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Your father left us nothing but a legacy of bad debts hidden by a good name. That name is the only card we have to play. I don't understand you. It is a fine match with Hockley, it will ensure our survival.
~ Ruth trying to convince Rose to marry Cal.

Ruth DeWitt Bukater is a supporting antagonist of James Cameron's hit 1997 film Titanic. She is the mother of Rose DeWitt Bukater, planning to marry her off to a rich but spoiled tycoon named Cal Hockley.

She was portrayed by Frances Fisher.

Personality

Ruth was very snobby, rude, selfish, most likely due to the fact that she was consumed by her wealth. After her husband died which left her and Rose penniless, Ruth's golddigging personality went to the extreme and target Cal for Rose so that they could remain wealthy.

History

Early life

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 Cal for his money.

Events of the film

In 1912, Cal and Rose boarded the Titanic with Ruth and Cal's bodyguard Spicer Lovejoy. Ruth remarked the ship as 'unsinkable' as she boarded on it. She 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 bad debts hidden by a good name" and that marrying Cal will ensure their status quo as rich people.

Once the ship hit an iceberg, Ruth was reluctant to get on a lifeboat, not realizing what great peril she was in and refusing to care that Jack is being arrested after being framed by Cal and Lovejoy for the theft of a rare diamond. 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 since there aren't enough lifeboats to save them, and that she is behaving awfully in the circumstances. When Ruth gets on lifeboat No.6, she is seen to be shocked when Rose angrily refuses to enter the lifeboat and instead leaves to rescue Jack, even spitting at Cal's face when he tried to stop her. Ruth pleads for the officers to wait for Rose, but they ignore her pleas and instead lower the lifeboat into the water, much to Ruth's dismay.

Despite Rose's efforts, Jack succumbed to his death in the cold water along with Lovejoy and many other unfortunate passengers after the ship sank into the ocean. Though Ruth and Cal have survived the disaster, they were both left distraught as they believe that Rose is dead, unaware that Rose herself has been rescued by Officer Harold Lowe and has taken refuge with the steerage while taking Jack's surname to live a life for herself. It is unknown what happened to Ruth afterwards, even when Cal committed suicide following the 1929 Wall Street Crash.

As the main story was being told by an elderly Rose in 1996, it is likely that Ruth has been dead for decades.

Trivia

  • 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 Ruth 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.