Ruth Sánchez Bueno was born on July 10th, 1975 in San Fernando, Cádiz (Spain).
When she was five, during a visit to Prado del Rey with her class, she happened to be overheard quoting the sentence from Marilyn Monroe in Bus Stop: "My mouth was dry enough to spit cotton". She was cast in the 1981 TV series La Cometa Blanca, along with Mari Luz Olier and Alfonso Vallejo. At that time, Ruth's stage name was Ruth Abellán, and her character shared her first name. Lolo Rico, director of La Cometa Blanca, inserted sketches from Sesame Street in the series, in order to provide the young target audiences with a reference.
In 1983, Sesame Street had its second chance in Televisión Española. Ruth Abellán reprised her role from La Cometa Blanca during the entire run of the series, from 1983 to 1987. Afterwards Ruth Sánchez Bueno simply disappeared from the public eye.
She re-appeared seven years later, now as a beautiful 19-year-old actress. She was at a nightclub and dressed as one of the characters in Neil Jordan's The Crying Game (1992), because she wanted to play a joke on a friend of hers, by making him think that she was a transvestite. Coincidentally, Spanish celebrities Montxo Armendáriz, Javier Gurruchaga and Imanol Uribe were having drinks at the same pub. Uribe noticed Ruth's rear end in her very tight clothes and decided that it was one of the physical features he needed for Charo, the main female character in his next movie, Días Contados (1994) (Internationally known as Numbered Days, Running Out of Time or With the Days Numbered in Hong Kong).
Uribe, co-writer, co-producer and director of the movie, rechristened her Ruth Gabriel and immediately cast her as Charo, a heroin-addicted teenage prostitute living in Madrid who meets and begins a relationship with an ETA member (Carmelo Gómez) who has come to Madrid to commit terrorist acts. The movie is a thriller about hopelessness and heterogeneous relationships, showing characters without a future, and it was an immediate success. For Ruth Gabriel it was a risky role because it required full nudity.
For her work on the film, Ruth Gabriel won the Newcomer Award of the Spanish Actors Union, defeating Elvira Mínguez and Candela Peña (for the same movie), and also won the Ondas Award, tied with both of her partners for the movie. She was nominated for both Best New Actress and Lead Actress Award of the IX edition of the Goyas, the most prestigious film awards in Spain. Again, she won Best New Actress defeating Mínguez and Peña, and was given her award by Sergio Cabrera and Cristina Marcos. She lost the lead actress award to Cristina Marcos who was nominated for Todos los hombres sois iguales (1994).
Suddenly a star, Ruth Gabriel was offered many roles. During 1995 she worked in Sinais of fogo, a coproduction of Spain, Portugal and France, and also under Antonio Eceiva in Felicidades Tovarich, which allowed her to meet and work with prestigious Spanish actor Francisco Rabal.
She worked from 1996 to 1998 in the TV series Querido maestro, with more veteran stars such as Imanol Arias, Ana Duato or Emma Suárez. She had hoped to star in the movie Perdita Durango (1997) when it was to be directed by Bigas Luna. However, the movie eventually passed to director Álex de la Iglesia's hands, who chose Rosie Perez for the main role.
During 1997, she managed to work on another TV show, the mini series Nostromo, featuring Colin Firth. Joseph Conrad's Nostromo was nominated for the ALMA Award for Outstanding Latino/a Cast in a Made-for-Television Movie or Mini-Series. In the same year, she also appeared in a role in Enrico Colletti's Il Tocco: la sfida (aka Rack Up or The Cuemaster), a Spanish-Italian coproduction starring Franco Nero.
She also had a chance to work with acclaimed director Agustí Villaronga in 99.9, a thriller using paranormal activities, witchcraft and primitive Spain as a background. It was one of her few movies that went to cinema screens instead of TV. The movie was a critical success both because of the director and the cinematography.
In 1998 she worked in the drama Doña Bárbara, a classic work by Rómulo Gallegos, directed by Betty Kaplan and starring Jorge Perugorría. Gabriel played Marisela, the daughter of Doña Bárbara. She has also had an appearance as herself in According to Occam's Razor (1999).
After this time she had mostly secondary roles, not achieving the success that her early awards suggested.
She worked again with Villaronga for Sinfín (2002), a thriller also featuring María Barranco and Terele Pávez.
In 2003 she appeared in projects such as mini series La Mari (nominated for the best TV movie to the Premios de la Academia de las Ciencias y las Artes de Televisión) and Historia de Estrella (same nomination). She also worked under Rafael Alcázer for Besos de gato, nominated for best direction at the Málaga Film Festival.