Virginia Mayo (November 30, 1920 – January 17, 2005) was an American film actress.
Born Virginia Clara Jones in St. Louis, Missouri. Tutored by a series of dancing instructors engaged by her aunt, she appeared in the St. Louis Municipal Opera chorus and then appeared with six other girls at an act at the Jefferson Hotel. There she was recruited by vaudeville performer Andy Mayo to appear in his act (as ringmaster for two men in a horse suit), taking his surname as her stage name. She appeared in vaudeville for three years in the act, appearing with Eddie Cantor on Broadway in 1941's Banjo Eyes.
Mayo continued her career as a dancer, then signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn and appeared in several of Goldwyn's movies. With Danny Kaye she made comedies including Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).
In 1949's White Heat she took on the role of "Verna Jarrett," opposite James Cagney. Mayo later claimed in interviews that she was occasionally genuinely frightened by Cagney during the filming of the picture, because Cagney's acting was so realistic and natural.
She was cast against type in The Best Years of Our Lives, in which she gave a performance that garnered much acclaim.
Her film career continued through the 1950s and 1960s, frequently in B-movie westerns and adventure films. While she also appeared in musicals, Mayo's singing voice was always dubbed.
Mayo has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, for her work in television, at 1751 Vine Street.
In 1996 she received a star on the St. Louis Walk of Fame.
In 1947, she married actor Michael O'Shea, who died in 1973. They had one child, Mary Catherine O'Shea (born in 1953). The O'Shea family lived for several decades in Thousand Oaks, California.
In the 1990s, Mayo donated her extensive collection of Hollywood memorabilia to the Thousand Oaks Library. She died of natural causes in Los Angeles in 2005 at the age of 84.
- Virginia Mayo appeared in YANK magazine on 14 Jan 1944
- More information on this topic is available at [ Wikipedia:Virginia_Mayo ]
- Virginia Mayo at the Internet Movie Database
- Official website
- Denny Jackson's Virginia Mayo page
- Brian's Drive-In Theater
- St. Louis Walk of Fame