'Show stopping' actress who toured with Dame Judi Dench still performing at 88
An 88-year-old actress who has performed with the likes of Dame Judi Dench and Orson Welles is proof that age need not be an obstacle to living life to the full.
Thelma Ruby, who has lived in Wimbledon for more than 50 years, was evacuated to New York in 1940 where she trained to be an actress and on returning to the UK began entertaining the troops.
Sixty nine years later Ms Ruby is still treading the boards and is set to perform her one woman show detailing the story of her life at the Garrick Theatre in Charing Cross next month.
During her career she has performed alongside Orson Welles, Dame Judi Dench in Cabaret, and played the role of the mother in Fiddler on the Roof four times.
She said: "In the early days when I got a part with someone famous I was very in awe.
"But later I got up a bit of courage and got friendly.
"I get very friendly with Judi. She’s a wonderful performer and such a lovely person.
"She’s a terrible giggler and a delight. Orson Welles took a fancy to me only as a friend.
"Although I did have a romance with a film star Jerome Power, before I met my husband.
"He was so lovely. There have been so many highlights it would be hard to pick."
Earlier this week she performed for guests of the Wimbledon Guild at their annual luncheon.
She said: "This year was particularly good.
"They had a very good performer who was singing all the tunes they knew.
"It was so wonderful to see everyone get up and dance.
"It was an absolute joy."
Ms Ruby married her director husband, Peter Frye, at the age of 45 and together they toured the world for eight years with their play Momma Golda about Israeli Prime Minister Golda Meir.
While the couple did not have any children Ms Ruby has 10 grandchildren and 23 great grandchildren through her step daughter. On her secret to success she said: "I’m not a person that gets upset or in a temper.
"I’m a rather calm person.
"I have had a very happy life and I have never smoked and I hardly drink and I have got good genes and a very good doctor.
"I suppose it’s just to keep the brain going and to keep interest in life and to love life as much as I do."
Wendy Pridmore, Wimbledon Guild's chief executive said "Thelma has been a close friend of The Wimbledon Guild for the past seven years and she is a wonderful inspiration to our customers and staff.
"At 88 years old, Thelma continues to sing and entertain regularly and her show-stopping performances are a must for our annual Glitz of Showtime line up.
"Thelma proves that there's no age-limit when it comes to enjoying life".
Thelma Ruby will be performing her one woman show on the story of her life at the Garrick Theatre in Charing Cross on October 18.
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