Patton in Black Eagle (1948)
Virginia Ann Patton
June 25, 1925
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
|Education||Jefferson High School (Portland, Oregon)|
|Alma mater||University of Southern California|
University of Michigan
Virginia Ann Patton (born June 25, 1925) is an American retired businesswoman and former actress. After appearing in several films in the early 1940s, she was cast in her most well-known role as Ruth Dakin Bailey in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). In 1949, Patton retired from acting, with her final film credit being The Lucky Stiff (1949).
Patton was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Marie (née Cain) and Donald Patton. She was raised in her father's hometown of Portland, Oregon, where her family relocated when she was an infant. She is a niece of General George S. Patton. Patton graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, and then relocated to Los Angeles, California, where she attended the University of Southern California (USC).
While a student at USC, Patton began to audition for acting parts. She collaborated in plays with screenwriter William C. deMille while in college. She had several insignificant film appearances before being cast in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) as Ruth Dakin Bailey, the wife of George Bailey's younger brother Harry. Although Capra did not know Patton personally, she read the role for him and he signed her to a contract. Patton later said that she was the only girl the famous director ever signed in his entire career. Patton still gives interviews about It's a Wonderful Life and is today the last surviving credited member of the adult actors in the film (a number of child actors are also still alive).
Patton made only four films after It's a Wonderful Life, including her first lead in the B-Western Black Eagle (1948). She appeared in the drama The Burning Cross (1946), a film about a World War II veteran who becomes embroiled with the Ku Klux Klan upon returning to his hometown.
Patton was married to Cruse W. Moss from 1949 until his death in 2018. She gave up acting in the late 1940s to concentrate on raising a family with her husband in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She later attended the University of Michigan.
|1943||Thank Your Lucky Stars||Girl in Ann Sheridan Number||Uncredited|
|1943||Old Acquaintance||College Girl||Uncredited|
|1944||Roaring Guns||Karen Ferris||Short film|
|1944||Grandfather's Follies||Short film|
|1944||The Last Ride||Hazel Dale||Uncredited|
|1944||Hollywood Canteen||Junior Hostess||Uncredited|
|1945||The Horn Blows at Midnight||Party Girl||Uncredited|
|1946||Canyon Passage||Liza Stone / Bartlett||Uncredited|
|1946||Nobody Lives Forever||Switchboard Operator||Uncredited|
|1946||It's a Wonderful Life||Ruth Dakin Bailey|
|1947||The Burning Cross||Doris Green|
|1947||A Double Life||Actress onstage in Othello|
|1948||Black Eagle||Ginny Long|
|1949||The Lucky Stiff||Millie Dale||(final film role)|
- "St. Nicholas Institute: 2013 Award Winners". St. Nicholas Institute. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Virginia Ann Patton (b. 1925)". Ohio Birth Index, 1908–2011. Record count: 13,254,340. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
- "Virginia A Patton in entry for Donn M Patton, 1930; United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
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- Berry & Berry 2007, p. 48.
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