Vera Ralston

Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá; July 12, 1919[1][2] or 1920[3][4] or 1921[5]  – 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 namesVera Hrubá Ralston
Country represented Czechoslovakia
BornVěra Helena Hrubá
July 12, 1919 (other sources cite 1920, 1921, and 1923)
Prague, Czechoslovakia (present-day Czech Republic)
DiedFebruary 9, 2003
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Spouse(s)
(m. 1952; died 1966)

Charles de Alva
(m. 1973)

Early lifeEdit

Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá in Prague to a Catholic family with a home on the Berounka River. Her father, Rudolf Hrubá, was a jeweler. Her year of birth has been given as 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1923.[4][6] Her brother, Rudy Ralston, 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.[citation needed] 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 reportedly insulted Adolf Hitler.[4] 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."[7]

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.[citation needed]

ResultsEdit

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 Vera Hruba Ralston, and, later, simply as 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 John Carroll and Ruth Hussey, The Fighting Kentuckian, also with Wayne (1949), A Perilous Journey with David Brian and Scott Brady (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.[8]

In 1952, Ralston married Republic studio head Herbert Yates. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and reportedly left his wife and children to be with Ralston.[9] 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.[10] 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.

LegacyEdit

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.[11]

A registered Republican, she supported Dwight Eisenhower during the 1952 presidential election.[12]

FilmographyEdit

Year Title Role Notes
1941 Ice-Capades Ice-Capades Skater
1942 Ice-Capades Revue Ice-Capades Skater
1944 The Lady and the Monster Janice Farrell
1944 Storm Over Lisbon Maria Mazarek, aka Maritza
1944 Lake Placid Serenade Vera Haschek
1945 Dakota Sandy
1946 Murder in the Music Hall Lila Laughton
1946 Plainsman and the Lady Ann Arnesen
1947 Wyoming Karen Alderson
1947 Týden v tichém dome Sieglová
1947 The Flame Carlotta Duval
1948 I, Jane Doe Annette Dubois / Jane Doe
1948 Angel on the Amazon Christine Ridgeway
1949 The Fighting Kentuckian Fleurette De Marchand
1950 Surrender Violet Barton
1951 Belle Le Grand Daisy Henshaw / Belle Le Grand
1951 Thunder Across the Pacific Lt. Helen Landers
1952 Hoodlum Empire Marte Dufour
1953 Fair Wind to Java Kim Kim
1953 A Perilous Journey Francie Landreaux
1954 Jubilee Trail Florinda Grove, aka Julie Latour
1955 Timberjack Lynne Tilton
1956 Accused of Murder Ilona Vance
1957 Spoilers of the Forest Joan Milna
1957 Gunfire at Indian Gap Cheel Palmer
1958 The Notorious Mr. Monks Angela Monks
1958 The Man Who Died Twice Lynn Brennon

ReferencesEdit

  1. ^ "Republic's Leading Lady, Vera Ralston". Chris Enss. July 31, 2019.
  2. ^ "Vera Ralston". Video Detective.
  3. ^ Vera Hruba. "Olympic.org".
  4. ^ a b c Biography of Vera Ralston; retrieved June 5, 2006.
  5. ^ "Obituary: Vera Hruba Ralston". the Guardian. February 28, 2003.
  6. ^ Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
  7. ^ ""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; accessed June 5, 2006.
  8. ^ "Yates Flayed as Head of Republic Pictures: Starred Wife, Vera Ralston, in 18 Flops, Runs Firm for Own Gain, Stockholder Says". Los Angeles Times. August 20, 1958. p. A10.
  9. ^ "HERBERT YATES TO WED VERA RALSTON: Republic Studio President Gives Age as 72, Blond Film Star 31, in License Application". Los Angeles Times. March 15, 1952. p. A1.
  10. ^ "HERBERT J. YATES, 85 MOVIEMAKER, IS DEAD". New York Times. February 4, 1966. p. 31.
  11. ^ Hal Erikson. "Vera Ralston, Actor: July 12, 1923 – Prague, Czechoslovakia". The New York Times from AllMovie. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
  12. ^ Motion Picture and Television Magazine, November 1952, page 34, Ideal Publishers

External linksEdit