Virginia Weidler

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Virginia Weidler
Virginia Weidler and Toto.jpg
with Toto, in a studio promotional photograph to celebrate Christmas 1939
Born Virginia Anna Adeleide Weidler
(1927-03-21)March 21, 1927
Eagle Rock, Los Angeles County, California, U.S.
Died July 1, 1968(1968-07-01) (aged 41)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Cause of death Heart attack
Occupation Actress
Years active 1931–1943
Spouse(s) Lionel Krisel (m. 1947–68) (her death); 2 children
Children Ron Krisel
Gary Krisel

Virginia Anna Adeleide Weidler (March 21, 1927[1][2] – July 1, 1968) was an American child actress, popular in Hollywood films during the 1930s and 1940s.[3]

Early life and career[edit]

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.[4] She was the second Weidler child born in the United States after the family emigrated from Germany in 1923.[5]

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.[6] 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.[7]

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.[8] Despite being under contract to Paramount, just as many of her roles of the period took place while on loan to RKO-Radio Pictures.[9]

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.[10]

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.[10]

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.[10]

Family[edit]

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.[11] Her sisters, Sylvia (Waltraud) and Renee (Verena), also were involved in in show business prior to their marriages.[12]

Her father turned his architectural skills into a career building miniature sets for 20th Century Fox.[13]

Marriage[edit]

On March 27, 1947, aged 20, Weidler married Lionel Krisel. They had two sons, Ron and Gary.[14]

Death[edit]

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.[15]

Legacy[edit]

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.[16]

In late 2016, the Los Angeles City Council honored Virginia by proclaiming March 21, 2017, which would have been her 90th birthday, as A Celebration of Virginia Weidler.[17]

Filmography[edit]

Radio appearances[edit]

Year Program Episode/source
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 [18]
1942 The Kraft Music Hall with Bing Crosby Guest Star with Carole Landis [19]
1942 Victory Theater The Philadelphia Story with Katharine Hepburn, Cary Grant, Lt. James Stewart and Ruth Hussey [20]
1943 Screen Guild Theater The Youngest Profession with Edward Arnold and Jean Porter [21]
1944 Dupont's Cavalcade of America Junior Nurse with Jane Darwell [22]
1945 Dupont's Cavalcade of America Weapon 4-H with Skip Homeier [22]
1946 Reader's Digest-Radio Edition Do You Remember?[23]

References[edit]

  1. ^ "Virginia Anna Adeleide Krisel (Weidler) (1927 - 1968) - Genealogy". Geni.com. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  2. ^ [1][dead link]
  3. ^ "Class Act Featured Actress: Virginia Weidler". www.classicmoviemusicals.com. Retrieved April 30, 2016. 
  4. ^ Salt Lake Tribune, page six, December 16, 1934; accessed February 20, 2017.
  5. ^ Artists in California, 1786–1940, 1st edition, Edan Milton Hughes, San Francisco: Hughes Pub. Co. (1986) OCLC 13323489
  6. ^ Detroit Free Press, October 15, 1939. Accessed on February 20, 2017.
  7. ^ "Virginia Weidler Biography". fandango.com. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  8. ^ Variety, December 31, 1936. Accessed on February 20, 2017.
  9. ^ "Virginia Weidler". imdb.com. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  10. ^ a b c Virginia Weidler at the Internet Movie Database
  11. ^ "The Wilder Brothers's Biography — Free listening, videos, concerts, stats and photos at". Last.fm. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  12. ^ "Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society: The Weidler family ad in the Standard Casting book...". virginiaweidler.net. Retrieved February 21, 2017. 
  13. ^ "(photo caption)". Life. August 12, 1946. p. 78. Retrieved September 12, 2015. 
  14. ^ Who's Who in Advertising, First edition, 1990–1991, Wilmette, Illinois: Marquis Who's Who, 1989 OCLC 21990384
  15. ^ "Virginia Weidler (1927 - 1968) - Find A Grave Memorial". Findagrave.com. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  16. ^ "Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society: The Virginia Weidler Remembrance Society!". Virginiaweidler.net. 2014-01-25. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  17. ^ Carroll County Times, January 22, 2017. Accessed on February 17, 2017.
  18. ^ "Encore - [Chase and Sanborn program. 1941-09-28] [sound recording]". Laurel.lso.missouri.edu:2083. Retrieved 2017-02-23. 
  19. ^ "Copyright 2016, J. David Goldin". 
  20. ^ [2][dead link]
  21. ^ Classic Images Magazine 2003
  22. ^ a b American University, John R. Hickman Collection
  23. ^ "Virginia Weidler Stars In "Radio Digest" Play Thurs. 10 P.M., WHP". Harrisburg Telegraph. December 7, 1946. p. 19. Retrieved September 12, 2015 – via Newspapers.com.  open access publication – free to read

Bibliography[edit]

  • Best, Marc. Those Endearing Young Charms: Child Performers of the Screen. South Brunswick and New York: Barnes & Co., 1971, pp. 260–264.
  • Parish, James Robert. Great Child Stars. New York: Ace Books, 1976.
  • Willson, Dixie. Little Hollywood Stars. Akron, OH, e New York: Saalfield Pub. Co., 1935.

External links[edit]