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Virginia Mayo

Equally talented in all genres, her musicals are the most memorable and were the ones she loved, and loved to perform in, above all others.

Virginia Mayo



Follies Girl

Jack London



Up in Arms

Seven Days Ashore

The Princess and the Pirate



Wonder Man



The Kid from Brooklyn

The Best Years of Our Lives



Out of the Blue

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty



Smart Girls Don’t Talk

A Song Is Born



Flaxy Martin

Colorado Territory

The Girl from Jones Beach

White Heat

Red Light

Always Leave Them Laughing




The Flame and the Arrow

The West Point Story



Captain Horatio Hornblower

Along the Great Divide

Painting the Clouds with Sunshine 




She’s Working Her Way Through College 

The Iron Mistress 



She’s Back on Broadway 

South Sea Woman 

Devil’s Canyon 



King Richard and the Crusaders 

The Silver Chalice 



Pearl of the South Pacific



The Proud Ones 

Great Day in the Morning 

Congo Crossing 



The Big Land 

The Story of Mankind 

The Tall Stranger 



Fort Dobbs 




Jet Over the Atlantic 



Revolt of the Mercenaries 



Young Fury 



Castle of Evil 



Fort Utah 



Fugitive Lovers 



Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood






French Quarter 



Evil Spirits 



Midnight Witness



The Man Next Door


Virginia Mayo was never nominated for an Academy Award.

I was a better actress than I was given credit for. I know that for a fact. But you get stamped . . . categorized as pretty, a beauty, shapely . . . and you’re just stamped for life. ~ Virginia Mayo

Virginia Mayo, was born Virginia Clara Jones on November 30, 1920 in St. Louis, Missouri, she was the daughter of newspaper reporter Luke and wife, Martha Henrietta (née Rautenstrauch) Jones. Her family had roots back to the earliest days of St Louis. Young Virginia’s aunt operated an acting school in the St Louis area, which Virginia began attending at age six. She also was tutored by a series of dancing instructors engaged by her aunt.

Following her graduation from Soldan High School in 1937, Jones landed her first professional acting and dancing jobs at the St Louis Municipal Opera and in an act with six other girls at the Hotel Jefferson. Impressed with her ability, her brother-in-law, vaudeville performer, Andy Mayo, recruited her to appear in his act “Morton and Mayo”. Jones toured the American vaudeville circuit for three years, serving as ringmaster and comedic foil for “Pansy the Horse”, as Mayo and his partner, Nonnie Morton, performed in a horse suit. In 1941 Jones, now known by the stage name Virginia Mayo, got another career break as she appeared on Broadway with Eddie Cantor in Banjo Eyes.

In the early 1940s, Virginia Mayo’s talent and striking beauty came to the attention of movie mogul Samuel Goldwyn, who signed her to an acting contract with his company. One of her first films was the 1943 hit Jack London, which starred her future husband Michael O’Shea. Other roles soon followed as she became a popular actress who personified the dream girl or girl-next-door image in a series of films. A beneficiary of the Technicolor film process, it was said that audiences—particularly males—would flock to theaters just to see her blonde hair and classic looks on-screen. Her first starring role came in 1944 opposite comedian Bob Hope in The Princess and the Pirate. Remaining in the comedy genre, Mayo had several popular on-screen pairings with dancer-actor Danny Kaye, including Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947).

Going against previous stereotype, Mayo accepted the supporting role of unsympathetic, gold-digger Marie Derry in William Wyler’s drama The Best Years of Our Lives (1946). Her performance drew favorable reviews from critics, as the film also became the highest-grossing film inside the US since Gone with the Wind. At the zenith of her career, Mayo was seen as the quintessential voluptuous Hollywood beauty. She would continue a series of dramatic performances in the late 1940s in films such as Smart Girls Don’t Talk (1948). Virginia Mayo was a constant fixture in the movie theaters in 1949 as she co-starred in many movies all released that year. Among them were Flaxy Martin, opposite Joel McCrea in the western Colorado Territory, co-starred with Ronald Reagan in The Girl from Jones Beach,