Mental Floss

Dr. Ruth, Killing Machine?

Jason English
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald
Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald / Robin Marchant/Getty Images for Cantor Fitzgerald

On the short and unimpressive list of celebrities I've spotted, Dr. Ruth's name appears twice. Once in 1989, on a field trip to the Museum of Natural History (or possibly a different museum), and again at Newark Airport in 2001. That second sighting was followed moments later by a run-in with pitcher Orlando "El Duque" Hernandez. And if you'd asked me which one was trained as a sniper, I probably wouldn't have chosen the 4'7" sex therapist.

Before she was Dr. Ruth, she was a killing machine. So says Snopes:

"When I was in my routine training for the Israeli army as a teenager," Dr. Ruth said, "they discovered completely by chance that I was a lethal sniper. I could hit the target smack in the center further away than anyone could believe. Not just that, even though I was tiny and not even much of an athlete, I was incredibly accurate throwing hand grenades too. Even today I can load a Sten automatic rifle in a single minute, blindfolded."

Blindfolded? Really? Someone needs to challenge her on that. Could be a great summer reality show.

The Good Doctor's military career was cut short by cannon ball shrapnel on her 20th birthday in 1948, during the Arab-Israeli War. Two years later, she moved to Paris to study psychology. Thirty years later, she debuted her Sexually Speaking program. And nine years later, she ran into my fourth-grade class.