Juanita Quigley

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Juanita Quigley
Born (1931-06-24) 24 June 1931 (age 85)
Los Angeles, California, United States
Other names Sister Quentin Rita[1]
Occupation Actress
Years active 1934–1950

Juanita Quigley (born 24 June 1931) is a former child actress in American motion pictures of the 1930s and 1940s. She had a sister, Rita Quigley, who was also a child actress.[2]


Juanita Quigley was billed as "Baby Jane" in several early roles.[3] Her screen debut was as Claudette Colbert's three-year-old daughter in Imitation of Life (1934).[4] She went on to play featured parts in several films, including The Man Who Reclaimed His Head (1934) and was Jean Harlow's niece in Riffraff (1936). Quigley became a familiar face to moviegoers of the era, but major roles for children so young were few and she often played bits as well as featured roles. She was one of the most popular child stars of her day, and was Universal Pictures' youngest star in 1934.[5]

Quigley was briefly involved in the Our Gang film series. In 1940, she was the guest-starring lead in The New Pupil when cast as Sally, who briefly takes Carl "Alfalfa" Switzer away from Darla Hood. Two years later, she reprised the character in Going to Press (1942), the only time in the MGM era where the female lead was played by someone other than Darla Hood (who had recently left the series) or Janet Burston.

Quigley acted alongside her older sister, Rita Quigley, in Whispering Footsteps (1943). Her last major role was in National Velvet (1944), in which she played Elizabeth Taylor's sister.[6]

Later career[edit]

Quigley made only a handful of small appearances after National Velvet, her last being in 1950. At the age of 20, in August 1951, she became a nun in the order of the Daughters of Mary and Joseph,[7] teaching at Precious Blood Catholic School.[4] After several years in her convent, left the vocation, and married.[6]

Inaccurate documentation exists that Juanita made an uncredited appearance as an extra in the locally filmed Porky's II: The Next Day[8] but these rumors and citations are inaccurate. At the time of this filming, Juanita lived in Pennsylvania pursuing her post-convent career full-time.[9][10][11] Juanita is now retired and is an intensely private person with regard to her past. Most who know her as a friend are unaware of her previous life as an actress. As of 2016, Juanita lives a peaceful retired life with her son and daughter-in-law in Massachusetts.


Year Title Role
1934 We're Rich Again Child with nanny
Have a Heart Rosy
Imitation of Life Baby Jessie Pullman
The Man Who Reclaimed His Head Linette Verin
1935 Straight from the Heart Maggie Haines
Alias Mary Dow Mary Dow
1936 Riffraff Rosie
The Devil-Doll Marguerite Coulvet
Born to Dance Sally Saks
1938 Hawaii Calls Doris Milburn
The Devil's Party Helen McCoy, as a child
You and Me Nasty little girl
Woman Against Woman Ellen
Having Wonderful Time Mabel
Men with Wings Patricia Falconer, aged 6
That Certain Age The pest
1939 The Family Next Door Susan
Code of the Streets Cynthia
1940 Oh, Johnny, How Can You Love! Junior
The Blue Bird Child
The New Pupil (short) Sally
1941 Bachelor Daddy Girl with pigtails at movie
Paper Bullets Rita, as a child
1942 The Vanishing Virginian Caroline Yancey
Going to Press Sally
A Yank at Eton Jane Dennis
1943 Assignment in Brittany Jeannine
Happy Land Sally
Whispering Footsteps Rose Murphy
1944 The Lady and the Monster Mary Lou
National Velvet Malvolia Brown
1948 Luxury Liner Jean
1950 Mystery Street Daughter


  1. ^ https://news.google.com/newspapers?nid=1310&dat=19510818&id=qC0gAAAAIBAJ&sjid=CPEDAAAAIBAJ&pg=6755,5953260
  2. ^ Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. (2 volume set). McFarland. p. 608. ISBN 9780786479924. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  3. ^ "Movie Star Biography - Juanita Quigley". Premiere.com. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  4. ^ a b "Former Child Star Now Working as Nun". The San Bernardino County Sun. California, San Bernardino. November 1, 1956. p. 21. Retrieved December 24, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read
  5. ^ http://www.classicmoviekids.com/quigley.htm
  6. ^ a b Staggs, Sam (2009). Born to Be Hurt: The Untold Story of Imitation of Life. Macmillan. p. 370. ISBN 9780312373368. Retrieved 24 December 2016. 
  7. ^ Child Actress Now A Nun: Juanita Quigley Takes Vow as Catholic, Eugene Register-Guard, Aug 18, 1951, page 30.
  8. ^ Hans J. Wollstein. "Juanita Quigley Biography". AllMovie.com. Retrieved 2010-01-25. 
  9. ^ Interview with her son on 09 Aug 2010
  10. ^ Interview with her son on 21 Sept 2010
  11. ^ Personal interview with Juanita Quigley on 20 Sept 2010


  • Willson, Dixie (1935). Little Hollywood Stars. Akron, OH, and New York: Saalfield Pub. Co.

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