Wednesday, November 30, 2016

A Birthday Tribute to Virginia Mayo

Beautiful, multitalented Virginia Mayo was born on this date in 1920.


She was born November 30th in St. Louis, Missouri.

As a film star Virginia Mayo could do it all: comedy, drama, and also an accomplished dancer in musicals.


The more I see of Mayo's work, the more I appreciate her; indeed, she was my most seen actress of 2014. I'm not sure whether I like her best in musicals or crime dramas! She's a delightful dancer, seen here with Gene Nelson in SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY (1953).


She was Danny Kaye's leading lady in several colorful films, and they wouldn't have been the same without her. This is publicity for WONDER MAN (1945):


She also makes noirish dramas such as SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK (1948)...


...and FLAXY MARTIN (1949) great fun...


...and when I saw WHITE HEAT (1949) I was surprised she didn't receive an Oscar nomination.


Beyond the musicals and crime dramas, the Western FORT DOBBS (1959), costarring Clint Walker, became an instant favorite when I saw it a few years ago:


The same year she made WHITE HEAT she was superb opposite Joel McCrea in the Western COLORADO TERRITORY (1949):


I sometimes think Mayo hasn't received enough recognition for her talent and the breadth of her fine filmography. She was a beauty who made it all look easy!


Mayo was married to actor Michael O'Shea from 1947 until his passing in 1973. They had one child, a daughter.


Mayo wrote an interesting memoir, THE BEST YEARS OF MY LIFE. While the book could have used some editing help, her disarmingly frank assessments of countless costars and her career make for fascinating "must" reading.


Virginia Mayo passed away in Thousand Oaks, California, on January 17, 2005.


Virginia Mayo movies previously reviewed at Laura's Miscellaneous Musings: UP IN ARMS (1944), WONDER MAN (1945), THE KID FROM BROOKLYN (1946), SMART GIRLS DON'T TALK (1948) (also here), A SONG IS BORN (1948), FLAXY MARTIN (1949) (also here), THE GIRL FROM JONES BEACH (1949) (also here), WHITE HEAT (1949), COLORADO TERRITORY (1949), RED LIGHT (1949), THE WEST POINT STORY (1950), BACKFIRE (1950), PAINTING THE CLOUDS WITH SUNSHINE (1951), SHE'S BACK ON BROADWAY (1953), THE PROUD ONES (1956), THE TALL STRANGER (1957), THE BIG LAND (1957), FORT DOBBS (1958), and WESTBOUND (1959) (also here).


Additional notable Virginia Mayo films: THE PRINCESS AND THE PIRATE (1944), THE BEST YEARS OF OUR LIVES (1946), THE SECRET LIFE OF WALTER MITTY (1947), THE FLAME AND THE ARROW (1950), CAPTAIN HORATIO HORNBLOWER R.N. (1951), ALONG THE GREAT DIVIDE (1951), SHE'S WORKING HER WAY THROUGH COLLEGE (1952), THE IRON MISTRESS (1952), and THE SILVER CHALICE (1954).

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