Saturday, December 06, 2008

Nina Foch: Actress, Teacher, Trojan

Actress-teacher Nina Foch passed away yesterday at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center in Los Angeles. She was 84.

Foch taught directing at USC's Cinema School for four decades. She became ill while teaching a class on Thursday.

I associate Foch most strongly with her role as Gene Kelly's wealthy patron in AN AMERICAN IN PARIS (1951), which I just watched again recently. Foch participated in a new interview for the outstanding DVD extras. I'm very glad her memories of that film were preserved not only on the DVD but in the book THE MAGIC FACTORY.

Foch was one of the actresses spotlighted at a festival at UCLA this fall which centered on stars of film noir at Columbia Studios in the '40s and '50s.

Miss Foch was nominated for the Best Supporting Actress Oscar for EXECUTIVE SUITE (1954).

She was also in SCARAMOUCHE (1952), reviewed here last summer.

Her last acting role was in an episode of THE CLOSER last year. (Update: Thanks to a tribute at Arbogast for reminding me she also recently played David McCallum's mother in a couple episodes of NCIS.)

Tributes to Foch have been posted at Thrilling Days of Yesteryear and Ain't It Cool News.

Foch, who has also taught acting, was quoted several years ago as saying "Teaching is the most rewarding thing I do. It has been the most successful thing I've done in my life."

Foch was a unique actress who also influenced countless other artists. She led a most interesting life. I'm sure she will be missed by many, including her colleagues and students at USC.

April 1, 2009 Update: USC Will Pay Tribute to Nina Foch.


Blogger mel said...

Thank you for your tribute to Nina Foch. Of course, I will always remember her for her role in An American In Paris. But until now I wasn't aware of her passing or of other activities.

Thank you also for the links to the other tributes to her.

9:38 PM  
Blogger J.C. Loophole said...

One of my favorite performances from Nina was her role as Ellen in Illegal (1953) with Edward G. Robinson, released in the most recent Volume (4) of Film Noir sets from Warner Brothers- I believe she also did a commentary track on that, but I can't be sure offhand. If I am remembering right, she has done several commentary tracks, not only as a remembering actress, but as a film expert and teacher- she was very good and will be well remembered.

7:48 AM  
Blogger Laura said...

You're very welcome, Mel. I remember you are particularly fond of AN AMERICAN IN PARIS.

J.C., several members of our family enjoyed ILLEGAL last month, but I was working at the time. I'm looking forward to it. Thanks for sharing your thoughts on the movie.

Her early short WAGON WHEELS WEST (1943) is on the MONTANA disc in the new Errol Flynn Westerns set, BTW. I've also seen it via TCM. Foch fans might want to check it out. :)

Best wishes,

8:26 AM  
Blogger Terri said...

Oh my! I remember her has "Ducky's mom" on NCIS, but I never associated her with An American in Paris. Bless her heart.

3:31 PM  

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