(From Old Corral collection)
Above are Bob Livingston and Ruth Terry in a crop from a trade ad for GOODNIGHT, SWEETHEART (Republic, 1944).
(Courtesy of Donn & Nancy Moyer)
Above - Republic heroine Ruth Terry and Donn Moyer at the 2000 Lone Pine Festival.
Ruth Terry was born Ruth Mae McMahon in 1920 in Benton Harbor, Michigan to Milton and Dorothy McMahon.
As a youngster, Ruthie Mae McMahon was a singer and dancer in various amateur shows, sung on local Benton Harbor and St Joseph, Michigan radio, and then became a performer on the vaudeville circuit. And checking the Newspaper Archive, there are Benton Harbor, Michigan newspapers with announcements and status on their hometown celeb, Ruthie Mae McMahon - examples from the early and mid 1930s: she was performing with the Capps vaudeville troupe; with the Paul Ash Revue in Chicago; and with the Clyde McCoy Orchestra at the Terrace Garden Ballroom in Chicago.
By the late 1930s, the McMahon family had moved to California and Ruth began her Hollywood career in minor roles at 20th Century Fox and Warners ... and purportedly, she was under contract for a year or so to Howard Hughes. Father Milton - who sold real estate back in Michigan - had become her manager.
Ruth's work at Republic Pictures amounted to about two dozen movies scattered over the years 1940 - 1945. These were a mix of musicals, comedies, mysteries ... and a few B westerns with Roy Rogers (in 3) and Gene Autry (in 1). Republic kept her busy singin' and dancin', and had her under a term player contract(s) from April 15, 1942 through January 26, 1946. Ruth is probably best remembered as the lead in the musical PISTOL PACKIN' MAMA (Republic, 1943), one of several in which she co-starred with Bob Livingston of Three Mesquiteers fame.
There were three marriages:
- Ruth married Douglas Aircraft test pilot John Martin in 1942 and their son was born in 1943.
- in 1947, she exited Hollywood and married Canadian John P. Gilmour; they resided in Quebec and had a son and daughter.
- she married John E. Ledbetter in January, 1966 and they lived in California.
After her Republic contract ended, Ruth joined Guinn 'Big Boy' Williams, the Hoosier Hotshots, Sunshine Boys, Carolina Cotton and many others for SMOKY RIVER SERENADE (Columbia, 1947). Then came her marriage to Gilmour and move to Quebec.
For her work in the B western, Ruth was given a Golden Boot Award at the 2002 ceremonies.
95 year old Ruth Mae (Terry) Ledbetter passed away on March 11, 2016 in Rancho Mirage, California.
Although some of the data may be incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDb) has information on Ruth Terry: https://www.imdb.com/name/nm0856074/
YouTube has a video of Roy Rogers and Dale Evans chatting with Ruth Terry from Roy and Dale's Happy Trails Theater. At that time, Ruth was living in Rancho Mirage, California which is near Palm Springs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=2n59donx0Zk
The official Gene Autry channel on YouTube has some clips of Gene and Ruth Terry:
Gene sings "Call of the Canyon" to Ruth: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Rp_UuTvWn_k
Ruth sings "When It's Chilly Down in Chile": https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=eTxgExSjgLk
Medley of several songs: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=lbrpkOWykzY
Family Search (free), newspaper clippings, and death notice provide more on Ruth Terry and family:
- 1930 census summary and census takers worksheet - 36 year old Milton E. MacMahon (born Illinois; occupation "Agent - Real Estate"), 37 year old wife Dorothy (born Iowa), 14 year old son Stewart J. (born Michigan), and 9 year old daughter Ruthy M. (born Michigan) own their home in Benton Harbor, Berrien county, Michigan: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:XQTT-WGD
- 1940 census summary and census takers worksheet - 47 year old Milton E. McMahon (born Illinois; occupation "Manager - Mo. Pic. Actress"), his 48 year old wife Dorothy (born Iowa), 24 year old son Stewart (born Michigan; "at University"), and 19 year old daughter Ruth (born Michigan; occupation "Actress - Motion Pictures") own their home at 143 North William Avenue, Beverly Hills, California. In 1935, the family lived in Benton Harbor, Michigan: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:K97H-1XT
- Clipping from the Benton Harbor (Michigan) News-Palladium newspaper: June 22, 1942 - elopement and Las Vegas marriage of Ruth Terry and John Martin, test pilot for Douglas Aircraft: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/5660685/the_newspalladium/
- California Birth Index for John Terry Martin, born March 30, 1943 in Los Angeles county, and mother's maiden name was Mcmahon: https://www.familysearch.org/ark:/61903/1:1:VLB1-T99
- Clipping from the Benton Harbor (Michigan) News-Palladium newspaper: November 8, 1947 - Ruth Terry gives up film career, marries John P. Gilmour of Quebec and will live in Canada: https://www.newspapers.com/clip/5661496/the_newspalladium/
- Obituary at the UK Telegraph newspaper website: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/obituaries/2016/05/04/ruth-terry-hollywood-actress--obituary/
- Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website notes that Ruth and husband John E. Ledbetter (1928 - 2004) are interred together at Forest Lawn Memorial Park, Cathedral City, Riverside County, California: https://www.findagrave.com/memorial/161364209/ruth-terry