Lucille Ryman Carroll (1906-2002) established what was originally known as the Ryman-Carroll Foundation in tribute to the life of her brother, Herbert D. Ryman, and to honor his life-long dedication to mentoring young artists.
Along with their mutual love of art and culture, and their family-inspired dedication to education, Lucille and her brother shared singular careers in the film industry’s “golden era.” Starting out as a teacher in Decatur, Illinois, Lucille came to California and studied acting at Pasadena Community Playhouse, and landed stage roles here and in New York before working as a talent scout for Universal Studios’ New York office. A few years later, she came to Los Angeles as head of MGM’s Talent Department—one of the few women under the old Hollywood studio system to reach such a high professional stature.
Lucille was at MGM from 1941 to 1954, when the studio’s star roster included Judy Garland, Gene Kelly and Clark Gable. She played a part in bringing June Allyson and Janet Leigh to MGM and is credited with having discovered, among others, Cyd Charisse and Fernando Lamas. Her reputation for spotting new talent solidly established, she added new luster to her credentials when she and husband, film star John Carroll who died in 1979, took struggling newcomer Marilyn Monroe under their wing. Lucille was responsible for convincing John Huston to look at the screen test which landed the actress a role in the director’s Asphalt Jungle. Lucille Ryman Carroll died in her Glendale home at the age of 96 on October 22, 2002. She had no children.
“Mrs. Carroll provided the seed and inspiration to create a program honoring her brother,” says president, Marty Sklar. “Ryman Arts is a unique, living legacy to two remarkable pioneers in Hollywood entertainment.”
“Lucille had an idea that the world needed to know about her brother because of his talent and versatility,” says board member and Ryman co-founder, Buzz Price. “By establishing the Foundation,” he continues, “she found a way to merge her goal to carry on Herbie’s artistic legacy, and perpetuate his belief that to be a fine artist, you’ve got to learn the fundamentals of drawing early in life.”
To honor her, Ryman Arts awards the Lucille Ryman Carroll Scholarship each year to an outstanding Ryman Arts graduate who is going on to higher education.
[Photo by Steve Shapiro]