this life and how to live it best so that you accomplish something for the world as long as you’re accomplishing something for yourself.”
Ms. Lee’s book goes into detail about her friendship with actress and singer Debbie Reynolds. One of the surprising revelations in Ruta’s autobiography is that Ms. Reynolds lived in a car with her kids at one point, because they had nowhere else to live. Ruta admits she came to the aid of her friend and admired her doing the best she could to honor her debts saying:
“I never had to suffer the way she did, the adversities of being, you know, many millions of dollars in debt thanks to Harry Karl who was, when he had it he was very good and very generous and caring and all of that good stuff. But, unfortunately, he got trapped in this need to gamble and well, what can you say. So her beautiful home, her everything was lost. Everything went to God knows where and there were many times when she and the kids slept in the car because they just didn’t have a place.
And she never opened her mouth to me about that to say, give me some money. There were times when I loaned her money and she was honorable enough to put up like her diamond earrings and say, ‘This in case I get hit by a bus, this will repay my debt.’ I call that a good Texas upbringing and, you know, caring about the fact that there’s a higher being than yourself and your manager, there’s God. And she depended, I suppose, there. And God did come through for her. He gave her talent. And she never ever, ever thought about taking a bankruptcy, which was, I think, incredible.”
Today at 86, the Seven Brides for Seven Brothers actress owns multiple homes. Her home in Hollywood was formerly owned by Orson Wells and Rita Hayworth. Ruta’s advice to young people is that owning real estate is important:
“If you are going to have something, own it. Don’t be paying big bills of rent every month to somebody else if you can do it for yourself. And that stayed with me and I always loved beautiful things and beautiful property.”
For our third CYInterview with Ruta Lee, she closed by saying this to us:
“Thank you both for caring and for letting me visit and for sharing your time and all I can do as I say, please take my book title seriously, consider your darling asses kissed. And may God smile on you both and please God, don’t forget America, smile on America. Sometimes I think we forget about God and I think we have to reach up and say help.”
Featured columnist Jay Bildstein joins us for this CYInterview and speaks with Ruta about many topics covered in her new book Consider Your Ass Kissed.
Happy Belated Birthday Ruta!!! May you have many more.
You can listen to the entire 30 minute CYInterview below:
Listen to the entire Ruta Lee CYInterview:
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You can purchase a copy of Ruta Lee’s book Consider Your Ass Kissed and find more information by clicking here.
Check out Ruta Lee’s official website by clicking here.
Find Ruta Lee on Facebook by clicking here.
Find more information about Ruta Lee’s The Thalians charity by clicking here.