She was Rosalind Russell, and she grew up in Waterbury. The Courant followed her career from the beginning. Describing her in 1937 as "a former Waterbury society girl," Russell was one of seven children, the daughter of famous trial attorney James E. Russell, and wife Clara, a school teacher. She began acting at Notre Dame Academy where the nuns allowed her to produce a play she had written.
"I took the leading role myself," she told a reporter about her first stage work. "You can be sure I didn't write a juicy part for anyone else. But I never believed I would end up singing on Broadway [in the musical 'Wonderful Town']. Actually, I don't sing. I gargle."
In 1943, Russell was nominated for a best actress Oscar for "My Sister Eileen," competing against another Connecticut native, KatharineHepburn for "Woman of the Year." (Greer Garson won for "Mrs. Miniver.") Russell would be nominated four times in all but she never won an Oscar for any of her now-classic performances. (She received an Oscar for her humanitarian work in 1973. She died in 1976 at the age of 69.)
She told a reporter that the roles in the '40s were a mixed bag. "The plots were all the same and so were the tailored suits I wore.
"As an actress in love with my profession I have always welcomed character roles. … Maybe that's because I'm such a character myself. … I counted once. I did 26 career women. You name the firms, I was head of all of them."
Her first stage appearance in Connecticut — not counting the Notre Dame experience — was in 1953 at New Haven's Shubert Theater in what would be her Tony award winning role in "Wonderful Town," where she "received wide acclaim from the critics," The Courant reported.
She returned to her hometown in 1955 to perform in "The Girl Rush" at the State Theater on East Main Street.
She was also known for being outspoken when needed to protect her well-earned turf.
When a young actor tried to upstage her in a film, she replied, "I wouldn't do that, Sonny. I'm the producer's girlfriend," referring to her husband Frederick Brisson.
"I was a bachelor girl for a long time," The Courant reported. "One of my friends said it was because I talked too much. Then I got a crush on Cary Grant. He showed up for a date with his agent, Freddie. Before long I married Freddie [in 1941] and Cary was best man."