Ruth “Dusty” Anderson is a successful American model in the 1940s also known as a pin-up girl on cover magazines. This launched a movie career, which only lasted a few years despite her massive fame and popularity.
Since then, many fans have wondered why she quit so early. And what did she do after she stopped acting?
Stay tuned to find out what happened to Dusty Anderson, the reason she quit acting to what she did afterward.
Dusty Anderson, Christened Anderson, born in Toledo, Ohio, on December 17, 1918, to Oscar Emanuel Anderson and Grave Halbert Neilson. In her early years, she attended a photography school in Toledo, and she saved up to buy two expensive cameras. During a trip to Lake Erie, a flurry of wind overturned the canoe, and her cameras sunk to the lake. Dusty decided to take up modeling for other photographers to earn money for her equipment and it becomes a career. This kickstarted her career as a model.
Later on, she moved to New York. There, she signed a contract with Harry Conover, who renamed her Dusty and makes her a cover girl. In New York, she met US Marine Corps Captain Charles Mathieu Jr on July 18, 1941, the couple got married.
Rise to stardom
Anderson began her career as a model and made her film debut in the 1944 Columbia Pictures production of Cover Girl in a modest part as one of the cover girls. The production even featured iconic actress Rita Hayworth. In Hollywood, Dusty landed a contract with Columbia Pictures, the next three years, appeared in another eight films. The movies were namely Tonight and Every Night (1945), Crime Doctor’s Warning (1945), and The Phantom Thief (1946). Although mainly playing minor roles, Dusty’s beauty didn’t go unseen, and she was pretty popular at the time.
She appeared on the cover of the October 27, 1944, and December 14, 1945 issues of Yank, The Army Weekly. During World War II, the United States military issued a weekly magazine called Army Weekly. Her first outing as a pin-up girl was in the October issue. Despite her impressive acting career, it was her pin-up work that made her famous.
Dusty’s Unstable Love Life
Dusty’s doing okay, if not in her career as an actress, but this was about her love life. It started in February I945, two months after her husband returned from the war. Dusty Anderson filed for divorce, citing domestic violence.
Apparently, in the course of an argument, her husband beat her and gave her a black eye. This was enough to finalize their divorce.
During the messy divorce process, Dusty attended an auction in Beverly Hills. At the same auction is Hollywood director Jean Negulesco, who spots Dusty and describes her as:
“…a tall, shapely beauty, wearing a black hood, a black turtle-neck sweater, and black leather slacks.”
Her friend and escort at the event, publicist Dorothy Campbell, introduced the two to each other. Dusty played it cool and returns to the auction to bid on an antique mirror. She failed to win it because Jean outbid her. Jean did this because he planned to invite her to his place for dinner and gift her the mirror. But, she left before he could make his move.
Jean didn’t give up on her, as he made a few inquiries, discovered her phone number, and asked her out. She initially said no because she was in the middle of a divorce and had been instructed to lay low to avoid complicating proceedings. But weeks later, she called him back to accept his invitation.
Dusty Anderson’s divorce from Captain Charles Mathieu became ﬁnal in June 1946, and on July 21, she and Jean got married. Their wedding was an informal affair organized in the back garden of the home of director Howard Hawks, who was Jean’s best man.
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Dusty Picks up a New Interest.
After she remarried in 1946, Dusty continued her acting career until 1951, when she officially retired, which concluded her brief Seven-year career as an actress.
In the latter years of her career, after she had married Jean, Dusty picked up painting as a new passion. Jean and his wife Dusty both shared a strong interest in fine art. Jean came to Hollywood from Romania, where he was a renowned painter. Dusty studied for six years at the Museum of Art of Toledo and has tried her hand at both painting and photography.
In October 1950, Dusty had an exhibition where she displayed 15 of her latest paintings at a big show at Drouant-David gallery in Paris, France.
Her pictures included London’s River Thames scenes, conventional flowers and fruit, a study of her two Siamese cats, and a self-portrait. Given her newfound passion for painting, she decided to direct her efforts to painting following her official retirement in 1951.
In August 1955, it was reported that Dusty Negulesco had made significant progress as a painter, and had received good notices from art critics. Her paintings even appear in at least two of Jean’s movies: Daddy Long Legs and The Best of Everything. This further highlighted her success as a painter and proved that a career change was perhaps the right choice.
Dusty Anderson and Jean’s Marital issues
Dusty was enjoying her new career as a painter and informed Jean that she wanted to go to Paris to study art and improve her technique. Jean wasn’t in favor because he believed it would require at least two years of study and practice.
This became a source of contention between the couple. Another is Jean’s infidelity. Although he was married, he never let go of his playboy reputation, and he continued to sleep with other women. His bungalow on the 20th Century-Fox lot, where he invited celebrities for lunch, is known as “Bangalow.”
The marriage went downhill from there, and in May 1953, Dusty leaves for Paris with Dee Hartford, Howard Hawks’ wife, without the consent of her husband.
To get Dusty back, Jean persuaded his boss to assign him to Europe and decided to work in Italy on the production of the movie “Three Coins in the Fountain.”
En route to Rome, he stopped in Paris to apologize and talk Dusty into a reconciliation. The couple made up, and a few days later, Dusty joins Jean in Rome.
Dusty had to cope with Jean’s love affairs throughout their marriage, but she also found ways to get her revenge. When she suspected that he had a crush on Sophia Loren while making Boy On a Dolphin, she travelled on his credit card, sparing no expense. This put Jean in check, who later commented on how much he paid for his infidelity. He said he’s still paying the bills to this day, and his weakness cost him a fortune.
Dusty starts a family.
Weeks before getting married in July 1946, Dusty realized she’s pregnant. After five months of pregnancy, Dusty had a miscarriage, making her very sick. Dusty and Jean didn’t give up after this setback, and they try again, but the same thing happens, Dusty loses the baby once again. At this point, her doctors advised Dusty to give up on having a baby so as not to endanger her health.
Her inability to have a child affected Dusty significantly, and upon accepting it, she and her husband turn their parental yearnings elsewhere. They began to support orphans under the Foster Parents for War Children plan. On a trip to Italy in August 1953, they invited nine-year-old war-orphan Adelina Peluso from Naples to Rome to meet them. They supported her for three years without meeting her, and on this occasion, Dusty bought her a new wardrobe. This was one of several occasions where they supported and met up with children in need.
Then, in 1959 while Jean was away in Hong Kong, Dusty discovered illegitimate children born during the war and abandoned by their parents. She found a three-month-old girl in a hospital in Stuttgart, Germany named Christina, and, after consulting with Jean, took the next plane to Germany to adopt her. She also found another little girl, Gabrielle, born May 8, 1958, whom she adopted to be Christina’s sister.
Unable to conceive any children of her own, these two little girls became Dusty’s daughters, her family, and another reason to enjoy her retirement and to leave the life of glamour behind.
In 1963, Jean, Dusty, and their two adopted children, Tina and Gaby, moved to Madrid, partly the result of Jean’s desire to work in Europe. Jean brought his career to a close in 1970 with the release of “Hello-Goodbye.” He retired to enjoy all he has built and spend time with his family. At this point, he was a wealthy man with a fabulous art collection, houses in different parts of the world, and of course, a beautiful wife.
In 1993, Jean’s health suddenly deteriorated. On the 18th of July, three days before their 47th wedding anniversary, he died at home of heart failure with Dusty at his bedside.
Dusty Anderson lived a peaceful, secluded life for several years after her husband’s death. She also reportedly spent part of her years in a nursing home, until her death on the 12th of September, 2007, at age 90 in Marbella, Spain.
In the end, it sounds like she spent many peaceful years with her family after deciding to retire from acting. Now let’s hear from you – Do you have a favorite Dusty Anderson movie, or do you remember her best as a pin-up? Let us know in the comments below! And if you enjoyed this video, make sure to hit the like button and subscribe to FactsVerse for more videos!