|Full name||Vera Ralston|
|Alternative names||Věra Helena Hrubá; Vera Hrubá Ralston|
July 12, 1919|
|Died||February 9, 2003
Santa Barbara, California, U.S.
Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá; July 12, 1919 – February 9, 2003) was a Czech figure skater and actress. She later became a naturalized American citizen. She worked as an actress during the 1940s and 1950s.
Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá to a wealthy jeweler in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her age was uncertain; Ralston at various times gave 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1923 as her year of birth. Her brother was Rudy Ralston, who later became a film producer in the United States.
As a figure skater, she represented Czechoslovakia in competition under her birth name Vera Hrubá.
She competed at the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 15th. Later that season, she competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she placed 17th. During the games, she personally met and insulted Adolf Hitler. Hitler asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." As she later recalled, "I looked him right in the eye, and said that I'd rather skate on the swastika. The Führer was furious."
Hrubá competed at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 7th. She emigrated to the United States in the early 1940s and became a naturalized citizen in 1946.
She moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston. She normally played an immigrant girl, because of her limited English skills. Among the 26 films Ralston starred in were Storm Over Lisbon with Erich von Stroheim (1944), Dakota (1945), I, Jane Doe (1948) with Ruth Hussey and John Carrol, The Fighting Kentuckian with John Wayne (1949), A Perilous Journey with David Brian (1953), and Fair Wind to Java with Fred MacMurray (1953). She retired from films in 1958.
In 1952 Ralston married Republic studio head Herbert Yates. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and had left his wife and children to be with Ralston. Yates used his position to obtain roles for Ralston, and at one point was sued by studio shareholders for using company assets to promote his wife. Yates died in 1966, leaving his $8 million estate to Ralston. She suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, then remarried and lived quietly in southern California.
The authors of the book The Golden Turkey Awards nominated her for the dubious honor of "The Worst Actress of All Time," along with Candice Bergen and Mamie Van Doren. They all lost to Raquel Welch.
- Lake Placid Serenade (1944)
- Storm Over Lisbon (1944)
- Dakota (1945)
- The Flame (1947)
- Wyoming (1947)
- Drums Along the Amazon (1948)
- The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)
- Surrender (1950)
- Thunder Across the Pacific (1951)
- Hoodlum Empire (1952)
- A Perilous Journey (1953)
- Fair Wind to Java (1953)
- Jubilee Trail (1954)
- Spoilers of the Forest (1957)
- Gunfire at Indian Gap (1957)
- The Notorious Mr. Monks (1958)
- Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 240–41. ISBN 0-517-54855-0.
- Biography of Vera Ralston Retrieved June 5, 2006
- "Obituary – Vera Ralston" at the Wayback Machine (archived July 26, 2003). Irish Independent Online. March 2, 2003. URL accessed June 5, 2006.
- Hal Erikson. "Vera Ralston, Actor: July 12, 1923 – Prague, Czechoslovakia". The New York Times from the Allmovie. Retrieved June 2, 2007.
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