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|Born||April 12, 1908|
Carthage, Illinois, U.S.
|Died||November 14, 1996 (aged 88)|
(m. 1925; div. 1928)
(m. 1934; div. 1935)
(m. 1937; div. 1946)
She initially did not plan on a film career, but her friendship with Sue Carol (who later married Alan Ladd) eventually drew her to Hollywood. She had been voted "Queen of the Artists Ball" in Chicago in 1925 and was invited to perform on the variety stage by Florenz Ziegfeld, an offer she declined. She found her first marriage unsatisfying, and through her friendship with Sue Carol, decamped to California where she met William Randolph Hearst, went to Hollywood for a visit and met Charlie Chaplin when he sat next to her at a boxing match; however, Chaplin wrote in his autobiography that she approached him on the beach wanting him to cast her in his film while acknowledging that he had met her before.
Chaplin soon cast Cherrill in City Lights. Although the film and her performance were well-received, her working relationship with Chaplin on the film was often strained. As indicated in the documentary Unknown Chaplin, Cherrill was fired from the film for leaving the set for a hairdressing appointment at one point and Chaplin planned to re-film all her scenes with Georgia Hale, but ultimately realized too much money had already been spent on the film. Cherrill recalls in the documentary that she followed close friend Marion Davies's advice to hold out for more money when Chaplin asked her to return to the film.
Even before City Lights was released, 20th Century Fox signed Cherrill to a contract. Following the success of City Lights, the studio put her to work in early sound films of the 1930s, such as Girls Demand Excitement (1931), one of John Wayne's early films as a star. Big-name directors cast her in their films, such as John Ford in The Brat (1931) and Tod Browning in Fast Workers (1933). She also appeared in the 1931 Gershwin musical Delicious with Janet Gaynor. She then went to Britain where she starred in two of James Mason's earlier films, including Troubled Waters, which turned out to be her last film. None of these later films were hits, and she gave up her film career, claiming that she was "no great shakes as an actress."
Cherrill married four times. She had no children.
Considerably publicity attended an engagement to the wealthy William Rhinelander Stewart Jr. (1888-1945) that was announced in July 1932. The two sailed from Hawaii on Vincent Astor's yacht, on which the ceremony was planned, but returned thereafter, having broken off the wedding by mutual consent.
Cherrill finally settled down with Florian Martini, a Polish airman whose squadron she had looked after during World War II. He found a job working for Lockheed Martin in Santa Barbara, California, where they lived from 1948 until her death in 1996 at age 88.
|1928||The Air Circus||Extra||uncredited|
|1931||City Lights||Blind Girl|
|Girls Demand Excitement||Joan Madison|
|Delicious||Diana Van Bergh|
|The Nuisance||Miss Rutherford|
|He Couldn't Take It||Eleanor Rogers|
|Charlie Chan's Greatest Case||Barbara Winterslip||Lost film|
|Ladies Must Love||Bill's Society Fiancée|
|1934||White Heat||Lucille Cheney|
|1935||What Price Crime||Sandra Worthington|
|Late Extra||Janet Graham|
|1936||Troubled Waters||June Elkhardt|
|1983||Unknown Chaplin||Herself||TV mini-series/documentary, 1 episode|
- Louvish, Simon. "Bright Spark on the Silver Screen." The Guardian, May 9, 2009. Retrieved: December 17, 2011.
- Pace, Eric. "Virginia Cherrill, 88, Actress in 30's Films, Including 'City Lights'." The New York Times, November 18, 1996. Retrieved: June 16, 2012.
- Nicholson, Juliet.Review: "Review: Chaplin's Girl: The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill by Miranda Seymour." The London Evening Standard, May 20, 2009. Retrieved: December 17, 2011.
- "Obituary: Virginia Cherrill". The Independent. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
- Eagan 2010, p. 180.
- "Virginia Cherrill". geni_family_tree. Retrieved October 20, 2018.
- "Arnstein & Lehr, The First 120 Years", (Louis A. Lehr, Jr.)(Amazon), p. 22
- "How the Hollywood Cinderella Won the Blue Book's 'Most Eligible' Man." Olean (NY) Times-Herald, 18 July 1932.
- Johnson, Irving. "Virginia Seceding from Jersey." Albany Times-Union, 2 December 1945.
- "Divorces Cary Grant". The New York Times. March 27, 1935. p. 25. ProQuest 101566218. Retrieved August 18, 2020 – via ProQuest.
- "Virginia Cherrill: Hollywood Star Walk." Los Angeles Times. Retrieved: December 17, 2011.
- Eagan, Daniel. America's Film Legacy: The Authoritative Guide To The Landmark Movies In The National Film Registry. London: Continuum Publishing Group, 2010. ISBN 978-0-8264-2977-3.
- Seymour, Miranda. Chaplin's Girl: The Life and Loves of Virginia Cherrill. New York: Simon & Schuster, 2009. ISBN 978-1-8473-7125-6.
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