Nina Foch

Nina Foch

Foch in Escape in the Fog (1945)
Born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock
(1924-04-20)April 20, 1924
Leiden, Netherlands
Died December 5, 2008(2008-12-05) (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Complications of myelodysplastic syndrome
Resting place Forest Lawn Memorial Park (Glendale), California, United States
Nationality Kingdom of the Netherlands
United States
Occupation Actress, drama teacher
Years active 1943–2007
Height 5 ft 9 in (1.75 m)[1]
Spouse(s) James Lipton (1954–59; divorced)
Dennis De Brito (1959–64; divorced)
Michael Dewell (1967–93; divorced)
Children Dirk De Brito (b. 1964)
Parent(s) Dirk Fock (father)
Consuelo Flowerton (mother)

Nina Foch (/nnə.fɑːʃ/; born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock; April 20, 1924 – December 5, 2008)[2] was a Dutch-American actress of film, stage, and television. After signing a contract with Columbia Pictures at age nineteen, the tall, blonde Foch became a regular in the studio's horror pictures and films noir before establishing herself as a leading lady in the mid-1940s through the 1950s, often playing roles as cool, aloof sophisticates.[3] Her career spanned six decades, consisting of over fifty feature films and over one hundred television appearances.

She is perhaps best known for her roles in An American in Paris (1951); Robert Wise's Executive Suite (1954), which earned her an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress; Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956); and Stanley Kubrick's Spartacus (1960).

Foch also worked prominently in television, starring in a multitude of television series from 1951 until 2007. In addition to acting, Foch taught drama at the American Film Institute and at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts, where she was a faculty member for over forty years until her death in 2008.[4]

Early life

Nina Foch was born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock[5] in Leiden, Zuid-Holland, Netherlands, to American actress and singer Consuelo Flowerton and Dutch classical music conductor Dirk Fock. Her parents divorced when she was a toddler and she and her mother moved to the United States, settling in New York City.[6][7] As Foch grew up in her mother encouraged her artistic talents; she learned piano and enjoyed art but was more interested in acting.[1] After graduating from the Lincoln School, Foch attended the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, and also studied method acting under Lee Strasberg and Stella Adler.[2]


After signing a contract with Columbia Pictures at age nineteen, Foch made her feature film debut in the studio's horror picture The Return of the Vampire (1943) with Bela Lugosi, subsequently appearing in Columbia's Cry of the Werewolf the next year. This was followed with a role in the biopic A Song to Remember (1945), the drama I Love a Mystery (1945); as well as a string of film noirs, including Escape in the Fog, My Name is Julia Ross (1945), Johnny O'Clock (1947), The Dark Past (1948), The Undercover Man (1948), and Johnny Allegro (1949). During this time, she was also a regular in John Houseman's CBS Playhouse 90 television series.

Foch in the film noir Johnny O'Clock (1947)

In 1951, Foch appeared with Gene Kelly in the musical An American in Paris, which was awarded the Best Picture Oscar that year. Foch appeared in Scaramouche (1952) as Marie Antoinette, and in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) as Bithiah, the Pharaoh's daughter who finds the infant Moses in the bulrushes, adopts him as her son, and joins him and the Hebrews in their Exodus from Egypt. In 1957, Foch was honored by the Maryland State Council of the American Jewish Congress with a special award for her performance in The Ten Commandments.[8]

Foch received a nomination for the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role in the boardroom drama Executive Suite (1954), starring William Holden, Fredric March and Barbara Stanwyck. In Spartacus (1960), starring Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier, she played a woman who chooses gladiators to fight to the death in the ring, simply for her entertainment. In 1961, she guest starred in the NBC series about the family divisions from American Civil War entitled The Americans. In 1963, she appeared on the NBC game show Your First Impression. In 1964, she played the title role in the episode "Maggie, Queen of the Jungle" of Craig Stevens's short-lived CBS drama series, Mr. Broadway.

Foch was cast as Eva Frazier in the Outer Limits episode "The Borderland". She appeared in an episode of Gunsmoke as the widowed matriarch of a lawless town, and played in an episode on Combat! titled episode "The Casket". She was also cast as the first murder victim of the Columbo mystery series starring Peter Falk, appearing in the pilot movie, Prescription: Murder (1968), with Gene Barry as her husband, a homicidal psychiatrist. In the early 1970s, she guest starred on NBC's The Brian Keith Show. In 1975, Foch appeared in the film Mahogany, starring Diana Ross.

Later in her career, Foch appeared in War and Remembrance (1988) as the seemingly-nice librarian who soon advises Jane Seymour's character that the best place for her and her uncle would be the un-aptly named "Paradise Ghetto". She also appeared as 'Frannie Halcyon' in the TV miniseries Tales of the City (1993). Another notable TV role was as the OverseerP Commander (or "Kleezantzun") in the first of the Alien Nation TV movies, Alien Nation: Dark Horizon (1994).

In her final years, she appeared on the television series Just Shoot Me, Bull, Dharma & Greg, and NCIS, the latter portraying Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard's elderly mother.

Foch taught "Directing the Actor" classes at the USC School of Cinematic Arts, classes she had taught since the 1960s up to her death. She also worked as an independent script-breakdown consultant for many prominent Hollywood directors. For her contributions to film and television, Foch has stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, located at 6300 Hollywood Boulevard, and 7000 Hollywood Boulevard.[9]

Personal life

Foch lived in Beverly Hills, California, for 40 years and married three times. Her first marriage was to James Lipton, future host of Inside the Actors Studio. She married her second husband, Dennis de Brito, in 1959; and the couple had one child before divorcing in 1963. Her third and last marriage was to Michael Dewell in 1967. The couple divorced in 1993.


Foch died on December 5, 2008, the age of 84, at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center. Her only son, Dirk De Brito, told the Los Angeles Times that she died of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia. She had become ill the day before, while teaching at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.[10]


Feature films

Year Title Role Notes
1943 Wagon Wheels West Jan Colburn Short film
The Return of the Vampire Nicki Saunders
1944 Nine Girls Alice Blake
She's a Soldier Too Tessie Legruda
Shadows in the Night Lois Garland
Cry of the Werewolf Celeste
Strange Affair Frieda Brenner
She's a Sweetheart Jeanne
1945 A Song to Remember Constantia
I Love a Mystery Ellen Monk
Escape in the Fog Eileen Carr
My Name Is Julia Ross Julia Ross
Boston Blackie's Rendezvous Sally Brown
A Thousand and One Nights Harem Girl Uncredited
Prison Ship Anne Graham
1947 Johnny O'Clock Harriet Hobson
The Guilt of Janet Ames Susie Pearson
1948 The Dark Past Betty
1949 The Undercover Man Judith Warren
Johnny Allegro Glenda Chapman
1951 St. Benny the Dip Linda Kovacs
An American in Paris Milo Roberts
1952 Young Man With Ideas Joyce Laramie
Scaramouche Marie Antoinette
1953 Sombrero Elena Cantu
Fast Company Mercedes Bellway
1954 Executive Suite Erica Martin National Board of Review Award for Best Supporting Actress
Special Jury Prize (Venice Film Festival)
Nominated - Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress
Four Guns to the Border Maggie Flannery
1955 You're Never Too Young Gretchen Brendan
Illegal Ellen Miles
1956 The Ten Commandments Bithiah
Three Brave Men Lt. Mary Jane McCoy
1959 Ten Little Indians Vera Claythorne Television film
1960 Cash McCall Maude Kennard
Spartacus Helena Glabrus
1968 Columbo: Prescription: Murder Carol Flemming
1969 Gidget Grows Up Bibi Crosby Television film
1971 Such Good Friends Julie's mother
1972 The Scarecrow Goodie Rickby Television film
1973 Female Artillery Amelia Craig Television film
Salty Mrs. Penninger
1975 Mahogany Miss Evans
1976 The Great Houdini Rev. Le Veyne Television film
1978 Jennifer Mrs. Calley
Child of Glass Lavinia Culp Television film
1979 Ebony, Ivory and Jade Dr. Adela Teba Television film
1981 Rich and Famous Literary party guest
1986 Nomads Real estate agent
1988 Dixie Lanes Hazel Laidlaw
Outback Bound Samantha's Mother Television film
1989 Skin Deep Alex's Mother
1992 In the Arms of a Killer Mrs. Venible Television film
The Sands of Time Ellen Scot Television film
1993 Sliver Evelyn McEvoy
Morning Glory Miss Beasly Television film
1994 Alien Nation: Dark Horizon Burak Television film
1996 It's My Party Mrs. Theis
1997'Til There Was You Sophia Monroe
1998 Hush Alice Baring
Family Blessings Peg Miller Television film
Shadow of a Doubt Sylvia Saxon
2002 Pumpkin Betsy Collander
2003 How to Deal Grandma Halley
2004 Back When We Were Grownups Mrs. Holmes Television film


Year Title Role Notes
1949 The Philco-Goodyear Television Playhouse Elizabeth Episode: "Three Cornered Moon"
The Chevrolet Tele-Theatre Wife Episodes: "Temporarily Purple", "Half an Hour"
1949-54 Suspense
1950-52Lux Video Theatre Episodes: "The Key", "The Magnolia Touch", "Dames Are Poison", "Mine to Have"
1951 Two Girls Named Smith
The Nash Airflyte Theatre Episode: "The Case of the Calico Dog"
Faith Baldwin Romance Theatre Episode: "The Bride from Broadway"
Cameo Theatre Episode: "Betrayal"
Somerset Maugham TV Theatre Episode: "In Hiding"
1951-52Lights Out Episodes: "Blood Relation", "The House of Dust"
Pulitzer Prize Playhouse Episodes: "The Jungle", "The Skin of Our Teeth", "The Buccaneer", "Icebound"
1952 Chesterfield Presents Episode: "A Moment of Memory"
Schlitz Playhouse Episode: "World So Wide"
Tales of Tomorrow Episode: "Bound Together"
1952-58 Studio One in Hollywood Eight episodes
1953 Hollywood Opening Night Episode: "Legal Affair"
Armstrong Circle Theatre Episodes: "Ski Story", "Only This Night"
The Philip Morris Playhouse Episode: "Room 203"
1954 Justice Episode: "Ride with Terror"
Danger Episodes: "See No Evil", "Hand Me Down"
Producers' Showcase Kaye Thorndyke Episode: "State of the Union"
1954-60 The United States Steel Hour Julia Walton / Grace Barlow Four episodes
1955 The Colgate Comedy Hour Sophia Teale Episode: "Roberta"
1955-57 Climax! Caroline Emmet / Emily Rone Episodes: "Deadly Climate", "Night of Execution"
1955-59 The Loretta Young Show Joan Rogers / Mrs. Graff Episodes: "The Red Dress", "Reunion"
1956 The 20th Century-Fox Hour Susan Harland / Joan Byrnes Episodes: "One Life", "Yacht on the High Sea"
Playwrights '56 Belle Thurmond / Mrs. Scott Episodes: "The Undiscovered Country", "The Answer"
1956-58 Playhouse 90 Three episodes
1957 The Alcoa Hour Brita Episode: "A Double Life"
Kraft Theatre Episodes: "Nothing Personal", "A Night of Rain"
Wagon Train Clara Beauhaump Episode: "The Clara Beauchamp Story"
1958 Matinee Theatre Beatrice Episodes: "Much Ado About Nothing, Pt. 1", "Much Ado About Nothing, Pt.2"
Pursuit Mrs. Claire Holden Episode: "Ticket to Tangier"
1959 The Thin Man Episode: "Lady Frankenstein"
Rawhide Madrina Wilcox Episode: "Incident of the Judas Trap"
1960 Play of the Week Andromache Episode: "Tiger at the Gates"
Moment of Fear Sally Mellanby Episode: "The Golden Deed"
1961 The Americans Rose Greenbow Episode: "The Rebellious Rose"
Shirley Temple's Storybook Merwitch Episode: "The Little Mermaid"
Checkmate Anne Elliot Episode: "State of Shock"
1961-64 Route 66 Samantha / Autumn Ely / Lillian Aldrich Four episodes
1962 Bus Stop Kitty Blaine Episode: "Cry to Heaven"
The Dick Powell Theatre Ginny Thatcher Episode: "The Seeds of April"
Theatre '62 Mrs. Danvers Episode: "Rebecca"
Naked City Kitty Lamson / Maude Hutchinson Episodes: "The Sweetly Smiling Face of Truth", "The Fingers of Henri Tourelle"
1963 The Virginian Frances Graham Episode: "Vengeance is the Spur"
Sam Benedict Nora Hildon Episode: "Of Rusted Cannons and Fallen Sparrows"
Arrest and Trial Ellen Burnham Episode: "My Name is Martin Burnham"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Sarah Middleton Episode: "The End of the World, Baby"
The Greatest Show on Earth Angelica Cellini Episode: "Leaves in the Wind"
The Outer Limits Eva Fraser Episode: "The Borderland"
1964 Burke's Law Anjanette Delacroix Episode: "Who Killed 1/2 of Glory Lee?"
Mr. Broadway Maggie Episode: "Maggie, Queen of the Jungle"
1965 Dr. Kildare Georgia Pettigrew Episode: "My Name is Lisa, and I Am Lost"
Combat! Madame Carmaux Episode: "The Casket"
1966 A Man Called Shenandoah Marlee Cole Episode: "Marlee"
The Long, Hot Summer Carlotta Episode: "Carlotta, Come Home"
1967 I Spy Gerta Episode: "Child Out of Time"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Vera Stannard / Dee Episodes: "A Time to Love", "And Baby Makes Five"
Bonanza Clarissa Episode: "Clarissa"
1968-70 The Name of the Game Mrs. Fredericks / Angela Morgan Three episodes
1968-73 The Mod Squad Mrs. Dykstra / Virginia Westphal Episodes: "Don't Kill My Child", "Love"
1969The Wild Wild West Duchess Sophia Episode: "The Night of the Cossacks"
Gunsmoke Agatha Corey Episode: "Coreyville"
1970 Paris 7000 Episode: "No Place to Hide"
The F.B.I. Terry Simms Episode: "The Dealer"
To Rome with Love Diana Masterson Episode: "Beautiful People"
McCloud Police Sergeant F.J. Dameron Episode: "Walk in the Dark"
1971 That Girl Frances Nelson Episode: "That Script"
Men at Law Episode: "Marathon"
1973 Hawaii Five-O Marian Scott Episode: "Little Girl Blue"
The Brian Keith Show Mrs. Peterson Episode: "Sean's Midas Touch"
The Wide World of Mystery Nellie Episode: "A Little Bit Like Murder"
Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Sylvia Mitchell Episode: "A Lesson in Loving"
1973-76 Barnaby Jones Myra Westmore / Eleanor DeRoche Episodes: "The Stalking Horse", "Divorce - Murderer's Style"
1974 The Magician Irene Denore Episode: "The Illusion of the Stainless Steel Lady"
The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Ceil Episode: "Oh Baby, Baby, Baby"
1975Kolchak: The Night Stalker Madame Trevi Episode: "The Trevi Collection"
1977"McMillan" (formally McMillan and Wife Marietta Galway

Episode: "Phillip's Game"

1979 Lou Grant Mrs. Polk Episode: "Hollywood"
1985-86 Shadow Chasers Dr. Juliana Moorhouse Three episodes
1986 Trapper John, M.D. Julie Luden Episode: "Play Your Hunch"
Comedy Factory Hannah Kingsley Episode: "Chameleon"
The New Mike Hammer Mildred HoftstederEpisode: "The Golden Lady"
1988 War and Remembrance Comtesse de Chambrun Mini-series
1990 Room for Romance Episode: "A Midsummer Night's Reality"
L.A. Law Camille Carlton Episode: "Smoke Gets in Your Thighs"
Hunter Gloria Morrell Episode: "Acapulco Holiday"
Dear John Mrs. Lacey Episode: "Homeward Bound"
1991-94 Murder, She Wrote Rebecca Kinkaid / Katie Emhardt Episodes: "Death in Hawaii", "Tainted Lady"
1992 Reasonable Doubts Carmela Kaufman Episodes: "Lifelines, Pt. 1", "Lifelines, Pt. 2"
1993 Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City Frannie Halcyon Five episodes
1994 Missing Persons Bernice Episode: "If You Could Pick Your Own Parents..."
1999 Dharma & Greg Beatrice Episode: "Death & Violins"
2000 Bull Madeleine Eight episodes
Just Shoot Me! Catherine DuChamp Episode: "Dial 'N' for Murder"
2005-06 NCIS Mrs. Victoria Mallard Episodes: "Untouchable", "The Meat Puzzle"
2007 The Closer Doris Donnelly Episode: "The Round File"

Stage credits

Year Title Role Notes
1947 John Loves Mary Lilly Herbish Broadway; 423 performances[11]
1949 Twelfth Night Olivia Broadway
1950 King Lear Cordelia
A Phoenix Too Frequent
1955 Measure for Measure Isabella American Shakespeare Theatre at Stratford[12]
The Taming of the Shrew Katharine

Radio appearances

Year Program Episode/source
1952 Cavalcade of America "The Nurse Who Forgot Fear"[13]
1952 Philip Morris Playhouse "The Room Beyond"[13]
1952 Theatre Guild on the Air The Unguarded Hour[14]
1953 Theatre Guild on the Air Cass Timberlane[15]
1953 Broadway Playhouse Plan for Escape[16]


  1. 1 2 LoBianco, Lorraine. "Starring Nina Foch: 10-22". Turner Classic Movies. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  2. 1 2 Woo, Elaine (2008-12-06). "Nina Foch, actress and influential coach and teacher, dies at 84". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved 2008-12-06.
  3. Gates, Anita (2008-12-08). "Nina Foch, Actress in Sophisticated Roles, Dies at 84". The New York Times. Retrieved 2014-04-20.
  4. Bergan, Ronald (2008-12-05). "Obituary: Nina Foch". The Guardian. Retrieved 2015-04-18.
  5. Obituary in Washington Post
  6. Biography at
  7. Obituary in London Telegraph
  8. "DeMille Honored For Bible Movie". Spokane Daily Chronicle. Associated Press. March 19, 1957. Retrieved September 12, 2015.
  9. Woo, Elaine. "Nina Foch". The Los Angeles Times. Hollywood Star Walk. Retrieved 2015-05-28.
  10. Woo, Elaine. "Nina Foch, actress and influential acting teacher, dies at 84". Los Angeles Times. ISSN 0458-3035. Retrieved 2015-07-27.
  11. Simonson, Robert (2008-12-08). "Nina Foch, Cultured Blonde of Stage and Screen, Dies at 84". Playbill. Retrieved 2015-04-19.
  12. Cooper, Roberta Krensky. The American Shakespeare Theatre, Stratford 1955-1985. p. 36. ISBN 978-0918016881.
  13. 1 2 Kirby, Walter (April 6, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 52. Retrieved May 16, 2015 via
  14. Kirby, Walter (December 28, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 36. Retrieved June 5, 2015 via
  15. Kirby, Walter (February 15, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 42. Retrieved June 21, 2015 via
  16. Kirby, Walter (March 1, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved June 23, 2015 via
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