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Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá; July 12, 1920[1][2] – February 9, 2003) was a Czech figure skater and actress. She later became a naturalized American citizen. She worked as an actress during the 1940s and 1950s.

Vera Ralston
John Wayne-Vera Ralston in Dakota.jpg
John Wayne and Vera Ralston in Dakota (1945)
Personal information
Full nameVera Ralston
Alternative namesVěra Helena Hrubá; Vera Hrubá Ralston
Country represented Czechoslovakia
Born(1920-07-12)July 12, 1920
Prague. Czechoslovakia
DiedFebruary 9, 2003(2003-02-09) (aged 82)
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Herbert J. Yates
(m. 1952; died 1966)

Charles de Alva (m. 1973)

Early lifeEdit

Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá to a wealthy jeweler in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her age was uncertain; Ralston at various times gave 1923,[2][3] as her year of birth. Her brother was Rudy Ralston who later became a film producer in the United States.

Skating careerEdit

As a figure skater, she represented Czechoslovakia in competition under her birth name Věra Hrubá.

She competed at the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 15th. Later that season, she competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she placed 17th. During the games, she personally met and insulted Adolf Hitler.[2] Hitler asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." As she later boasted, "I looked him right in the eye, and said that I'd rather skate on the swastika. The Führer was furious."[4]

Hrubá competed at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 7th. She emigrated to the United States in 1941 and became a naturalized citizen in 1946.


Event 1936 1937
Winter Olympics 17th
European Championships 15th 7th

Acting careerEdit

She moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston. She normally played an immigrant girl, because of her limited English skills. Among the 26 films Ralston starred in were Storm Over Lisbon with Erich von Stroheim (1944), Dakota (1945) with John Wayne, I, Jane Doe (1948) with Ruth Hussey and John Carrol, The Fighting Kentuckian, also with John Wayne (1949), A Perilous Journey with David Brian (1953), and Fair Wind to Java with Fred MacMurray (1953). She retired from films in 1958. Reportedly only 2 of her 20 films made money.[5]

In 1952 Ralston married Republic studio head Herbert Yates. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and had left his wife and children to be with Ralston.[6] Yates used his position to obtain roles for Ralston, and at one point was sued by studio shareholders for using company assets to promote his wife. Yates died in 1966, leaving his $8 million estate to Ralston.[7] She suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, then remarried and lived quietly in southern California.

She died on February 9, 2003, in Santa Barbara, California, after a long battle with cancer. For her work in films, Ralston has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The authors of the book The Golden Turkey Awards nominated her for the dubious honor of "The Worst Actress of All Time," along with Candice Bergen and Mamie Van Doren. They all lost to Raquel Welch.[8]

A registered Republican, she supported Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.[9]

Selected filmographyEdit


  1. ^ Vera Hruba. "".
  2. ^ a b c Biography of Vera Ralston Retrieved June 5, 2006
  3. ^ Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 240–41. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
  4. ^ ""Obituary – Vera Ralston"". Archived from the original on July 26, 2003. Retrieved May 9, 2017.CS1 maint: BOT: original-url status unknown (link). Irish Independent Online. March 2, 2003. URL accessed June 5, 2006.
  5. ^ Yates Flayed as Head of Republic Pictures: Starred Wife, Vera Ralston, in 18 Flops, Runs Firm for Own Gain, Stockholder Says Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 20 Aug 1958: A10.
  6. ^ HERBERT YATES TO WED VERA RALSTON: Republic Studio President Gives Age as 72, Blond Film Star 31, in License Application Los Angeles Times (1923-Current File) [Los Angeles, Calif] 15 Mar 1952: A1
  7. ^ HERBERT J. YATES, 85 MOVIEMAKER, IS DEAD New York Times (1923-Current file) [New York, N.Y] 04 Feb 1966: 31
  8. ^ Hal Erikson. "Vera Ralston, Actor: July 12, 1923 – Prague, Czechoslovakia". The New York Times from the Allmovie. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
  9. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers

External linksEdit