Rosalind was born in 1907 in Connecticut to an Irish immigrant family, one of seven children, and named after the ship her parents travelled on from Ireland. After school, she went to New York, leading her parents to believe she was studying to be a teacher when she actually had her sights set on becoming a stage comedienne.
Frederick Brisson was born in 1912 in Denmark and was known for his movie and stage productions, winning a Tony award for Damn Yankees.
The story of their romance begins with the anecdote Frederick often told. He was on a ship crossing the Atlantic in 1939 and Rosalind Russell's movie The Women was playing over and over on the trip from England to the States. He was so caught by hearing her on audio repeatedly that he went to see the movie, then announced to his friends, "I'm either gonna kill that girl, or I'm gonna marry her."
Later he was staying in Cary Grant's guest house when Grant was working on a film with Rosalind. He asked Grant to set up a meeting. Grant began mentioning Frederick to her daily to get her attention. Rosalind described the set-up, “Every day Cary would come to the set and say, ‘Do you know Freddie Brisson? And I’d say, ‘No, what is that? A sandwich?’”, Then Cary showed up at her door one night with Frederick in tow. That was the beginning of the romance.
They married in October, 1941 and were married for 35 years until her death. They had one son, Lance Brisson.
Lance described their successful marriage in an interview," I think one of the reasons they had such a long lasting marriage was because they knew how to laugh with each other, at each other when the time warranted. They had a lot of fun together and they loved each other very much."
Rosalind quit acting when rheumatoid arthritis became severe and in later years began campaigning for arthritis research. As well as receiving Oscar nominations, winning five Golden Globes and a Tony award, she was presented with the Jean Hersholt Humanitarian Award for her charity work.
In their 35th year of marriage Rosalind became ill with breast cancer. For their 35th anniversary Frederick gave her a bracelet with "35" written in diamonds. She vowed never to take it off and was wearing it when she died the next month.
Rosalind died in November 1976 and is buried in Culver Valley, California. Frederick died in 1984.