In the New York Times on Friday appeared a remarkable obituary, for a woman, more or less entirely unknown, at least in recent years, called Ruth Ford, dead at 98. If nothing else, she was the sister of the poet, editor, and man-about-town Charles Henri Ford, and as such likely one of the last links back to ever more distant figures of the first half of the twentieth century - Stein, Djuna Barnes, the Sitwells.
But she was much more - a Manhattan model in the '30s, she survived a profoundly unrewarding film career (28 films between 1938 and 1946, most of them meaty parts like "Cadet Gladdens' Sweetheart" in Men of the Sky or "Pretty French Girl" in Divide and Conquer. It's hard to imagine more forgotten pictures), became a fixture of the New York stage, and found her real calling in life as a saloniste. Married to sometime-film-star-himself Zachary Scott, she settled into a rambling flat at the Dakota and spent the next four decades introducing people - people like Sondheim and Arthur Laurents, who ended up writing West Side Story with another eventual Dakotan, Bernstein.
Oh, and guess what? She was a good friend of Leo Lerman's (I really am starting to harp, aren't I?), even though he called her "as loud and as raucous as a ballyhoo truck on a dim night and even harder." She's seen here at a fitting - with Balmain.
As these folks go, you know, we shan't see their like again...