18 January 2005 | WENN | See recent WENN news »

Actress Virginia Mayo, a former chorus girl who made good as a movie star in the 40s and 50s in such movies as The Best Years of Our Lives and White Heat, died Monday at a nursing home in Thousand Oaks, CA of pneumonia and heart failure; she was 84. The former vaudevillian actress, often described as having the quintessential "peaches and cream" complexion, started her career under the watchful eye of Samuel Goldwyn, who cast her in a small part in the 1943 film Jack London, which starred her soon-to-be-husband Michael O'Shea, whom she married four years later. The "Goldwyn Girl" soon found herself to be a leading lady, opposite Bob Hope no less, in the 1944 film The Princess and the Pirate. Roles in numerous other light comedies followed, primarily opposite comedian Danny Kaye, with whom she appeared in four films, including The Secret Life of Walter Mitty. Though known mainly for her comedic talents, Mayo was also adept at drama, and turned in an acclaimed dramatic performance in 1946's The Best Years of Our Lives as the unfaithful wife of Dana Andrews. Moving from MGM to Warner Bros. in the late 40s, Mayo scored another dramatic hit as the wife of James Cagney in the crime drama White Heat. She continued in a wide range of roles throughout the 40s and 50s in movies such as The Flame and the Arrow, Captain Horatio Hornblower, She's Working Her Way Through College, and The Silver Chalice, opposite Paul Newman in his film debut. She retired as the 60s approached, appearing only in a handful of films and rarely, if ever, doing television work. Mayo was married to O'Shea until his death in 1973, and she is survived by their daughter and three grandsons. --Prepared by IMDb staff

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