Virginia Grey

Virginia Grey (March 22, 1917 – July 31, 2004)[1] was an American actress who appeared in over 100 films and a number of radio and television shows from the 1930s to the early 1980s.[2]

Virginia Grey
Grey in 1941
Born(1917-03-22)March 22, 1917
DiedJuly 31, 2004(2004-07-31) (aged 87)
OccupationActress, singer
Years active1927–1977


Grey was born on March 22, 1917, in Edendale, California, the youngest of three daughters of Florence Anna Grey (née Pauly; 1890—1930) and director Ray Grey. One of her early babysitters was movie star Gloria Swanson. Grey debuted at the age of 10 in the silent film Uncle Tom's Cabin (1927) as Little Eva. She continued acting for a few more years, but then left movies for three years to finish her education.[1]

Grey gave up on training to be a nurse and returned to films in the 1930s with bit parts and work as an extra. She eventually signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM) and appeared in several films, including The Hardys Ride High (1939) with Mickey Rooney, Another Thin Man (1939) with William Powell, Hullabaloo (1940), and The Big Store (1941) with the Marx Brothers (Groucho, Harpo and Chico).[1]

She left MGM in 1942, and worked steadily for several studios over subsequent years. During the 1950s and 1960s, producer Ross Hunter frequently included Grey in his popular soap melodramas such as All That Heaven Allows, Back Street and Madame X.[1]

Grey had an on again/off again relationship with Clark Gable in the 1940s. After Gable's wife Carole Lombard died and he returned from military service, Gable and Grey were often seen at restaurants and nightclubs. Many, including Virginia herself, expected Gable to marry her, and tabloids often speculated on a wedding announcement. It was a great surprise when Gable hastily married Lady Sylvia Ashley in 1949, leaving Grey heartbroken. Gable divorced Ashley in 1952; however, he never rekindled his romance with Grey, and Grey's friends say that her hoping and waiting for Gable was the reason she never married.[3]

Grey was a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. She said: "I am a Mormon. Dad was, and I was, raised in that religion and during the '30s and '40s, I strayed and got into other things. I drank, I smoked, and did things totally opposite, not even thinking of what I had known during childhood. I remember in 1958, two elders came to my door and I began to think about my upbringing and what I learned, and then I started to meditate on that and I found solace once again and realized what I had been neglecting, if not forgetting, all those years when I was out of circulation. I returned to my Mormon roots around Christmastime that year and became very active in the church again. I'm glad those young men dropped in and reminded me about what I'd been missing because if not, I would've missed out on what the true 'big picture' is."[4]

In 1951, Grey portrayed Blanche Bickerson on the syndicated comedy TV series The Bickersons.[5] She was a regular on television in the 1950s and 1960s, appearing on Playhouse 90, U.S. Marshal, General Electric Theater, The DuPont Show with June Allyson, Your Show of Shows, Red Skelton, Wagon Train ("The Kate Parker Story", "The Major Adams Story"), Bonanza, Marcus Welby, M.D., Love, American Style, Burke's Law, The Virginian, Peter Gunn, Ironside and many others.[1]

Grey died on July 31, 2004, age 87, in Woodland Hills, California, at The Motion Picture Home where she was a resident.[6] She was cremated, and her ashes scattered at sea on August 6, 2004, off the Los Angeles coast.[6]

She was portrayed by Anna Torv in the HBO mini-series The Pacific.[1]


Year Film Role Director Notes
1927 Uncle Tom's Cabin Eva Harry A. Pollard
1928 The Michigan Kid a child Irvin Willat
1928 Heart to Heart Hazel Boyd William Beaudine
1928 Jazz Mad F. Harmon Weight
1931 Misbehaving Ladies Hazel Boyd William Beaudine
1931 Palmy Days Goldwyn Girl A. Edward Sutherland uncredited
1933 Secrets a Child Frank Borzage uncredited
1934 Dames Chorus Girl Busby Berkeley uncredited
1934 The St. Louis Kid Second Girl Ray Enright scenes deleted
1934 The Firebird Autograph Seeker William Dieterle uncredited
1935 Gold Diggers of 1935 Chorus Girl Busby Berkeley uncredited
1935 Don't Bet on Blondes Girl with Henry Robert Florey uncredited
1935 She Gets Her Man Club Woman William Nigh uncredited
1936 The Great Ziegfeld Ziegfeld Girl Robert Z. Leonard uncredited
1936 Old Hutch Pirate's Club Customer J. Walter Ruben uncredited
1936 Our Relations Ethel, Girl with Dave in Drugstore Harry Lachman
1937 Secret Valley Joan Carlo Howard Bretherton
1937 Bad Guy Kitty Edward L. Cahn
1937 Rosalie Mary Callahan W. S. Van Dyke
1938 The Canary Comes Across Ann Clayton short
1938 Test Pilot Sarah Victor Fleming
1938 Billy Rose's Casa Mañana Revue Virginia Mason short
1938 Snow Gets in Your Eyes June short
1938 Ladies in Distress Sally Gus Meins
1938 The Shopworn Angel Chorus Girl #1 H.C. Potter uncredited
1938 Rich Man, Poor Girl Miss Selma Willis Reinhold Schünzel
1938 Youth Takes a Fling Madge Archie Mayo
1938 Dramatic School Simone Robert B. Sinclair
1939 Idiot's Delight Shirley Laughlin Clarence Brown
1939 Broadway Serenade Pearl Robert Z. Leonard
1939 The Hardys Ride High Consuela MacNish
1939 The Women Pat George Cukor
1939 Thunder Afloat Susan Thorson George B. Seitz
1939 Another Thin Man Lois MacFay W. S. Van Dyke
1940 Three Cheers for the Irish Patricia Casey Lloyd Bacon
1940 The Captain Is a Lady Mary Peabody Robert B. Sinclair
1940 The Golden Fleecing Lila Hanley Leslie Fenton
1940 Hullabaloo Laura Merriweather
1940 Keeping Company Anastasia Atherton S. Sylvan Simon
1941 Blonde Inspiration Margie Blake Busby Berkeley
1941 Washington Melodrama Teddy Carlyle S. Sylvan Simon
1941 The Big Store Joan Sutton Charles Reisner
1941 Whistling in the Dark 'Fran' Post S. Sylvan Simon
1942 Mr. and Mrs. North Jane Wilson Robert B. Sinclair
1942 Tarzan's New York Adventure Connie Beach Richard Thorpe
1942 Grand Central Murder Sue Custer S. Sylvan Simon
1942 Bells of Capistrano Jennifer Benton William Morgan
1942 Tish Katherine 'Kit' Bowser Sands S. Sylvan Simon
1942 Secrets of the Underground Terry Parker William Morgan
1943 Idaho Terry Grey Joseph Kane
1943 Stage Door Canteen Virginia Grey Frank Borzage
1943 Sweet Rosie O'Grady Edna Van Dyke Irving Cummings
1944 Strangers in the Night Dr. Leslie Ross Anthony Mann
1945 Grissly's Millions Katherine Palmor Bentley John English
1945 Blonde Ransom Vicki Morrison William Beaudine
1945 Flame of Barbary Coast Rita Dane Joseph Kane
1945 Men in Her Diary Diana Lee Charles Barton
1946 Smooth as Silk Paula Marlowe Charles Barton
1946 House of Horrors Joan Medford Jean Yarbrough
1946 Swamp Fire Janet Hilton William H. Pine
1947 Wyoming Lila Regan Joseph Kane
1947 Unconquered Diana Cecil B. DeMille
1948 Glamour Girl Lorraine Royle Arthur Dreifuss
1948 Who Killed Doc Robbin Ann Loring Bernard Carr
1948 So This Is New York Ella Goff Finch Richard Fleischer
1948 Miraculous Journey Patricia Sam Newfield (as Peter Stewart)
1948 Unknown Island Carole Lane Jack Bernhard
1948 Leather Gloves Jane Gilbert William Asher
1948 Mexican Hayride Montana Charles Barton
1948 Jungle Jim Dr. Hilary Parker William Berke
1949 The Threat Carol Felix E. Feist
1950 Highway 301 Mary Simms Andrew L. Stone
1950 Hurricane at Pilgrim Hill Janet Smedley Adams Richard L. Bare
1951 Three Desperate Men Laura Brock Sam Newfield[7]
1951 Bullfighter and the Lady Lisbeth Flood Budd Boetticher
1951 Slaughter Trail Lorabelle Larkin Irving Allen
1952 Desert Pursuit Mary Smith George Blair
1953 A Perilous Journey Abby R. G. Springsteen
1953 The Fighting Lawman Raquel Jackson Thomas Carr
1953 Captain Scarface Elsa Paul Guilfoyle
1954 The Forty-Niners Stella Walker Thomas Carr
1954 Target Earth Vicki Harris Sherman A. Rose
1955 The Eternal Sea Dorothy Buracker John H. Auer
1955 The Last Command Mrs. Dickinson Frank Lloyd
1955 All That Heaven Allows Alida Anderson Douglas Sirk
1955 The Rose Tattoo Estelle Hohengarten
1956 Accused of Murder Sandra Lamoreaux Joseph Kane
1957 Crime of Passion Sara Alidos Gerd Oswald
1957 Jeanne Eagels Elsie Desmond
1958 The Restless Years Miss Robeson Helmut Käutner
1959 No Name on the Bullet Roseanne Fraden Jack Arnold
1960 Portrait in Black Miss Lee Michael Gordon
1961 Tammy Tell Me True Miss Jenks Harry Keller
1961 Back Street Janey née Smith David Miller
1961 Bachelor in Paradise Camille Quinlaw Jack Arnold
1961 Flower Drum Song Rosalind uncredited
1963 Black Zoo Jenny Brooks Robert Gordon
1964 The Naked Kiss Candy Samuel Fuller
1965 Love Has Many Faces Irene Talbot Alexander Singer
1966 Madame X Mimsy David Lowell Rich
1967 Rosie! Mrs. Peters David Lowell Rich
1970 Airport Mrs. Schultz George Seaton
1975 The Lives of Jenny Dolan Landlady Jerry Jameson
1976 The Moneychangers Miss Callahan final film role


  1. ^ a b c d e f Gussow, Mel (August 6, 2004). "Virginia Grey, a Veteran Of 100 Films, Dies at 87". The New York Times. Retrieved September 4, 2012.
  2. ^ Bernstein, Adam (August 5, 2004). "Hardworking Actress Virginia Grey Dies at 87". The Washington Post. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  3. ^ "Virginia Grey - Obituary". The Daily Telegraph. August 7, 2004. Retrieved February 11, 2016.
  4. ^ Classic Images Interview, 1994
  5. ^ Terrace, Vincent (2011). Encyclopedia of Television Shows, 1925 through 2010 (2nd ed.). Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland & Company, Inc., Publishers. p. 98. ISBN 978-0-7864-6477-7.
  6. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 299. ISBN 978-0-7864-5098-5.
  7. ^ Pitts, Michael (2013). Western Movies: A Guide to 5,105 Feature Films, 2d Ed. McFarland. p. 352. ISBN 9780786463725 – via Google Books.

Further readingEdit

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Virginia Grey". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 111–114. ISBN 978-1-7200-3837-5.

External linksEdit