from the trailer for An American in Paris (1952)
|Born||Nina Consuelo Maud Fock
April 20, 1924
|Died||December 5, 2008 (aged 84)
Los Angeles, California
|Spouse(s)||James Lipton (1954-1959) (divorced)
Dennis Brito (1959-1963) (divorced)
Michael Dewell (1967-1993) (divorced)
Nina Foch was born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock in Leiden, Holland. Her mother was American actress and singer Consuelo Flowerton, who returned to the U.S. after her marriage to Foch's father, Dutch classical music conductor Dirk Fock; they divorced when Nina was a toddler. As she grew up in New York, her mother encouraged her artistic talent. She played the piano and enjoyed art but was more interested in acting.
Foch's movie fame came during the height of the 1940s, when she played cool, aloof, and often foreign women of sophistication. She would ultimately be featured in over 80 films and hundreds of television shows.
The actress was a regular in John Houseman's CBS Playhouse 90 television series. In 1951, she appeared with Gene Kelly in the musical An American in Paris, which was awarded the Best Picture Oscar. Foch played Marie Antoinette in Scaramouche (1952) and Bithiah in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956), in which she played the Pharaoh's sister who found the baby Moses in the bullrushes, adopted him as her son, and joined him and the Hebrews in their Exodus from Egypt.
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. She appeared in Spartacus (1960) opposite Kirk Douglas and Laurence Olivier as a woman who chooses gladiators to fight to the death in the ring, simply for her entertainment. In 1963, she appeared as herself in the National Broadcasting Company game show Your First Impression. In 1964, she appeared in the title role of the episode "Maggie, Queen of the Jungle" of Craig Stevens's CBS drama Mr. Broadway.
She was cast as Eva Frazier in the Outer Limits episode "The Borderland". On television, she was 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, she appeared in the film Mahogany starring Diana Ross. More recently, she appeared on the television series Just Shoot Me, Bull and NCIS, the latter portraying Dr. Donald "Ducky" Mallard's elderly mother.
Late in her career, she appeared as 'Frannie Halcyon' in the 1994 UK coproduction of Channel Four, Working Title Films and Propaganda Films that adapted Armistead Maupin's Tales of the City. She appeared in "War and Remembrance" 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". Another notable TV role was as the Overseer Commander, (or "Kleezantzun/" in the first of the "Alien Nation--The Series" TV Movies, 'Body and Soul'.
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.
Foch lived in Beverly Hills, California for 40 years, and had one son, Dr. Dirk de Brito. Foch married 3 times, the first to James Lipton, host of Inside the Actors Studio. She married Dennis Brito in 1959. The couple had one child before divorcing in 1963. Her last marriage, to Michael Dewell in 1967 ended in divorce in 1993.
Foch died December 5, 2008, of complications from the blood disorder myelodysplasia at the Ronald Reagan UCLA Medical Center, her son, Dr. Dirk De Brito, told the Los Angeles Times. She had become ill while teaching at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.