Hussey was born in Providence, Rhode Island, October 30, 1911. She was also known as Ruth Carol O’Rourke Her father, George R. Hussey, died of the Spanish flu in 1918 when she was seven years old. Ten years later, her mother married a family friend, William O’Rourke, who had worked at the family’s mail-order silver enterprise, the renowned Baird-North Company in Providence. Following graduation from the Providence public schools, she went on to study art at Pembroke College, graduating in 1936. She never landed a role in any of the plays for which she tried out at Pembroke. She then received a degree in theatre from at the University of Michigan School of Drama, and worked as an actress with a summer stock company in Michigan for two seasons. She also attended Boston Business College and Michigan School of Drama. After working as an actress in summer stock, she returned to Providence and worked as a radio fashion commentator on a local station. She wrote the ad copy for a Providence clothing store and read it on the radio each afternoon. She was encouraged by a friend to try out for acting roles at the Providence Playhouse. The theater director there turned her down, saying the roles were cast only out of New York City. Later that week, she journeyed to New York City and on her first day there, she signed with a talent agent who booked her for a role in a play starting the next day back at the Providence Playhouse.
On August 9, 1942, Hussey married talent agent and radio producer C. Robert “Bob” Longenecker (1909–2002) at Mission San Antonio de Pala in north San Diego County, California. Longenecker was born and raised in Lititz, Pennsylvania. They raised three children: George Robert Longenecker, John William Longenecker, and Mary Elizabeth Hendrix. Following the birth of her children, Hussey focused much of her attention on family activities, and in 1964, designed a family cabin in the mountain community of Lake Arrowhead, California. In 1977, her husband and she moved from their Brentwood family home to Rancho Carlsbad in Carlsbad, California. Her husband died in 2002 shortly after celebrating their 60th wedding anniversary. Her son John Longenecker works as a cinematographer and film director. He won an Academy Award for producing a live-action short film The Resurrection of Broncho Billy (1970). Hussey died April 19, 2005, at the age of 93, from complications from an appendectomy.
- October, 30, 1911
- Providence, Rhode Island
- April, 19, 2005
- Newbury Park, Connecticut
Cause of Death
- Pierce Brothers Valley Oaks Memorial Park
- Westlake Village, California