Queer Places:
Dakota Apartments, 1 W 72nd St, New York, NY 10023, Stati Uniti
Rose Hill Cemetery Brookhaven, Lincoln County, Mississippi, USA

Pierre Balmain and Ruth Ford, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, November 9, 1947.jpgRuth Ford (July 7, 1911 – August 12, 2009) was an American model and actress. Her brother was the bohemian surrealist Charles Henri Ford. Their parents owned or managed hotels in the American South, and the family regularly moved.

Born in Brookhaven, Mississippi, Ford was the daughter of Charles Lloyd Ford and Gertrude Cato, who owned hotels in four towns in the South.[1] She was a graduate of the University of Mississippi.[2] As a model, Ford posed for photographers Cecil Beaton, Man Ray, and Carl Van Vechten, among others.[1] She married actor Peter Van Eyck in 1940, but the marriage was unsuccessful.[1] Van Eyck was the father of her daughter, Shelley, who was born in 1941. Before Ford's trip to Hollywood, she was a member of Orson Welles' Mercury Theatre, and appeared in his film Too Much Johnson (1938), which was considered lost until the rediscovery of footage in 2013.[3] Welles' assistance helped her to land contracts with Columbia Pictures and Warner Bros. studios. Ford's Broadway debut was in The Shoemaker's Holiday (1938). Among her other Broadway performances, she starred in Poor Murderer (1976).[4]

In 1948 William Faulkner published a new book, Intruder in the Dust. His publishers were so pleased that they asked him to come to New York to celebrate its publication. Though in the late 1920s and early 1930s, Faulkner regularly visited New York, in 1948 he had not been to New York in ten years. Bennett Cerf not only invited Faulkner to New York to celebrate Intruder, but he also went so far as to extend an invitation to Faulkner to stay at his home while he was in town. Faulkner accepted the invitation to New York, but he declined the invitation to stay with the Cerfs. Instead, he wrote to request that Cerf book him a room at the Algonquin Hotel. Cerf complied with Faulkner’s wishes and made the arrangements. Faulkner then wrote to Cerf that he had tentative plans to meet “a Mississippi friend, an actress, Ruth Ford” when he arrived. Faulkner arrived in New York in late October. On Saturday, 23 October, Cowley noted that he had joined Faulkner for dinner on the previous “Tuesday [19 October] evening at the Park avenue apartment of Robert Haas”. On the evening of 23 October, Cowley was called to New York to retrieve Faulkner from the Algonquin. On 26 October, three days after his arrival at the Cowleys’ home, Faulkner returned to New York. According to Malcolm Cowley, Faulkner took with him Cowley’s copy of The Lost Weekend, by Charles Jackson. In interviews with Ruth Ford, it was possible to reconstruct what happened on Saturday, 23 October, that led to Faulkner’s arrival at Cowley’s house. After dinner on Tuesday night at Haas’s apartment, Faulkner began drinking alone in his room at the Algonquin. Ford called on him the next day to invite him out, but, as Blotner explains, “When he declined she thought his voice sounded strange. She called him the next day, and again he wouldn’t go out, and his voice sounded even stranger. There was no answer at all when the operator rang his room on Friday”. Recognizing that something was wrong, Ford went to check on Faulkner with the help of her friend Harvey Breit. She found Faulkner in his room, semiconscious from his extreme drinking, and called an ambulance. Given Faulkner’s condition and his desire to avoid a hospital stay, Ford devised a plan: send Faulkner to the Cowleys’ home in Sherman where he could recuperate for a few days and dry out under the watchful eye of Malcolm and Muriel Cowley.

Pierre Balmain and Ruth Ford, photographed by Carl Van Vechten, November 9, 1947.jpg
by Carl Van Vechten


by George Platt Lynes


by George Platt Lynes


by Man Ray

Ruth Ford by Man Ray
by Man Ray

Ford married film star Zachary Scott, and they remained together until Scott's death in 1965. Scott adopted Shelley, who took the name Shelley Scott. Zachary Scott reportedly died penniless except for a $100,000 insurance policy he left for his widow. Later, in the 1970s, she was involved in a relationship with a much younger man, the writer Dotson Rader.[5] Ford died in New York City.

In May 2010 it was reported, originally in The Wall Street Journal, that Ford's estate had been worth $8.4 million, almost all of it in the value of two apartments she owned in the apartment building The Dakota in Manhattan, where she died at the age of 98 in 2009. One of the apartments had belonged to her brother Charles, who predeceased her. She bequeathed the apartments to her cook/butler, Indra Tamang, a Nepalese-American whom Charles Henri Ford had brought to New York. Ford's daughter and grandchildren reportedly were disinherited.[6]


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