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with Toto, in a studio promotional photograph to celebrate Christmas 1939
|Born||Virginia Anna Adeleide Weidler
March 21, 1927
Eagle Rock, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
|Died||July 1, 1968
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Heart attack|
|Spouse(s)||Lionel Krisel (m. 1947–68) (her death); 2 children|
Early life and career
Virginia was the sixth and final child born to Alfred Weidler, an architect, and Margaret Weidler (born Margarete Therese Louise Radon; 1890–1987), a former opera singer. She was the second Weidler child born in the United States after the family emigrated from Germany in 1923.
She made her first film appearance in 1931. Her first credited role was as Europena in Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch (1934) a role she won at age seven after having been seen in the play Autumn Crocus. Virginia made a big impression on audiences as the little girl who would “hold my breath ‘til I am black in the face” to get her way.
For the next several years, she would appear in many memorable films from the George Stevens directed Laddie (1935) to a pivotal supporting role in Souls at Sea (1938) starring Gary Cooper and George Raft. Despite being under contract to Paramount, just as many of her roles of the period took place while on loan to RKO-Radio Pictures.
When Paramount did not extend her contract, she was signed by MGM in 1938. Her first film for MGM was with their leading male star Mickey Rooney in Love Is a Headache (1938). The film was a success and Weidler was later cast in larger roles. She was one of the all-female cast of the 1939 film The Women, as Norma Shearer's character's daughter.
Her next major success was The Philadelphia Story (1940) in which she played Dinah Lord, the witty younger sister of Tracy Lord (Katharine Hepburn). Her film career ended with the 1943 film Best Foot Forward.
At her retirement from the screen at age 16, she had appeared in more than forty films, and had acted with some of the biggest stars of the day, including Clark Gable and Myrna Loy in Too Hot to Handle, Bette Davis in All This and Heaven Too, and Judy Garland in Babes on Broadway.
In addition to her parents, Virginia had three brothers and two sisters. Her brothers Warner (born Werner), Walter (born Wolfgang), and George were successful musicians after some child acting work, eventually owning their own recording studio. Her sisters, Sylvia (Waltraud) and Renee (Verena), also were involved in in show business prior to their marriages.
On March 27, 1947, aged 20, Weidler married Lionel Krisel. They had two sons, Ron and Gary.
Weidler refused to be interviewed for the remainder of her life, living in private. She remained married to Krisel until her death at age 41 in Los Angeles from a lifelong heart ailment on July 1, 1968.
While not the box office success of 20th Century Fox's Shirley Temple or Jane Withers, Virginia Weidler still has a loyal following to this day. In 2012, the Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society was created to honor her life and career.
|1939||The Gulf Screen Guild Theater||Never In This World with Leslie Howard and Kay Francis, Episode 012|
|1941||The Chase and Sanborn Program with Bergen and McCarthy||Guest Star with Abbott and Costello, Ray Noble and his Orchestra |
|1942||The Kraft Music Hall with Bing Crosby||Guest Star with Carole Landis |
|1942||Victory Theater||The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lt. James Stewart and Ruth Hussey |
|1943||Screen Guild Theater||The Youngest Profession with Edward Arnold and Jean Porter |
|1944||Dupont's Cavalcade of America||Junior Nurse with Jane Darwell |
|1945||Dupont's Cavalcade of America||Weapon 4-H with Skip Homeier |
|1946||Reader's Digest-Radio Edition||Do You Remember?|
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- [dead link]
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- Willson, Dixie. Little Hollywood Stars. Akron, OH, e New York: Saalfield Pub. Co., 1935.
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