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Nina Foch Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4)  | Mini Bio (2)  | Spouse (3)  | Trivia (14)  | Personal Quotes (13)

Overview (4)

Born in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands
Died in Los Angeles, California, USA  (complications from myelodysplasia)
Birth NameNina Consuelo Maud Fock
Height 5' 8" (1.73 m)

Mini Bio (2)

A leading lady of the 1940s, the tall and blonde Foch usually played cool, aloof and often foreign, women of sophistication. As film roles became harder to find, Foch proved to be versatile in many areas. She was a panelist on several TV quiz shows, worked as George Stevens' assistant director for The Diary of Anne Frank (1959) and directed plays. Since the 1960s, she has been an acting teacher for USC and the American Film Institute.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Ray Hamel

A tall, cool drink of water best sums up this confidant blonde actress of 40s "B" mysteries, melodrama, film, and the occasional sparkling comedy at Columbia Studios. Nina was born with the unusually multi-ethnic name of Nina Consuelo Maud Fock, her father being the renowned Dutch composer and conductor Dirk Fock, and her mother the stage and silent film actress Consuelo Flowerton, who once worked in a Valentino movie. Her parents divorced while she was a toddler and she and her mother moved to New York where Nina was encouraged to indulge in her creative and artistic leanings. A teen concert pianist, Nina also excelled at painting and sculpture, but it was acting that captured her heart. With that, she trained at the American Academy of Dramatic Arts and became an enthusiastic exponent of the "Method" technique after studying with acting gurus Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.

Revising her last name to a classier sounding "Foch", Nina appeared briefly on the regional stage before earning a starlet contract with Columbia at age 19. Her debut in Bela Lugosi's The Return of the Vampire (1943) was followed by featured roles in other more or less modest efforts. She had her first standout role in the popular Chopin biopic A Song to Remember (1945) starring Cornel Wilde, which led to her title role in one of her best films My Name Is Julia Ross (1945), earning major plaudits as a heroine on the brink of madness. Despite her obvious capabilities, she became inextricably entrenched in secondary movie fare, some of them nevertheless achieving near cult status such as I Love a Mystery (1945), The Guilt of Janet Ames (1947), The Dark Past (1948), and her last for Columbia, Johnny Allegro (1949) with George Raft.

Nina relieved some of the disappointment of her film career by actively pursuing the stage, where she scored a Broadway hit with the classy comedy "John Loves Mary" in 1947, followed by productions of "The Respectful Prostitute" and "Twelfth Night". A one-time member of the American Shakespeare Festival at Stratford, she performed as Isabella in "Measure for Measure" and Katharina in "The Taming of the Shrew". She wasted no time securing early TV drama work and numerous summer stock roles also added to her enjoyment. MGM utilized her in a supporting capacity for some of their films, notably the ritzy patron and paramour-in-waiting of artist Gene Kelly whom she loses to Leslie Caron in An American in Paris (1951). The studio also handed her the Oscar-nominated role of the lonely but altruistic executive secretary in the all-star ensemble drama Executive Suite (1954). While Nina customarily lent poise and class to her on-camera roles in the late 1950s and in the 1960s, she seldom was given the chance to truly shine in the ensuing years. Nothing underscored this problem better than her standard featured parts in The Ten Commandments (1956) and Spartacus (1960).

In later years, she was seen less and less, but became a widely respected acting teacher in the Los Angeles area (notably USC) and has directed on stage. She was a senior faculty member at the American Film Institute. Recent recurring stints on TV in such shows as "Murder, She Wrote", "Bull", and "NCIS" confirm that she remained active. She was credited as an acting coach from time to time in such films as Encino Man (1992).

Married and divorced three times, one of her ex-husbands is the bearded academic and host James Lipton of Inside the Actors Studio (1994) fame on the Bravo cable station. She divorced her third husband, stage producer Michael Dewell, in 1993. Foch lived in Beverly Hills for forty years until her death. She had one child, a son, Dr. Dirk de Brito, who survived his mother.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Gary Brumburgh / Robert Sieger

Spouse (3)

Michael Dewell (31 October 1967 - 18 March 1993) ( divorced)
Dennis de Brito (27 November 1959 - 10 August 1963) ( divorced) ( 1 child)
James Lipton (12 June 1954 - 2 February 1959) ( divorced)

Trivia (14)

Daughter of Dirk Fock, conductor of the Amsterdams Concertgebouworkest, and actress and singer Consuelo Flowerton.
Last name "Foch" rhymes with "Gosh".
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Rosetta Calavetta, but was also dubbed by Lydia Simoneschi (in My Name Is Julia Ross (1945)); Rina Morelli (in The Ten Commandments (1956)) and Giovanna Scotto.
Ex-daughter-in-law of Lawrence Lipton.
Played the first person whose murder was investigated by the TV detective Lt. Columbo; killed in the pilot episode/TV movie Prescription: Murder (1968).
Her father, Dirk Fock, was born in Batavia, Java (where her grandfather was governor general of the Dutch East Indies) on June 18, 1886. He died in Locarno, Switzerland on May 24, 1973. He studied, composed and conducted orchestral music in Europe, but made his American Debut as conductor with a specially assembled orchestra at Carnegie Hall in N.Y. on April 12, 1920; also conducted orchestral groups elsewhere in the U.S., and in Vienna.
Fell ill while teaching "Directing the Actor," a popular course at USC's School of Cinematic Arts, where she taught for 40 years. She died a day later at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center of complications from long-term myelodysplasia, a blood disorder.
Her parents divorced when she was a toddler.
Had a son, Dr. Dirk De Brito (born 1960), with 'Dennis De Brito'.
Nina and her husband James Lipton became lifelong friends with Diana Ross after co-starring with her in Mahogany (1975).
Although she played Charlton Heston's adoptive mother, Yul Brynner's aunt and Cedric Hardwicke's sister in The Ten Commandments (1956), she was a year younger than Heston, four years younger than Brynner and 31 years younger than Hardwicke.
Was left-handed.
Had to wear contact lenses to make her blue eyes brown in The Ten Commandments (1956).
Received a special award from the Maryland State Council of the American Jewish Congress for her performance in The Ten Commandments (1956).

Personal Quotes (13)

Believe it or not, teaching is the most rewarding thing I do. It has been the most successful thing I've done in my life.
[on her father] He hated my mother sufficiently, my mother hated him.
[on her Oscar nomination for Executive Suite (1954)] I don't think my performance was that good, but I felt that it wasn't fair to put Eva Marie Saint in supporting. Not that I think I would have won.
[2007] I've been busy in my career and all my life. But I think the biggest thing I've done in life is teach. Breaking down every scene, every line, every beat, and putting the piece together. That's my contribution.
Now if I'd been a little more ambitious and not so sure I was nothing, the unattractive daughter of a beautiful woman and a distinguished man, I could have fought harder, and I would have gotten further.
[on her entry into the studio system] I had to do something. I didn't really have a home . . . I was a pitiful child, an unloved child.
You have a choice. You either get afraid, or you get so afraid that you're angry. It is that anger, that rage, that saved my life, I think.
You know what Einstein said? "Happiness is for cattle." You're not supposed to be happy, you're supposed to feel that you've achieved something.
I should have been directing all along, that I should have been doing. Nobody would let me, because I was a woman.
[on her The Dark Past (1948) co-stars] Bill Holden [William Holden] was a sweetheart. He was lovely to work with. I think Bill's father had made him believe that acting wasn't really a fit occupation for a man, which gave him great unhappiness. But we got along fine. Lee [Lee J. Cobb] was obnoxious. He'd come in every morning and complain about the film and how awful it was. It drove Bill crazy - he'd be dying inside. But that's how Lee cranked up his motor, by bad-mouthing everything. So I'd commiserate with Bill and get his spirits up again.
[on her early B-movies] It's extraordinary how fast we made them. You'd shoot an entire picture in 10 or 12 days. We worked six days a week. There was no turn-around time back then, so you'd work into the evening, go home for six hours and then come back to work again. The movies were called noir because no one had the time to light anything.
I've always been an outsider. In America, I've been a European. In Europe, I'm an American. On Broadway, I was from Hollywood; in Hollywood, I was from Broadway.
I wasn't very happy at Columbia. I didn't like Harry Cohn and his ilk. They wished I was prettier, had luscious lips and big tits, but I didn't. But when you were under contract to a studio, you were stuck.

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