Ruth Robinson

born: 18 August 1887
Topeka, Kansas,
United States of America
died: 17 March 1966
Los Angeles, California,
United States of America
(age 78)

American actress who spent many years in stock acting companies doing everything from melodrama to musical comedies to great reviews. She was very popular and became a master of makeup, costuming and characterizations in a long career into television. She was married at age 19 and a widow at age 22. If you look at the records, her Dad was married at age 13 to her mother aged 18 and her Dad was 14 when she was born! It took a newspaper search to figure out that her Dad and Mom divorced when she was 4 because he was alcoholic and threatened to kill the Mom and abandoned them and the man in "the records" was actually her step-Dad who was only 6 years younger than the Mom.

With regards to her birth date of 18 August 1887: the 1900 Census says she was born "Aug 1888": also the 1920 Census. The 1895 KS Census; 1910 Census; 1940 Census;her 1906 and 1912 marriage certificates; and 1894 newspaper article all say "1887". The 1930 Census says she was born in 1895.
With regards to her place of birth of Topeka, Kansas: Ruth has 3 "findagrave" pages. One says she was born near Lawrence, KS. The 1886 Lawrence KS Marriage Licence for her Mom and Dad says the Mom is from Lawrence and the Dad from Topeka.

Records indicate that Ruth's natural Father (John "W" or "T" Woodall) was born in TN about 1865. The Mom, Hattie Hopper (1869-1935) in her 1894 divorce filing says his last known whereabouts was Boston, MA. Haven't found a marriage record for when the Mom married Walter Scott Johnson (1875-1948). In 1900, he was a "restaurant" employee. Hattie was working at Fred Harvey's Eating House in Topeka in 1894. This could be where they met and it makes her one of the early "Harvey Girls". They were divorced in 1909 in CO. He eventually became a successful restaurateur in Colorado Springs, CO.
In 1906, Ruth married Archie E. Robinson (1880-1909), an actor and manager of the acting company in which she was the lead player. Her mother was also one of the players. They were married on a Saturday in Allen County KS shortly after midnight because Ruth was superstitious and actors believed it is "unlucky" to be married on a Friday. Her husband died of tuberculous 3 years later.
In 1912, in Muskogee OK, Ruth married Frank C. Carter (1872-??) an actor and manager of the stock company of which she was the lead actor. They obtained the marriage license and waited for the first "sunny day to tie the knot" because Ruth believed in the old adage "Happy is the bride whom the sun shines on". They married the following (sunny) Monday and divorced sometime before 1920 (Census).
One of the findagrave sites says she was married to a Mr.Hackley after 1912 (no source). She lists herself as "widow" in the 1940 Census.
Real name: Ruth A. Woodall
Films listed on this page: complete Hal Roach filmography.


Tired Business Men
Joe's mother

Acknowledgements & sources: (1886 Mom Hattie Hopper marries Dad John W. Woodall in Lawrence, KS) (1894 Mom seeks divorce from Woodall) (1894 Dad is drunkard; abusive; abandons family) (1895 Topeka KS Census: with Mom & grandparents; age 7) (1900 Census Topeka: born Aug.1888) (1910 Census Topeka; actress; widow; age 22) (1920 Census Denver CO; divorced; age 31; professional theatre) (1930 Census; divorced; age 35; actress vaudeville) (1940 Census LA; widow; age 52; actress motion pictures) (1906 marriage license; Ruth a. Woodall & Archie Robinson) (1906 marries Robinson; superstitious) (1909 Obituary of Archie Robinson) (1909 Obituary of Archie Robinson) (1912 Marriage License; Frank C. Carter; Muskogee, OK) (1912 marriage to Carter; superstitious) (1966 findagrave; born near Lawrence, KS) (1966 findagrave; born Topeka) (1966 findagrave; married Hackley) (1966 CA Death Index; Mother: Hopper)
Matthew Lydick (identification in Tired Business Men)
Jim Jarvis (research)

This page was last updated on: 03 June 2019