Brooklyn-native actress Ina Balin (née Rosenberg) was born on November12, 1937, into a Jewish family of entertainers. Her father, SamRosenberg, was a dancer/singer/comedian who worked the Borscht Belt. Helater quit show business to join his family's furrier business. Hermother was a Hungarian-born professional dancer who escaped a troubledfamily life by marrying at age 15.
Sam was her third husband at age 21. They divorced when Ina and her brother, 'Richard Balin' , werestill quite young and the children were placed in boarding schools (sheat the Montessori Children's Village in Bucks County, Pennsylvania)until their mother married a fourth time to shoe magnate Harold Balin. He later adopted the two children. Ina always wanted to be an actress and her mother encouraged her to takeballet lessons while young. Her first big break occurred in New York atage 15 when she appeared on 'Perry Como' 's 1950s TV show.
She wenton to attend New York University majoring in theater and also studiedwith Actors Studio exponents 'Lonny Chapman' and'Curt Conway' while gathering additional experience on the summerstock stage. She made an auspicious Broadway debut in a female leadwith "Compulsion" in 1957. Two years later, the dark-haired,olive-skinned beauty won a Theatre World Award for her outstandingperformance in the Broadway comedy, "A Majority of One", starring'Gertrude Berg' . Producer 'Carlo Ponti' saw her Broadwayperformance in "Compulsion" and requested her for a prime role in hisfilm The Black Orchid (1958) . Starring Ponti's wife,'Sophia Loren' , and 'Anthony Quinn (I)' , Ina receivedimpressive notices as Quinn's sensitive, grownup daughter.
Consideredone of 20th Century Fox's most promising new talents, she received aspecial "International Star of Tomorrow" Golden Globe for this earlywork. A major career disappointment occurred when the film version of Compulsion (1959) was made and Ina's ethnic role of "RuthGoldenberg" was transformed into a non-ethnic part (Ruth Evans) thatwound up starring 'Diane Varsi' . Ina was given an unbilled part inthe movie. The sting of that studio transgression was somewhat softenedwhen she was nominated for a Golden Globe Award for "Best SupportingActress" for her intensive performance in the'Paul Newman (I)' /'Joanne Woodward (I)' soaper, From the Terrace (1960) , as Newman's love interest. Due to herstrong exotic features, she found herself confined by the studio in hercasting and she eventually felt compelled to leave.
A soft, slender, but intent-looking actress who could play various typesof ethnicities (Jewish, Italian, Mexican, Spanish, Greek, et al. ), shehad a lovely, quiet glow to her, but could easily display the fierytemperament of an 'Anna Magnani' when called upon. In the 1960s,however, she was overshadowed by a number of her leading men in theirrespective showcases. There was little room for any actor to generateinterest upon themselves when playing opposite the likes of an'Elvis Presley' , 'Jerry Lewis (I)' and/or'John Wayne (I)' . In other situations, her roles were merelydecorative, less showy, or proved less integral to the main plot, suchas her secondary role as "Martha" in The Greatest Story Ever Told (1965) .
While Ina maintained a finebalance of TV roles ranging from the dramatic ( "Bonanza" (1959) , "Mannix" (1967) , "Quincy M. E. " (1976) , "Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea" (1964) ) to the humorous( "The Dick Van Dyke Show" (1961) , "Get Smart" (1965) ),the one big acting role that could have set her apart from the othersnever materialized. Subsequent pictures such as the cult film The Projectionist (1971) and The Don Is Dead (1973) andher assorted appearances in several TV-movies failed to advance herstatus in Hollywood. And then her life changed.
. . dramatically. As thefirst woman to ever participate in a handshake tour of a South Vietnammilitary hospital in the late 60s, Ina toured Vietnam with the USO in1970 and was greatly affected by the entire experience. It alsotriggered a series of trips back to the war-torn region.
As a BoardMember of the An Lac orphanage in Saigon, she courageously took part inthe full-scale evacuation of nearly 400 orphans in 1975 during the fallof the city to the Communists. She eventually adopted three of the 219children who managed to be flown out of the country. In 1980, thedramatic rescue was replayed via a TV film in which Ms. Balin portrayedherself. The well-received The Children of An Lac (1980) (TV) also starred 'Shirley Jones (I)' (as fellow rescuer "BettyTisdale") and 'Beulah Quo' (as the concerned Vietnamese woman whoran the An Lac orphanage).
From this point on, Ina's professional career took a back seat to theraising of her children and her ongoing interest in foreign relief. Sheappeared throughout the 1980s with a sprinkling of guest shots on TV's "Battlestar Galactica" (1978) , "Murder, She Wrote" (1984) and "As the World Turns" (1956) , among others. As for film, herlast movies ( The Comeback Trail (1982) , Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter (1986) and That's Adequate (1989) ) were unworthy of her obvious talents. Ina never managed to fulfill her promising, Golden Globe-winningpotential for she was diagnosed and eventually succumbed, at the age of52, to a rare case of pulmonary hypertension. A single parent, she wassurvived by her three children.
|1||Alias Smith and Jones||1971||as Margaret Carruthers|
|2||As the World Turns||1956||as Rosalind Hatchley (1986)|
|3||The Six Million Dollar Man||1974||as Cheryl Osborne|
|4||The Streets of San Francisco||1972||as Elaine Russo|
|5||Act of Reprisal||1964||as Eleni|
|6||Call to Danger||1973||as Marla Hayes|
|7||Charro!||1969||as Tracey Winters|
|8||Danger in Paradise||1977||as Marla Fears|
|9||From the Terrace||1960||as Natalie Benzinger|
|10||Hostage Flight||1985||as Rita|
|11||Jerry Lewis - König der Komödianten||2006||as Ellen Betz/Herself|
|12||Panic on the 5:22||1974||as Countess Hedy Maria Tovarese|
|13||Run Like a Thief||1967||as Mona Shannon|
|14||Thats Adequate||1989||as Sister Mary Enquirer|
|15||The 13th Annual Tony Awards||1959||as Herself - Presenter|
|16||The Black Orchid||1958||as Mary Valente|
|17||The Children of An Lac||1980||as Ina Balin|
|18||The Comancheros||1961||as Pilar Graile|
|19||The Comeback Trail||1982||as Julie Thomas|
|20||The Desperate Mission||1969||as Otilia Ruiz|
|21||The Don Is Dead||1973||as Nella|
|22||The Greatest Story Ever Told||1965||as Martha of Bethany|
|23||The Immigrants||1978||as Maria Cassala|
|24||The Lonely Profession||1969||as Karen Menardos|
|25||The Patsy||1964||as Ellen Betz|
|26||The Projectionist||1971||as The Girl|
|27||The Young Doctors||1961||as Cathy Hunt|
|28||There Were Times, Dear||1985||as Marsha|
|29||Vasectomy: A Delicate Matter||1986||as Regine|
|30||Westinghouse Presents: Come Again to Carthage||1961||as Regan|
|31||12 OClock High||1964||as Mara Yellich|
|32||Adventures in Paradise||1959||as Princess Sakindra|
|33||Airwolf||1984||as Ingrid Kendall|
|34||Barnaby Jones||1973||as Laura Beecher|
|35||Battlestar Galactica||1978||as Siress Tinia|
|36||Bonanza||1959||as Sarah Reynolds|
|37||Cool Million||1972||as Nagway|
|38||Get Smart||1965||as Ann Ferris|
|39||Harry O||1973||as Sylvia Perrault|
|40||Hart to Hart||1979||as Jae Turner|