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
Born(1917-03-22)March 22, 1917
DiedJuly 31, 2004(2004-07-31) (aged 87)
OccupationActress, Singer
Years active1927–1977


Born in Edendale, California, on March 22, 1917, Grey was the youngest of three daughters of the 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 in order 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, and eventually signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer (MGM), appearing in several films, including The Hardys Ride High (1939), Another Thin Man (1939), Hullabaloo (1940), and The Big Store (1941).[1]

She left MGM in 1942, and signed with several different studios over the years, working steadily. 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]

She 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 together. Many, including Virginia herself, expected him to marry her with the tabloids expecting a wedding announcement. It was a great surprise when he hastily married Lady Sylvia Ashley in 1949, leaving Grey heartbroken. Gable divorced Ashley in 1952. However, Gable never rekindled their romance and Grey's friends say that her hoping and waiting for Gable was the reason she never married.[3] She was also a staunch conservative Republican.[4] Regarding her faith, Grey adhered to Mormonism, stating that, "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".[5]

In 1951, Grey portrayed Blanche Bickerson on the syndicated comedy TV series The Bickersons.[6] 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, 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, aged 87, in Woodland Hills, California, at The Motion Picture Home where she was a resident.[7] She was cremated, and her ashes scattered at sea on August 6, 2004, off the Los Angeles coast.[7]

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



  1. 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. Biography for Virginia Grey on IMDb
  5. Classic Images Interview, 1994
  6. 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.
  7. 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.
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