Nina Foch was born in Leiden, the Netherlands on April 20, 1924 and passed away in Los Angeles, on December 5, 2008, at 84. Her birth name was Nina Consuelo Maud Fock. Her parents were Dutch classical music conductor Dirk Fock, and Consuelo Flowerton, an American actress and singer. Dirk Fock was the conductor of the world famous Amsterdam Concert Gebouw Orchestra. While Nina was a toddler her parents divorced and her mother returned with her to New York City where she grew up.
Nina probably did not attend college or university but had an interest in acting, the career of her mother. She was encouraged to pursue acting and was able to get her first movie role in 1943, at age 19, in the movie “Wagon Wheels West”. Prior to her first movie she had her name changed from Fock to Foch, a more acceptable professional name. She had also moved to Los Angeles, the center of the movie industry.
In 1944, in the middle of the war, she was able to have roles in as many as seven films. All of these films were “B” movies, described by one reviewer as 1940’s mysteries, melodrama, and the occasional sparkling comedy. She worked largely with Columbia Studios.
During her entire film and acting career, from 1943 to the 1960’s, she participated in as many as 80 movie productions. In addition she was also involved in numerous television productions especially later in her career.
Some of the more noted pictures she participated in were “A Song to Remember” in 1945, “An American in Paris” in 1951, “Scaramouche” in 1952, and “The Ten Commandments” in 1956. She considered her most memorable movie to be “My Name is Julie Ross”, made in 1945.
In 1951, Nina received an Oscar nomination for Best Supporting Actress in “An American in Paris”. Four years later, in 1955, she was again nominated for an Oscar as Best Supporting Actress in “Executive Suite”. She also received an Emmy nomination in 1960 as Best supporting Actress in “Lou Grant”.
In the 1960’s, Nina’s movie roles began to dwindle and she became more active in teaching acting and directing at the University of Southern California [USC]. She would later also teach similar courses at the American Film Institute. She would continue her teaching until literally the end of her life. She fell ill while she was teaching one of her courses at USC, and had to be taken to hospital. She died following the incident from a rare blood disease she had been dealing with in her later years.
Nina Foch had been married three times. Her first marriage was to James Lipton. It lasted from 1954 to 1959. Her next marriage was to Dennis de Brito. It lasted from 1959 to 1963. Her third and last marriage was to Michael Dewell. It lasted from 1967 to 1993. Out of her third marriage a son was born, Dirk de Brito.
During the last 40 years of her life she was a teacher of acting and directing. To her that time of her life was the most satisfying. She became a widely respected acting coach. One of her director courses was labeled “Directing The Actor”. Looking back at her career reveals that the bulk of her acting took place over a 15 year period, from the mid 1940’s to about 1960. She then became much more focused on her teaching, a profession she was quite proud of and more satisfying than her movie career.
* Image from the trailer “An American in Paris”, 1951
“Nina Foch, Actress and Influential Acting Teacher dies at 84”, Elaine Woo, December 7, 2008, LOS ANGELES TIMES
“Nina Foch”, December 8, 2008, Obituary in THE TELEGRAPH, UK
Various web sites including Wikipedia and IMDBV
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PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICANS, CURRENT AND HISTORIC
EIGHT PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE ROOSEVELTS, VANDERBILTS AND OTHERS, 2015
FIFTEEN PROMINENT DUTCH AMERICAN FAMILIES: THE VAN BURENS, KOCH BROTHERS, VOORHEES AND OTHERS, 2015
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DUTCH PEGELS INVOLVED IN WARS
ALLIED EUROPE CAMPAIGN—1944/1945: TACTICAL MISTAKES, 2017
THE SECOND WORLD WAR IN THE NETHERLANDS: MEMOIRS, 2017
FRENCH REVOLUTION, NAPOLEON AND RUSSIAN WAR OF 1812, 2015