Alice Drummond Dies At Aged 88

Alice Drummond, an actress who was a Broadway regular in the 1960s and ’70s then played an array of older women, from mild-mannered to deranged, in blockbuster films like “Ghostbusters,” “Awakenings” and “Doubt,” died on Wednesday in the Bronx. She was 88.

Her friend and executor, the actress June Gable, said that the cause was complications of a fall Ms. Drummond sustained about two months ago.

Ms. Drummond acted on and off Broadway and on television before her first role in a feature film: a brief appearance in the 1970 Rob Reiner comedy “Where’s Poppa?”

Slight of build, she often projected an air of befuddled vulnerability on camera and in later years tended to be typecast as an elderly and sometimes infirm woman.

She harnessed that air for dramatic effect in “Awakenings” (1990), the film adaptation of a memoir by the neurologist Oliver Sacks, in which she played one of Robin Williams’s catatonic patients, and as a nun alongside Philip Seymour Hoffman, Meryl Streep and Amy Adams in “Doubt” (2008).

Ms. Drummond also had more comic turns. She delivered a vicious laugh line to Jim Carrey as the unhinged mother of a failed Miami Dolphins kicker in “Ace Ventura: Pet Detective” (1994), saying: “Dan Marino should die of gonorrhea and rot in hell. Would you like a cookie, son?”

She also appeared in the opening scene of “Ghostbusters” (1984) as a librarian who is terrified by a spook in the stacks and then interrogated by Bill Murray.

Her most recent feature film was the 2010 comedy “Furry Vengeance,” which starred Brendan Fraser and Brooke Shields, in a part a review described as a “senile senior.”

She was born Alice Elizabeth Ruyter in Pawtucket, R. I., on May 21, 1928, to Arthur Ruyter, an auto mechanic, and the former Sarah Irene Alker, a secretary.

In 1950, she graduated Phi Beta Kappa from Pembroke College, Brown University’s women’s school at the time. She married Paul Drummond in 1951, and they eventually moved to Manhattan, where she acted professionally.

Her Off Broadway appearances included Edward Albee’s “The American Dream” in 1962 and Scott McPherson’s “Marvin’s Room” in 1991. OnBroadway, she was seen in the original 1963 production of Albee’s “The Ballad of the Sad Cafe.” Her last Broadway role was in a 1983 revival of the Moss Hart-George S. Kaufman comedy “You Can’t Take It With You.”

Ms. Drummond played recurring characters on the soap operas “Dark Shadows” and “Ryan’s Hope.”

Her other films include the comedy “To Wong Foo, Thanks for Everything, Julie Newmar” (1995), which starred Wesley Snipes, Patrick Swayze and John Leguizamo in drag.

Ms. Drummond and her husband separated in 1975 and divorced the next year. No immediate family members survive.

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