Nina Foch (April 20, 1924 – December 5, 2008) was a Dutch-born American actress and leading lady in many 1940s and 1950s films.
Nina Foch was born Nina Consuelo Maud Fock in Leiden, the Netherlands. Her mother was the 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, ended. They divorced when Nina was a toddler. As Foch grew up in New York, her mother encouraged her artistic talents. She played the piano and enjoyed art but was more interested in acting.
Foch lived in Beverly Hills, California for 40 years. She married three times. Her first marriage was to James Lipton, the future host of Inside the Actors Studio. She later married Dennis de Brito, in 1959. The couple had one child before divorcing in 1963. Her final marriage, to Michael Dewell, began in 1967 but 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 only son, Dr. Dirk de Brito, M.D., told the Los Angeles Times that she had become ill while teaching at the University of Southern California's School of Cinematic Arts.
Foch's movie career 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 90television series. In 1951, she appeared with Gene Kelly in the musical An American in Paris, which was awarded the Best Picture Oscar. Foch appeared in Scaramouche (1952) as Marie Antoinette, and in Cecil B. DeMille's The Ten Commandments (1956) as Bithia, Pharaoh's sister who finds the baby Moses in the bullrushes, adopts him as her son, and joins 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), starringWilliam Holden. 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 dram series, Mr. Broadway.
She 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. 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, she 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 Overseer 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, 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.