Edit
Virginia Mayo Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (11) | Personal Quotes (8)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 30 November 1920St. Louis, Missouri, USA
Date of Death 17 January 2005Thousand Oaks, California, USA  (pneumonia and heart failure)
Birth NameVirginia Clara Jones
Nickname Ginny
Height 5' 5" (1.65 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Virginia Clara Jones was born on November 30, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, the daughter of a newspaper reporter and his wife. The family had a rich heritage in the St. Louis area: her great-great-great-grandfather served in the American Revolution and later founded the city of East Saint Louis, Illinois, located right across the Mississippi River from its namesake. Virginia was interested in show business from an early age. Her aunt operated a dance studio and Virginia began taking lessons at the age of six. After graduating from high school in 1937, she became a member of the St. Louis Municipal Opera before she was signed to a contract by Samuel Goldwyn after being spotted by an MGM talent scout during a Broadway revue. David O. Selznick gave her a screen test, but decided she wouldn't fit into films. Goldwyn, however, believed that her talent as an actress was there and cast her in a small role in 1943's Jack London (1943). She later had a walk-on part in Follies Girl (1943) that same year. Believing there was more to her than her obvious ravishing beauty, producers thought it was time to give her bigger and better roles. In 1944 she was cast as Princess Margaret in The Princess and the Pirate (1944), with Bob Hope and a year later appeared as Ellen Shavley in Wonder Man (1945). Her popularity increasing with every appearance, Virginia was cast in two more films in 1946, The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), with Danny Kaye, and The Best Years of Our Lives (1946), with Dana Andrews, and received good notices as Andrews' avaricious, unfaithful wife. Her roles may have been coming in slow, but with each one her popularity with audiences rose. She finally struck paydirt in 1947 with a plum assignment in the well-received The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) as Rosalind van Hoorn. That same year she married Michael O'Shea and would remain with him until his death in 1973 (the union produced a daughter, Mary Catherine, in 1953). She got some of the best reviews of her career in James Cagney's return to the gangster genre, White Heat (1949), as Verna, the scheming, cheating wife of homicidal killer Cody Jarrett (Cagney). The striking beauty had still more plum roles in the 1950s. Parts in Backfire (1950), She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) and South Sea Woman (1953) all showed she was still a force to be reckoned with. As the decade ended, Virginia's career began to slow down. She had four roles in the 1960s and four more in the following decade. Her last role was as Janet Wilson in 1990's Evil Spirits (1990). She died on January 17, 2005.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

Spouse (1)

Michael O'Shea (5 July 1947 - 4 December 1973) (his death) (1 child)

Trivia (11)

Her vocals were always dubbed: by Louanne Hogan in The Princess and the Pirate (1944), by Betty Russell in The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), by Jeri Sullavan in A Song Is Born (1948) and by Bonnie Lou Williams in her six singing roles at WB from 1949-57.
Was slightly cross-eyed and had to be carefully photographed.
Early on, using her real name of Virginia Jones, she played a straight woman in vaudeville for four years to a performing horse act. The "horse" was comprised of two men known as the Mayo Brothers; hence her stage name.
One daughter with Michael O'Shea - Catherine Mary (b. 1953)
In Italy, most of her films were dubbed by Dhia Cristiani although at the beginning of her career Rosetta Calavetta, Lidia Simoneschi and Rina Morelli also occasionally lent their voice to her.
Was Paul Newman's first on-screen leading lady, in the Biblical Epic The Silver Chalice (1954).
Biography in: "The Scribner Encyclopedia of American Lives". Volume 7, 2003-2005, pages 360-361. Farmington Hills, MI: Thomson Gale, 2007.
Was a lifelong staunch supporter of the Republican party.
In 1963 and 1964 she joined fellow actresses Joan Caulfield, Ruth Hussey, Yvonne De Carlo, Marie Windsor, Laraine Day, and Maidie Norman, in making appearances on behalf of U.S. Sen. Barry M. Goldwater, the Republican nominee for President in the campaign against U.S. President Lyndon Johnson.
Mayo was once termed "the most beautiful blonde in the world" and her beauty so impressed the Sultan of Morocco than seeing her was "tangible proof of the existence of God.".
Auditioned for the part of "Lisa Douglas" in Green Acres (1965) but lost out to Eva Gabor.

Personal Quotes (8)

[on Jack Palance] I must say Jack Palance was a drag. We were together in The Silver Chalice (1954). The way he did his work was strange. He was a weird actor and I didn't like working with him at all.
[on Doris Day] I loved working with her. We used to call her Miss Sparkle Plenty because she was so vivacious.
[on James Cagney] Jimmy Cagney was the most dynamic man who ever appeared on the screen. He should have won five Oscars, he was so fabulous. He stimulated me to such an extent. I must say that I didn't have to act very much; I just had to react to him because he was so powerful.
[on Alan Ladd] And I worked with Alan Ladd who, along with Gregory Peck, was my favorite leading man. He was a beautiful man, charming and gentle, and I think, of all my leading men, he worked best with me.
[on how she met her husband, Michael O'Shea] He just sat there watching me, and then he walked right up and kissed me.
I was a better actress than I was given credit for. I know that for a fact. But you get stamped . . . categorized as pretty, a beauty, shapely . . . and you're just stamped for life.
Working with comedians like [Bob Hope] and [Danny Kaye] taught me timing, pace and fine points of acting I never would have learned otherwise.
The blacklisting that took place in Hollywood was slightly different than how you hear of it today. There was a genuine Communist threat in this country and there were Communistic actors, directors, screenwriters and producers in Hollywood trying to grab control of the industry and use it for their own end, which was to spread Communist propaganda throughout the country and the world. The system used to get rid of the Communists was bad. Joseph McCarthy and his methods were a little cruel and drastic. But the Communist danger was there. And it has grown.

See also

Other Works | Publicity Listings | Official Sites | Contact Info

Contribute to This Page