Ruta Lee’s parents: Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė and Joseph Kilmonis

Ruta Lee's parents

Ruta Lee is one of Hollywood’s most glamorous ladies. The Canadian actress and dancer has appeared as one of the brides in the musical film Seven Brides for Seven Brothers. Aside from that, she also had roles in the crime drama Witness for the Prosecution and musical comedy Funny Face, and also is remembered by fans for her guest appearance in a 1963 episode of the sci-fi series The Twilight Zone called “A Short Drink from a Certain Fountain”.

Aside from the films and Tv series Ruta also featured on a number of game shows, including Hollywood SquaresWhat’s My Line?, and Match Game, and as Alex Trebek’s co-host on High Rollers. She is also one of its most multifaceted and top-notched civic contributors in Hollywood.

Who are Ruta Lee’s parents, Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė and Joseph Kilmonis?

Ruta Lee was born Ruta Mary Kilmonis on May 30, 1935, in Montreal, Quebec to her Lithuanian Roman Catholic immigrants parents- Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė and Joseph Kilmonis. Ruta was the only child of the couple. Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė and Joseph Kilmonis got married in 1934 and had their daughter a year later.

Joseph Kilmonis – Ruta Lee’s father

Ruta Lee’s father Joseph Kilmonis was born on 9 June 1902, in Lithuania as the son of Frances Dobravalski and John Kilmonis. Per sources, Ruta Lee’s father, Joseph Kilmonis was a tailor. Sadly Joseph died on 15 October 1973, in Los Angeles, Los Angeles, California, United States, at the age of 71, and was buried in Holy Cross Cemetery, Culver City, Los Angeles, California, United States.

Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė- Ruta Lee’s mother

Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė is the mother of Ruta Lee. Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė was born on 5 August 1903 in Bukauciskes II, Alytus District Municipality, Alytus, Lithuania. She passed away on 31 August 1999 at the age of 96 in Hollywood, Los Angeles County, California, USA. She was laid to rest at Holy Cross Cemetery in Culver City, Los Angeles County, California, USA.

Rūta Lee explores her family history in Lithuania

Ruta Lee took an emotional trip to visit and explore her parent’s childhood home in Dzūkija. She met with a number of emotional experiences on her visit to her root. The actress paid a visit to the homes of her grandparents, the Kilmonai, where her father Juozas Kilmonis grew up in the village of Bukaučiškės near Alytus.

She also went on to pay a visit to the home village of her mother Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė who came from Bukaučiškai near the town of Kančėnai and made a stop at Daugai church where her mother used to walk seven kilometers by foot to pray.

Mother would go to mass barefoot and would only put her shoes on once she arrived at the church, they had to spare them because all her sisters shared the same pair,” the actress told the people in a Dzūkian dialect- lithuaniatribune reported. Ruta Lee also added that she never learned to speak standard Lithuanian, because her parents Marija Kamandulytė-Kilmonienė and Joseph Kilmonis only spoke the dialect to her.

Before departing for the United States, Lee had a moving reunion with her relatives, over fifty of whom gathered to greet her. The actress gained massive popularity in both Lithuania and the United States for an act that seemed unimaginably brave at the time.

She brought her grandmother Kamandulienė from Lithuania to Los Angeles in 1964, at the height of the Cold War. She made international headlines with this act. The actress brought her to the U.S. where she lived her remaining years in the sunshine of freedom. She is grateful to all for the prayers that helped in that effort.

ALSO, READ; Webster B. Lowe, Jr.: What happened to Ruta Lee’s husband?

Ruta Lee got married to Texas restaurant executive Webster B. “Webb” Lowe Jr. On August 24, 2013, Lee was inducted into the National Lithuanian American Hall of Fame. In February 2019, Ruta Lee had her Lithuanian citizenship restored. She is 88 years old as of 2023.

Kennedy Gedzah

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