Virginia Patton

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Virginia Patton
Virginia Patton Black Eagle headshot.jpg
Patton in Black Eagle (1948)
Virginia Ann Marie Patton

June 25, 1925 (age 97)[1]
Cleveland, Ohio, U.S.
Alma materUniversity of Southern California
University of Michigan
OccupationActress, businesswoman
Years active1943–1949
Known forIt's a Wonderful Life

Virginia Ann Marie Patton (born 25 June 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).

Early life[edit]

Virginia Ann Marie Patton was born in Cleveland, Ohio on June 25, 1925[2] to Marie (née Cain) and Donald Patton. She was raised in her father's hometown of Portland, Oregon,[3] where her family relocated when she was an infant.[4] She is a niece of General George S. Patton.[5] Patton graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, and then relocated to Los Angeles, California, where she attended the University of Southern California (USC).[6]


While a student at USC, Patton began to audition for acting parts. She collaborated in plays with screenwriter William C. DeMille while in college.[6] 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).[7] 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.[8]

Personal life[edit]

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.[7] She later attended the University of Michigan.[7]


Year Title Role Notes
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 Janie Carrie Lou
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)


  1. ^ 'It's a Wonderful Life' Actress Recalls Classic Film Role in Visit to Plymouth
  2. ^ "St. Nicholas Institute: 2013 Award Winners". St. Nicholas Institute. Archived from the original on April 19, 2015. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  3. ^ "Virginia Ann Patton (b. 1925)". Ohio Birth Index, 1908–2011. Record count: 13,254,340. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  4. ^ "Virginia A Patton in entry for Donn M Patton, 1930; United States Census, 1930". Family Search. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  5. ^ Reuter, Anne (October 12, 1997). "A gem gets its chance to Shine". The Ann Arbor News. p. F3.
  6. ^ a b McKay, John (December 9, 2012). "'It's a Wonderful Life' Actress Recalls Classic Film Role in Visit to Plymouth". Patch. Plymouth, Michigan. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  7. ^ a b c Pronechen, Joseph (December 26, 2013). "'It's a Wonderful Life' Actress Tells How Wonderful the Film Was and Is". National Catholic Register. Retrieved July 1, 2016.
  8. ^ Berry & Berry 2007, p. 48.


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