Virginia Davis (December 31, 1918 – August 15, 2009) was an American child actress in films. She is best known for working with Walt Disney and Ub Iwerks on the animated short series Alice Comedies, in which she portrayed the protagonist Alice.

Virginia Davis
Davis in 1924
Born(1918-12-31)December 31, 1918
DiedAugust 15, 2009(2009-08-15) (aged 90)
Burial placeHoly Cross Cemetery, Culver City
Years active1923–1946
Robert McGhee
(m. 1943; died 2002)
AwardsDisney Legends (1998)[1]



Davis was born on December 31, 1918, in Kansas City, Missouri.[2] Her father, a furniture salesman, was often away on business.[3]

Alice Comedies


Davis began working for Walt Disney's Kansas City company, Laugh-O-Gram Studio, in 1923.[2] She was hired to act in a film called Alice's Wonderland, which combined live action with animation. When Laugh-O-Gram failed and Disney moved to Los Angeles, on the basis of Alice's Wonderland Winkler Pictures signed Disney for a series known as the Alice Comedies, or Alice in Cartoonland. Disney convinced Davis' family to bring her from Missouri to Los Angeles to star in the series.[4] During this time, Davis resided at the La Brea Apartments in Hollywood, California.

The Greater Glory


In 1925, Davis played the role of Resi in The Greater Glory, a First National Pictures production. The film's director, Curt Rehfeld, remarked that Davis "... has the technique of a finished artist, the unusual ability to follow direction and the disposition of an angel. Not once during the picture was it necessary for me to explain any angle twice and, with all of her mature understanding, the youthful charm still remains, making a rare and appreciated combination."

While filming The Greater Glory, Davis signed a contract with Harry Carey and the two actors worked together in The Man From Red Gulch (1925).

The Blue Bird


In December 1929, Davis was in the cast of The Blue Bird at the Pasadena Playhouse. The fairy play included Janet Horning, a child actress who was only two years old. The cast included 150 children.



Recalling her work on the Alice Comedies, Davis said, "It was a great time – full of fun, adventure, and 'let's pretend.' I adored and idolized Walt, as any child would. He would direct me in a large manner with great sweeping gestures. One of my favorite pictures was Alice's Wild West Show. I was always the kid with the curls, but I was really a tomboy, and that picture allowed me to act tough. I took great joy in that."[2][5]

Over the next 20 years, she went on to work at other Hollywood studios as a child actress and, later, as a supporting actress. She sang, danced, and acted in such films as Flying Down to Rio (1933), Young and Beautiful (1934), College Holiday (1936), Vivacious Lady (1938),[citation needed] Three on a Match (1932), Week-End in Havana (1941), Song of the Islands (1942) and The Harvey Girls (1946) among others. On several occasions, she used the screen name Mary Daily,[citation needed] and appeared in such films as Hands Across the Rockies (1941) with cowboy star Bill Elliott. During her Hollywood tenure, she also occasionally worked for her old boss, Walt Disney, did a vocal test for Snow White, voiced some supporting characters in Pinocchio and served a short stint in the Disney Studio's Ink-and-Paint department.[2]

Personal life


In 1943, she married Navy aviator Robert McGhee, and the couple had two daughters. During their 59-year marriage, they resided in New Jersey, Connecticut, Southern California, and Idaho. Over a 25-year period, Davis worked as a real estate agent mostly in the Irvine, California and Boise, Idaho areas.[2]



After a year of failing health, Davis-McGhee died of natural causes in her home in Corona, California on August 15, 2009, aged 90.[2][3]



In 1998, Davis received a Disney Legends award for Animation.[1]

Partial filmography

Year Title Role Notes
1925 The Dark Angel Flower Girl Uncredited
1925 The Man from Red Gulch Cissy Falloner
1926 The Greater Glory Resi
1931 Street Scene Mary Hildebrand Uncredited
1932 Three on a Match Mary Keaton as a Child
1934 Murder at the Vanities Earl Carroll Girl Uncredited
1936 College Holiday Dancer Uncredited
1941 You'll Never Get Rich Chorus Girl Uncredited
1941 Week-End in Havana Dancer Uncredited
1942 Song of the Islands Islander Uncredited
1942 My Gal Sal Minor Role Uncredited
1942 Footlight Serenade Chorus Girl Uncredited
1942 Iceland Dancer Uncredited
1946 The Harvey Girls Harvey Girl Uncredited (final film role)


  1. ^ a b "Virginia Davis". D23: The Official Disney Fan Club. Archived from the original on July 4, 2022. Retrieved July 4, 2022.
  2. ^ a b c d e f Sibley, Brian (August 21, 2009). "Child star of the Alice comedies that launched Walt Disney's career". The Guardian. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  3. ^ a b Martin, Douglas (August 21, 2009). "Virginia Davis McGhee, Early Disney Star, Dies at 90". New York Times. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 5, 2022.
  4. ^ The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story, Leslie Iwerks, Walt Disney Pictures, 1999
  5. ^ Mclellan, Dennis (August 20, 2009). "Virginia Davis dies at 90; played Alice in early Disney short comedies". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on July 5, 2022. Retrieved July 5, 2022.

Further reading

  • Los Angeles Times, "New Members of Players' Club", April 20, 1924, p. J3
  • Los Angeles Times, "Older Sisters' Art Emulated", August 23, 1925, p. 20
  • Los Angeles Times, "Tiny Actress in Blue Bird", December 29, 1929, p. 20
  • Los Angeles Times, "Around And About in Hollywood", March 24, 1934, p. 7