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Ruth Lane

Professor of Theater, Film and Television, Emerita

UC Los Angeles



Ruth Lane was born Ruth Ransom Covell in Washington, D.C. January 19, 1909. She made her stage acting debut at the age of twelve in Atlantic City, New Jersey in a play written especially for her. She attended Hollywood High School, where she graduated in 1927, and studied acting at the Marta Oatman studio in Los Angeles. In 1928 she joined the permanent company at the Pasadena Playhouse under the tutelage of its founder Gilmor Brown, and in 1929 played a season of summer stock in Wichita, Kansas.


She met her future husband, stage and film actor Charles Lane at the Playhouse, and they were married in 1931. They both performed for many years there, Ruth in over 60 productions. During this time they also appeared in numerous productions at Gilmor Brown’s Playbox, an intimate theater, and in the 1940s and 50s both were also members of Eighteen Actors, a troupe of local players looking to stretch their acting horizons in more challenging roles by such playwrights as Ibsen, Strindberg, etc. This group included among others Victor and Jean Inness Jory, Dana and Mary Todd Andrews, Robert Preston, and long time UCLA Theater Arts faculty members Ralph Freud and Doro Foulger. In 1953 Ruth played in the Stage Door Summer Stock Company in San Gabriel, with her husband Charles as producer. UCLA Theater Arts Professor Walden Boyle also performed with this company. Most of the Lanes’ professional colleagues were also lifelong close personal friends.


From 1957 to 1960 Ruth taught acting at the Pasadena Playhouse School of the Theater and at Perry-Mansfield Summer Theater Workshop in Steamboat Springs, Colorado. In 1961 she began teaching at UCLA Extension, and in 1963 joined the faculty of the Theater Arts Department where she continued until her retirement in 1973. She compiled and published a book, Scenebook For Student Actors, which remained in print for over a decade and was used in acting classes throughout the country. After her retirement she continued to privately coach some former students preparing for professional auditions.


She is survived by her husband Charles, son Tom, daughter Alice Deane and granddaughter Lucy Graves.


Thomas Lane
Vay Liang “Bill” Go, UEPRRC chair (Reviewed Statement)