Born in the 1860s, not much is known about her other than the fact she was born with a silver spoon in her mouth in high-society Pennsylvania. Her social standing has enabled her to live most of her life in luxury.
Once very wealthy due to having inherited her parents' fortune, she is now on the verge of bankruptcy after her husband mismanaged their money and left her and Rose nothing but a legacy of bad debts hidden by a good name.
She intends to coerce Rose into marrying Caledon Hockley, son of a wealthy steel tycoon, to ensure her continued lavish lifestyle and financial abundance she was so used to.
Ruth is snobbish, materialistic and entitled even by first-class passenger standards. She considers herself above those who are not in her social standing, including Molly Brown, whom is also a first-class passenger, albeit being "new money".
She is also very selfish, using both Rose and Cal as tools for her to accomplish her goal of maintaining her privileged, lavish lifestyle, despite no longer having the means to do so.
In 1912, Cal and Rose boarded the Titanic with Ruth. "So this is the ship they say is unsinkable," Ruth remarked as she boarded.
Ruth is seen numerous amounts of times throughout the movie pushing Rose around, forbidding her to smoke or even giving her a cold glare when she sees her spitting or displaying bad-manners and being un-ladylike.
At the dinner scene, Ruth attempts to humiliate Jack and viciously exposes him in a disguised manner as a steerage passenger in hopes of having him shunned by the other first class dinner guests who dined at the same table (though he dodges the insult with humor and avoids being offended by replying back to it with a joke) and even forbidding Rose from seeing him again after Rose was caught sneaking away to the third class section of the ship with Jake to a party to drink beer, dance and smoke (in case she runs off with him and leaves her penniless and poor).
The next day she severely scolds Rose, disapproving of her associating with Jack ever again, reminding Rose that Cal is a fine match for her, and that the money they once had is long gone and she must marry Cal to secure their future.
Once the ship accidentally 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 there are not enough life boats on the Titanic, and that half the people on this ship will die, and that she is behaving disgustingly in such unfortunate circumstances. Realizing the truth that Rose speaks, Ruth says nothing.
When Ruth gets on Lifeboat 6 she is seen to be shocked and scared when Rose runs away from the lifeboat to be with Jack instead (Rose simply telling Ruth goodbye mother, and never looking back). Ruth calls out for Rose to come back, but Rose either doesn't hear her or doesn't care anymore.
In the lifeboat, Ruth puts her hands over her ears to block out all the screams and shouts of the frightened people still stuck onboard, dying and freezing to death as the Titanic plunders into the ocean. In a deleted scene, she was last seen boarding the Carpathia. She has survived the disaster, but is led to believe that Rose is dead. A clearly heartbroken Ruth is seen looking for her daughter, likely realising she cared about her too late. Her character isn't seen again after this scene that didn't make the cut.
Later Life Edit
It is unknown what happened to Ruth after being rescued by the Carpathia. It is highly likely that she ended up becoming poor, working as seamstress. It is also unknown if she ever met Rose again.