The Actress is based on Years Ago, one of several autobiographies by actress/playwright Ruth Gordon. Jean Simmons stars as blossoming teenager Ruth Gordon Jones, who is determined to become a famous stage star despite the objections of her stubborn ex-sea captain father Clinton Jones (Spencer Tracy). Papa wants Ruth to become a physical-education instructor, but she wants none of this. With the covert help of her understanding mother (Teresa Wright), Ruth seeks out stage work--any stage work. Ultimately, it is Papa who dips into the Jones family's limited coffers to bankroll his daughter's first big break. The Actress represented the movie debut of Anthony Perkins, here cast as Ruth Gordon Jones' gawky boyfriend.