Ruth was very snobby, rude, selfish, most likely due to the fact that she was consumed by her wealth. After her husband died and left her and Rose penniless, Ruth's golddigging personality went to the extreme and target Cal for Rose so that they could remain wealthy.
She is portrayed by Frances Fisher.
Ruth was born around 1867. Not much else is known about Ruth's early life, but it is known that she was born in Pennsylvania. It is not known who her parents were, but they were most likely first-class, because Ruth inherited much of their wealth. It is also unknown who Ruth's husband was, but it is known that she gave birth to his daughter, Rose DeWitt Bukater. When her husband died when Rose was still a child; Ruth claimed that he left them with nothing but "a legacy of bad debts hidden by a good name". Rose and Ruth did not develop a very good relationship, however; because when Rose was about 16, Ruth forced her into an arranged marriage with Caledon Hockley for his money, commonly referred to as Cal.
Onboard RMS Titanic
In 1912, Cal and Rose boarded the Titanic with Ruth. "So this is the ship they call the unsinkable" Ruth remarked as she boarded. Ruth is seen numerous amounts of time throughout the movie pushing Rose around, forbidding her to smoke or giving her a cold glare when she sees her spitting. At the dinner scene, Ruth exposes Jack as a steerage passenger in hopes of having him shunned and avoiding Rose seeing him again, in case she runs off with him and leaves her penniless. The next day she forbids Rose from seeing Jack again, saying all Rose's father left her when he died was a "list of debts hidden by a good name. That name is the only card we have to play".
Once the ship hit an iceberg, Ruth was reluctant to get on a lifeboat, not realizing what great peril she was in. She said to Rose that she "hoped there were first class seats' on the lifeboats, so she wouldn't have to sit next to any steerage", believing them to be inferior to her. Rose is angered by this comment, shouting at her mother that half the people on this ship will die, and that she is behaving awfully in the circumstances. When Ruth gets on lifeboat No.6 with Rose, she is seen to be shocked and scared when Rose refuses to enter the lifeboat, and leaves to rescue Jack. She tries to call her back, but Rose either doesn't hear her or doesn't care anymore. She survives the disaster, but is lead to believe that Rose is dead. Her character isn't seen again after this scene.
After the disaster
It is unknown what happened to Ruth after the disaster. Most fans speculate that she became a poor and penniless seamstress, without the financial security of the arranged marriage between Cal and Rose. It is however, possible that she re-married into wealth, but this is unlikely. A few believe that after Rose became an actress, she forgave her mother and let Ruth live with her. However, none of this is certain as she was never mentioned again. Another theory is that she died either of starvation (due to the fact she was now penniless).