10 Things We Didn’t Know About Dr. Ruth

Photo via Dr.Ruth.com

The article in the New York Times‘ Real Estate section this past weekend about Dr. Ruth’s three-bedroom apartment in Washington Heights proved her home to be exactly the sort of kooky, over-cluttered place that we’d expect from an 85-year-old, four-foot-seven woman who talks about sex for a living. But here are ten things we discovered about this kick-ass woman in the tour of her apartment that we weren’t expecting:

  1. Dr. Ruth was born in Germany to Orthodox Jewish parents and was sent to a Swiss orphanage during World War II to escape the Holocaust. Her parents were killed in the Holocaust, and she eventually left the orphanage with just a washcloth and a doll  — though she ended up giving the doll to another orphan who was crying.
  2. She now owns two dollhouses because she says they  give her the control that she didn’t have when she had to leave her dollhouse in Germany. “Father, mother, babies, everybody is safe,” she says. “And everybody is exactly where I put them.”
  3. She also collects turtles, which she is fond of because, “if it stays in one place, it’s safe. It carries its house on its back. But if that turtle wants to move, it takes a risk. It has to stick its neck out. It could get hurt. That’s a little bit me. I did stick my neck out talking about sex on radio or television when nobody did that.”
  4. She also has a collection of miniature oil lamps, more than two thousand years old, featuring sexual positions.
  5. She keeps a bullet in her memorabilia cabinet from her time as a sniper in Israel, before it was Israel. We’ll say that again: Dr. Ruth was a sniper. (We are  not worthy.) She claims she could still “‘put five bullets in the red circle.”
  6. There is currently an Off-Broadway show based on her life, called “Becoming Dr. Ruth.” (And according to the show’s website, Dr. Ruth, who has been married three times, is currently single “and about town every night.”)
  7. She’s hugged Paul McCartney.
  8. She’s hugged Bill Clinton (okay, what decent sex columnist hasn’t?!).
  9. She’s hugged Obama.
  10. She’s currently writing a book called The Scrooge Defect, which theorizes that “people who are uptight about money probably can’t be good lovers, because they’re not generous.”