‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Actress Was 97 – The Hollywood Reporter


Virginia Patton, who portrayed Ruth Dakin Bailey, the sister-in-law of Jimmy Stewart’s George Bailey, within the Frank Capra vacation traditional It’s a Wonderful Life, has died. She was 97. 

Patton died Thursday at an assisted residing facility in Albany, Georgia, the Mathews Funeral Home introduced.

Patton’s character within the 1946 movie was married to Harry Bailey (Todd Karns), and her large scene takes place on the Bedford Falls practice station, when she meets George and Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell) for the primary time.

While crewmembers had been lighting her scene — filmed on the Santa Fe railroad’s now-defunct Lamanda Park station in Pasadena — together with her stand-in, she was questioning about how she was going to eat her buttered popcorn whereas carrying white gloves.

“I was dressed as a young matron. I had a hat, a suit and white gloves, I was coming to meet my new in-laws,” she recalled in 2016. “And I used to be going to eat buttered popcorn with white gloves?

“We rehearsed it, and Frank didn’t say anything about it, his assistant didn’t say anything about it, the cameraman didn’t say anything about it. I was sitting there, ‘What am I going to do? I’m going to get the popcorn all over those gloves.’ … I thought, ‘Well, I’ll just pretend everybody eats buttered popcorn with their gloves on, and they all get butter on them.’”

Virginia Ann Patton was born in Cleveland on June 25, 1925. She was raised in Portland, Oregon, the place she graduated from Jefferson High School in 1942, then made her approach to Los Angeles to pursue an appearing profession.

She signed with Warner Bros., made her film debut within the musical Thank Your Lucky Stars (1943), starring Eddie Cantor and an all-star forged, and appeared in small roles in different movies together with Janie (1944), Hollywood Canteen (1944) and Jack Benny’s The Horn Blows at Midnight (1945).

A niece of World War II basic George Patton, she had starred in a play written by William C. De Mille, brother of Cecil B. De Mille, whereas she was attending USC, and that put her on the radar of Capra. He was casting It’s a Wonderful Life, the primary movie he would make for his new Liberty Films manufacturing firm.

“I read for him, and he signed me,” she stated in 2013, including that she was “the only girl he ever signed in his whole career.” Her contract at Warners had elapsed, and all the opposite grownup castmembers would work on mortgage from different studios.

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From left: Todd Karns, Virginia Patton, Jimmy Stewart and Thomas Mitchell in 1946’s ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’

Courtesy Everett Collection

Since It’s a Wonderful Life has aired a number of occasions yearly round Christmas for many years, Patton usually joked that “I’ve probably been in more homes than even Santa Claus.”

Patton had the feminine lead in The Burning Cross (1947), a film concerning the Ku Klux Klan, and Black Eagle (1948), a Western, then retired from appearing following a supporting flip in The Lucky Stiff (1949).

She left Hollywood and moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, after marrying automotive govt Cruse W. Moss in 1949, and so they had three kids. They had been married for 69 years till his loss of life in 2018.

Patton served as a docent on the University of Michigan’s Museum of Art and president and director of the Patton Corp., an funding and actual property holding firm.

In a 2012 interview, Patton famous that Capra requested her to assume twice about giving up present Business, however she stated she was comfy together with her choice.

“I have a beautiful letter that [Capra] wrote me because I kept in touch with him,” she stated. “He wrote, ‘I just knew you’d be a wonderful mother with three little bambinos and a wonderful husband.’”

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