Born Virginia Jones in St. Louis, Missouri, on November 30, 1920, lovely Virginia Mayo began dance training while still a young girl. She continued dancing after completing school, and by the time Mayo was 21 she landing film work in small roles and often as a dancer. She signed a contract with Samuel Goldwyn in 1943, and the next year Goldwyn gave Mayo her big break in the Bob Hope comedy The Princess and the Pirate (1944). Goldwyn often cast the beautiful actress in comedies, such as the Danny Kaye vehicles Wonder Man (1945), The Kid from Brooklyn (1946), and The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947). Mayo married actor Michael O'Shea in 1947, and the following year she left Goldwyn for Warner Bros. At the new studio Mayo was cast in a number of film noir thrillers such as Flaxy Martin (1949) and White Heat (1949). Beginning with her role in the western Colorado Territory (1949; with Joel McCrea and John Archer), she enjoyed a long association with westerns films.

Virginia Mayo and Michael O'Shea

Virginia Mayo with her husband, actor Michael O'Shea, in the late 1940s

Throughout the 1950s, Mayo acted in many westerns, including The Proud Ones (1956; with Jeffrey Hunter), The Tall Stranger (1957; with Joel McCrea, and Fort Dobbs (1958; with Clint Walker). From the 1960s onward, Mayo accepted just a few film and television roles.

the films of virginia mayo

Up in Arms (1944)

Virginia Mayo

From one of Mayo's earliest film appearances, in the Danny Kaye musical Up in Arms. Mayo went on to make four more films with Kaye

The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947)

Virginia Mayo and Danny Kaye

With Danny Kaye in The Secret Life of Walter Mitty

Out of the Blue (1947)

Virginia Mayo and Turhan Bey

With Turhan Bey in the Eagle-Lion comedy Out of the Blue

Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948)

Bruce Bennett and Virginia MayoRobert Hutton and Virginia Mayo

Images from the Warner Bros. film noir release Smart Girls Don't Talk. LEFT: With Bruce Bennett. RIGHT: With Robert Hutton

A Song is Born (1948)

Virginia Mayo

From the Danny Kaye musical A Song is Born

Colorado Territory (1949)

James Mitchell, John Archer, and Joel McCrea

From the Warner Bros. western Colorado Territory with James Mitchell, John Archer, and Joel McCrea

Flaxy Martin (1949)

Virginia Mayo and Zachary Scott

With Zachary Scott in the Warner Bros. crime drama Flaxy Martin. Mayo portrays the title character

White Heat (1949)

James Cagney and Virginia MayoJames Cagney and Virginia Mayo

With James Cagney in the film noir thriller White Heat

She's Working Her Way Through College (1952)

Virginia MayoVirginia Mayo and Gene NelsonVirginia Mayo and Ronald Reagan

From the Warner Bros. musical comedy She's Working Her Way Through College. LEFT: Mayo as burlesque queen Hot Garters Gertie. CENTER: With Gene Nelson. RIGHT: With Ronald Reagan

The Silver Chalice (1954)

Jack Palance and Virginia MayoJack Palance and Virginia Mayo

With Jack Palance in the Warner Bros. costume drama The Silver Chalice

Congo Crossing (1956)

Virginia MayoVirginia MayoVirginia Mayo, Peter Lorre, and George Nader

LEFT and CENTER: From the Universal-International adventure flick Congo Crossing. RIGHT: With Peter Lorre and George Nader

Great Day in the Morning (1956)

Virginia Mayo

From the RKO release Great Day in the Morning

The Proud Ones (1956)

Jeffrey Hunter, Virginia Mayo, and Robert Ryan

From the 20th Century Fox western The Proud Ones with Jeffrey Hunter and Robert Ryan

The Big Land (1957)

Virginia Mayo

From the Alan Ladd western The Big Land

Fort Dobbs (1958)

Clint Walker and Virginia MayoVirginia Mayo and Brian Keith

Images from the Warner Bros. western Fort Dobbs. LEFT: With Clint Walker. RIGHT: With Brian Keith

Castle of Evil (1966)

Lisa Gaye, Hugh Marlowe, Scott Brady, David Brian, and Virginia Mayo

From the low budget horror flick Castle of Evil with Lisa Gaye, Hugh Marlowe, Scott Brady, and David Brian

later years

After the release of the Italian-made Revolt of the Mercenaries (1960), Virginia Mayo took a break from films and began working in theater. In the mid 1960s she acted in the westerns Young Fury (1965) and Fort Utah (1967) and a horror film, Castle of Evil (1966; with Scott Brady and Lisa Gaye). Mayo did no more film work until after the death of her husband in 1973. Afterward, she appeared in several films and made additional television appearances. Her final film was the suspenser The Man Next Door (1997). Sadly, Virginia Mayo passed away on January 17, 2005, of heart failure at the age of 84. She was survived by her daughter.

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The Man Next Door (1997) with Karen Carlson
Evil Spirits (1990) with Martine Beswick, Karen Black, Anthony Eisley, and Yvette Vickers
The Haunted (1979) with Aldo Ray
French Quarter (1977) with Bruce Davison
Won Ton Ton, the Dog Who Saved Hollywood (1976) with Bruce Dern
Fugitive Lovers (1975) with John Russell
Fort Utah (1967) with John Ireland, Scott Brady, John Russell, and Richard Arlen
Castle of Evil (1966) with Scott Brady, Lisa Gaye, David Brian, and Hugh Marlowe
Young Fury (1965) with Rory Calhoun, John Agar, Lon Chaney Jr., Merry Anders, Jody McCrea, Richard Arlen, and William Welman Jr.
Revolt of the Mercenaries (1960)
Jet Over the Atlantic (1959) with Guy Madison, George Raft, Brett Halsey, and Ilona Massey
Westbound (1958) with Randolph Scott, Karen Steele, and Andrew Duggan
Fort Dobbs (1958) with Clint Walker and Brian Keith
The Tall Stranger (1957) with Joel McCrea and Whit Bissell
The Story of Mankind (1957) with Hedy Lamarr, Vincent Price, and Ziva Rodann
The Big Land (1957) with Alan Ladd and Edmond O'Brien
Congo Crossing (1956) with George Nader, Peter Lorre, and Raymond Bailey
The Proud Ones (1956) with Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Ryan, Ken Clark, and Whit Bissell
Great Day in the Morning (1956) with Ruth Roman, Raymond Burr, Robert Stack, and Alex Nicol
Pearl of the South Pacific (1955) with Dennis Morgan and Lance Fuller
The Silver Chalice (1954) with Jack Palance, Pier Angeli, and Paul Newman
King Richard and the Crusaders (1954) with Rex Harrison, George Sanders, and Paula Raymond
Devil's Canyon (1953) with Dale Robertson, Stephen McNally, and Whit Bissell
South Sea Woman (1953) with Burt Lancaster and Chuck Connors
She's Back on Broadway (1953) with Steve Cochran and Gene Nelson
She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) with Ronald Reagan, Don DeFore, and Phyllis Thaxter
The Iron Mistress (1952) with Alan Ladd and Phyllis Kirk
Painting the Clouds with Sunshine (1951) with Dennis Morgan, Gene Nelson, and Tom Conway
Captain Horatio Hornblower (1951) with Gregory Peck
Along the Great Divide (1951) with Kirk Douglas and John Agar
The West Point Story (1950) with James Cagney, Doris Day, Gene Nelson, and Gordon MacRae
The Flame and the Arrow (1950) with Burt Lancaster
Backfire (1950) with Dane Clark, Gordon MacRae, and Edmund O'Brien
Always Leave Them Laughing (1949) with Milton Berle, Ruth Roman, Bert Lahr, and Max Showalter
The Girl from Jones Beach (1949) with Ronald Reagan and Eddie Bracken
Red Light (1949) with George Raft and Raymond Burr
White Heat (1949) with James Cagney, Steve Cochran, and Edmund O'Brien
Colorado Territory (1949) with Joel McCrea, John Archer, James Mitchell, and Dorothy Malone
Flaxy Martin (1949) with Zachary Scott, Dorothy Malone, and Elisha Cook Jr.
Smart Girls Don't Talk (1948) with Bruce Bennett and Robert Hutton
A Song Is Born (1948) with Danny Kaye and Steve Cochran
The Secret Life of Walter Mitty (1947) with Danny Kaye, Boris Karloff, and Fay Bainter
Out of the Blue (1947) with George Brent, Turhan Bey, and Carole Landis
The Best Years of Our Lives (1946) with Myrna Loy, Fredric March, Cathy O'Donnell, Dana Andrews, and Steve Cochran
The Kid from Brooklyn (1946) with Danny Kaye, Steve Cochran, Eve Arden, Vera-Ellen, and Fay Bainter
Wonder Man (1945) with Danny Kaye, Steve Cochran, and Vera-Ellen
The Princess and the Pirate (1944) with Bob Hope, Walter Slezak, and Walter Brennan
Seven Days Ashore (1944) with Wally Brown
Up in Arms (1944) with Danny Kaye, Dinah Shore, and Dana Andrews
Jack London (1943) with Michael O'Shea and Susan Hayward

Santa Barbara, 1984-1993 NBC daytime TV series. Mayo portrayed Peaches DeLight during the 1984 season

The Naked Truth, episode Bridesface Revisited, originally aired October 20, 1997
The Love Boat, episode Hello Emily/The Tour Guide/The Winner Number, originally aired February 15, 1986
Remington Steele, episode Cast in Steele, originally aired December 4, 1984
Murder, She Wrote, episode Hooray for Homicide, originally aired October 28, 1984
Lanigan's Rabbi, episode The Cadaver in the Clutter, originally aired March 20, 1977
Police Story, episode Face for a Shadow, originally aired November 7, 1975
Rod Serling's Night Gallery, episode The Diary/A Matter of Semantics/Big Surprise/Professor Peabody's Last Lecture, originally aired November 10, 1971
The Outsider, episode Behind God's Back, originally aired February 5, 1969
Daktari, episode Judy and the Gorilla, originally aired January 10, 1967
Burke's Law, episode Who Killed the Man on the White Horse?, originally aired February 17, 1965
Lux Playhouse, episode Deathtrap, originally aired February 6, 1959
The Loretta Young Show, episode Operation Snowball, originally aired December 28, 1958
Wagon Train, episode The Beauty Jamison Story, originally aired December 17, 1958
Conflict, episode Execution Night, originally aired May 28, 1957

virginia mayo links

The Virginia Mayo Official Web Site (appears to be offline)

virginia mayo film now showing

Watch Virginia Mayo in the 1943 film Jack London

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