She was an instant success in New York, and the top vocalist in the country for a number of years. Ruth was born in David City, Nebraska. Her mother died when she was 5, and her father left her with her grandparents, George and Hannah Etting, who owned a roller mill. Her father remarried and moved away, seldom visiting his daughter.
When she was 17 she moved to Chicago to attend art school, and got a job designing costumes at a night club. One night the tenor got sick and since she was the only one who could sing low enough, she took his place, and landed a job in the chorus. By 1918 she was one of the club's featured vocalists. It was there she met Moe "The Gimp" Snyder, a wanna-be gangster who took over management of Ruth's career and married her in 1922.
After her New York sucess, she moved to Los Angeles and had roles in a number of films including Roman Scandals with Eddie Cantor. There are conflicting stories about the scandal that virtually ended her career. The marriage between Ms. Etting and The Gimp was virtually loveless from the beginning, and he was a demanding and controlling manager who would not let other men near his wife.
They were divorced in 1937. While in Los Angeles she began spending time with Myrl Alderman, a pianist who had played with her earlier in her career. In 1938, The Gimp forced his way into Ruth's house, and shot Alderman, wounding him. The subsequent trial put a halt to her career, although she did make some appearances in 1947.
Ruth and Myrl married and retired to Colorado Springs, where she died in 1978. The academy award nominated movie version of her life story, Love me or Leave Me, with Jimmy Cagney and Doris Day, was apparently highly fictionalized. Read more on Last.fm. User-contributed text is available under the Creative Commons By-SA License; additional terms may apply..
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