Virginia Gregg

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Virginia Gregg
Virginia Gregg.jpg
Born (1916-03-06)March 6, 1916
Harrisburg, Illinois, U.S.
Died September 15, 1986(1986-09-15) (aged 70)
Encino, California, U.S.
Cause of death Lung cancer
Years active 1946–1986
Spouse(s) Jaime del Valle (January 1948 – December 22, 1959; divorced); 3 sons[1]

Virginia Lee Gregg (March 6, 1916 – September 15, 1986) was an American actress known for her many roles in radio dramas and television series.

Early life[edit]

Born in Harrisburg, Illinois, she was the daughter of musician Dewey Alphaleta (née Todd) and businessman Edward William Gregg.[2][3] She had a stepsister, Mary.[4]

When Gregg was 5,[5] she and her family moved to Pasadena, California.[6] She attended Jefferson High School,[4] Pasadena Junior College and Pacific Academy of Dramatic Art.[5]

Career[edit]

Music[edit]

Before going into radio, Gregg played bass viola with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops. She was a member of the Singing Strings group heard initially on KHJ in Los Angeles, California, in 1937[4] and later on CBS and Mutual.[7]

Radio[edit]

Gregg was a prolific radio actress, heard on such programs as The Adventures of Sam Spade, Dragnet, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Jack Benny Program, Let George Do It, Lux Radio Theatre, One Man's Family, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and The Screen Guild Theater.

On the radio series Have Gun–Will Travel (starring John Dehner as Paladin), Gregg portrayed Miss Wong (the girlfriend of Hey Boy), and also appeared in very different roles in the concurrent television series with Richard Boone. She had the role of Betty Barbour on One Man's Family and played Richard Diamond's girlfriend, the wealthy Helen Asher, on the radio series Richard Diamond, Private Detective[7] (starring Dick Powell as Diamond). She later guest starred in an episode of the television version of Richard Diamond, starring David Janssen.

Feature films[edit]

Beginning with Body and Soul (1947), Gregg made more than 45 films, including I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Operation Petticoat (1959), All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), Man-Trap (1961), House of Women (1962), Spencer's Mountain (1963), Two on a Guillotine (1965), Big Deal at Dodge City (1966), The Bubble (1966), Madigan (1968), Heaven with a Gun (1969), A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970), No Way Back (1976), and S.O.B. (1981)[8]

Television[edit]

Gregg once said of her work as a character actress on television: "I work steadily, but I have no identity."[9] She added, "When casting people have a call for a woman who looks like the wrath of God, I'm notified."[9]

On television, Gregg portrayed Mary Surratt, the woman hanged for conspiracy in the assassination of US President Abraham Lincoln, in the November 23, 1956, episode "The Mary Surratt Case" of the NBC anthology series On Trial[10] (later renamed The Joseph Cotten Show).[11]

Gregg made three appearances on the CBS television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the syndicated Rod Cameron series, State Trooper. She guest starred in the religion anthology series, Crossroads and in the drama series about a Roman Catholic priest in New York City, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly. In 1957, Gregg was cast as Sheila Cromwell in the episode "The Case of the Cautious Coquette" of the CBS drama series, Perry Mason.

In 1957, Gregg was cast as Martha Naylor in the episode "Gallows at Granite Gap" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, with John Smith as the notorious outlaw, The Comanche Kid, and Stuart Randall, later like Smith a regular on NBC's Laramie, as Sheriff Pat Monohan. The child actor Ken Osmond appeared in this episode as Tommy.[12]

Gregg was cast in 1958 in an episode of Richard Carlson's syndicated western series, Mackenzie's Raiders. She was cast that same year as Judge Banks in the episode "We, the Jury" of the CBS situation comedy, Mr. Adams and Eve. She appeared in 1958 as well in the episode "Postmarked for Death" (1958) of the western series, Tombstone Territory and in an episode of NBC's Jefferson Drum; both programs feature crusading newspapermen in the Old West. In 1959, Gregg appeared as Zina in the episode "The Meeting" of Bruce Gordon's short-lived NBC docudrama, Behind Closed Doors.[13]She appeared in 1959 as the rancher Belle Kellogg in the episode "Wolf" in the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Sugarfoot, with Will Hutchins in the title role.[14]

In 1960, Gregg appeared with Chubby Johnson in the roles of Julie and Jessie Turnbull in the episode, "The Last Days of Jessie Turnbull", of the ABC western-themed series, The Man from Blackhawk, starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance investigator.[15]

In the 1961–62 television season, Gregg provided the voice of Maggie Bell in the ABC cartoon series, Calvin and the Colonel.[16] In 1961, she was cast as Emily Stevens in the episode "Paperback Hero" of the ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. In 1961, she guest starred as Vivian Lambert in the episode "Discreet Deception" on NBC's anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show.

In 1962 she made two appearances on CBS's Gunsmoke. That same year, she portrayed Georgine in the episode "The All-American Boy" of the ABC crime drama, The New Breed, with Leslie Nielsen. In 1963, Gregg was cast as Mrs. Austin in "A House in Order" of NBC's modern western drama series, Empire. That same year, she was cast as separate characters in two episodes of NBC's The Eleventh Hour, a program about psychiatry. She appeared in an episode ("Three Men from Now"; 1965) of The Legend of Jesse James. In 1958 Gregg played Hilda Stone in the Christmas episode ("The Eight-Cent Reward") of Wanted: Dead or Alive as well as the mother of a sick child in "The Healing Woman" in the same series the following year, both opposite Steve McQueen .

Gregg appeared in three episodes of Maverick, "Day of Reckoning" with James Garner in 1958, "Pappy" with Garner and Jack Kelly in 1959, and "The Ice Man" with Kelly in 1961. She appeared in practically every narrative television series in the late '50s through the early 1970s, including Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, The Rockford Files, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Make Room for Daddy, Philip Marlowe, My Favorite Martian, Hazel, and Bonanza. In 1959, 1963 and 1964, she guest starred on Rawhide in the episodes "Incident of the Misplaced Indians", "Incident of the Comancheros" and "Incident of the Banker". In 1964, she played "Mrs. Bronson" in an episode ("Confounding Her Astronomers") of Breaking Point.

Gregg may be best remembered for her many appearances in Dragnet. Jack Webb utilized her in dozens of roles on both radio and TV versions of the show as well as the Dragnet 1954 movie where she played the role of Ethel Starkie. In later years, she appeared on other shows produced by Webb's production company, Mark VII Limited (e.g., Adam-12, Emergency!). Gregg also played non-recurring character roles in four episodes of the long-running CBS series Perry Mason, including the role of Sheila Cromwell in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Cautious Coquette," and murderer Mrs. Osborn in the 1961 episode, "The Case of the Pathetic Patient."

Voice acting[edit]

Gregg supplied the voice of "Mrs. Bates" in Psycho as did Jeanette Nolan and Paul Jasmin, all uncredited. Only Gregg did the voice in the sequels Psycho II and Psycho III. She voiced "Tarra" on the 1967 animated TV series, The Herculoids. She reprised that role when the series was revived in 1981 as part of the Space Stars animated series.

Personal life[edit]

Gregg married producer Jaime del Valle in 1948, (Another source says October 15, 1947, in Las Vegas, Nevada.)[5] and they had three children, Gregg, Jaime, and Ricardo.[5] They were divorced December 22, 1959.[17]

She was active with the Recording for the Blind Inc. organization, making recordings as a volunteer and serving on the group's board of directors.[6]

Death[edit]

Gregg died from lung cancer in Encino, California, September 15, 1986,[7] aged 70. She was survived by her three sons: Gregg, Jaime and Ricardo del Valle.

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virginia Gregg profile". IMDb.com. 
  2. ^ Virginia Gregg profile, FilmReference.com; accessed May 18, 2015.
  3. ^ "Virginia Gregg Praised By Tribune Review Of Film 'Dragnet'". Illinois, Harrisburg. The Daily Register. August 24, 1954. p. 3. Retrieved January 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  4. ^ a b c Danson, Tom E. (January 16, 1949). "Yours Truly, Virginia Gregg". California, Long Beach. Long Beach Press Telegram. p. 58. Retrieved January 8, 2016 – via Newspaperarchive.com.  open access publication - free to read
  5. ^ a b c d "Virginia Gregg del Valle, Niece of T.D. Gregg, Stars in Radio, TV Shows". Illinois, Harrisburg. Harrisburg Daily Register. July 28, 1954. p. 3. Retrieved January 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  6. ^ a b "Versatile Character Actress Virginia Gregg Dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. September 17, 1986. Retrieved 8 January 2016. 
  7. ^ a b c DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. ISBN 978-0-7864-2834-2. P. 115.
  8. ^ "Virginia Gregg Is Dead at 70; Off-Screen Voice in Psycho", The New York Times, 19 September 1986.
  9. ^ a b Witbeck, Charles (October 11, 1959). "Versatile Virginia Gregg Has Steady Work, But No Identity". Illinois, Decatur. The Decatur Daily Review. p. 51. 
  10. ^ Vernon, Terry (November 23, 1956). "Tele-Vues". California, Long Beach. Long Beach Independent. p. 38. Retrieved January 8, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read
  11. ^ Brooks, Tim & Marsh, Earle (1979). The Complete Directory to Prime Time Network TV Shows: 1946-Present. Ballantine Books. ISBN 0-345-25525-9. P. 315.
  12. ^ ""The Comanche Kid", November 8, 1957". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved March 2, 2013. 
  13. ^ "Behind Closed Doors". ctva.biz. Retrieved September 2, 2009. 
  14. ^ ""Wolf", June 9, 1959". Internet Movie Data Base. Retrieved January 24, 2014. 
  15. ^ "The Man from Blackhawk". Classic Television Archives. Retrieved January 30, 2013. 
  16. ^ McNeil, Alex (1997). Total Television. New York, NY: Penguin Books. pp. 61–62. 
  17. ^ "Virginia Gregg Is Granted Divorce". Texas, Corpus Christi. The Corpus Christi Caller-Times. December 23, 1959. p. 28. Retrieved January 7, 2016 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication - free to read

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