Virginia Mayo

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Virginia Mayo
Virginia Mayo.jpg
in The Best Years of Our Lives (1946).
Birth name Virginia Clara Jones
Born Nov 30, 1920
St. Louis, Missouri USA Flag of USA.png
Died Jan 17, 2005 - age 85
Los Angeles, CA USA Flag of USA.png
Years active 1939 - 1997
Spouse(s) Michael O'Shea (1947-1973)

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Virginia Mayo (November 30, 1920 – January 17, 2005) was an American film actress.

Early life

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.

Personal life

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.

Pin-up Gallery


  • Follies Girl (1943)
  • Jack London (1943)
  • Up in Arms (1944)
  • Seven Days Ashore (1944)
  • The Princess and the Pirate (1944)
  • Wonder Man (1945)
  • The Kid from Brooklyn (1946)
  • The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)
  • Out of the Blue (1947)
  • The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)
  • Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)
  • A Song Is Born (1948)
  • Flaxy Martin (1949)
  • Colorado Territory (1949)
  • The Girl from Jones Beach (1949)
  • White Heat (1949)
  • Red Light (1949)
  • Always Leave Them Laughing (1949)
  • Backfire (1950)
  • The Flame and the Arrow (1950)
  • The West Point Story (1950)
  • Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951)
  • Along the Great Divide (1951)
  • Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951)
  • Starlift (1951) (Cameo)
  • Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Night Life (1952) (short subject)
  • She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)
  • The Iron Mistress (1952)
  • She's Back on Broadway (1953)
  • South Sea Woman (1953)
  • Devil's Canyon (1953)
  • King Richard and the Crusaders (1954)
  • The Silver Chalice (1954)
  • Pearl of the South Pacific (1955)
  • Great Day in the Morning (1956)
  • The Proud Ones (1956)
  • Congo Crossing (1956)
  • The Big Land (1957)
  • The Story of Mankind (1957)
  • The Tall Stranger (1957)
  • Fort Dobbs (1958)
  • Westbound (1959)
  • Jet Over the Atlantic (1959)
  • Revolt of the Mercenaries (La Rivolta dei mercenari) (1961)
  • Young Fury (1965)
  • Castle of Evil (1966)
  • Fort Utah (1967)
  • Fugitive Lovers (1975)
  • Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976)
  • French Quarter (1977)
  • The Haunted (1979)
  • Evil Spirits (1990)
  • Midnight Witness (1993)
  • The Man Next Door (1997)


External links


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