Virginia Ann Patton (born June 25, 1926) is an American former actress and businesswoman. After appearing in several films in the early 1940s, she was cast in her most well-known role as Ruth Dakin Bailey in Frank Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946). In 1949, Patton retired from acting, with her final film credit being The Lucky Stiff (1949).
Patton was born in Cleveland, Ohio to Marie (née Cain) and Donald Patton. She was raised in her father's hometown of Portland, Oregon, where her family relocated when she was an infant. She is the niece of World War II General George S. Patton. Patton graduated from Jefferson High School in Portland, and then relocated to Los Angeles, California, where she attended the University of Southern California.
While a student the University of Southern California, Patton began to audition for acting parts. She collaborated in plays with screenwriter William C. deMille while in college. She had several insignificant film appearances before being cast in Capra's It's a Wonderful Life (1946) as Ruth Dakin Bailey, the wife of George Bailey's younger brother Harry. Although Capra did not know Patton personally, she read the role for him and he signed her to a contract. Patton later said that she was the only girl the famous director ever signed in his whole career. She made only four films after It's a Wonderful Life, including her first lead in the B-Western Black Eagle (1948). Patton also appeared in the drama The Burning Cross (1946), a film about a World War II veteran who becomes embroiled with the Ku Klux Klan upon returning to his hometown.
Patton still gives interviews about It's a Wonderful Life. With the death of Argentina Brunetti in December 2005, Virginia Patton is the only credited adult actor in It's a Wonderful Life still alive.
Patton has been married to Cruse W. Moss since 1949, and gave up acting in the late 1940s to concentrate on raising a family with her husband in Ann Arbor, Michigan. She later attended the University of Michigan. She is president of The Patton Corporation, an investment and real estate holdings company in Ann Arbor and is also involved in community work.
|1943||Thank Your Lucky Stars||Girl in Ann Sheridan Number||Uncredited|
|1943||Old Acquaintance||College Girl||Uncredited|
|1944||Roaring Guns||Karen Ferris||Short film|
|1944||Grandfather's Follies||Short film|
|1944||The Last Ride||Hazel Dale||Uncredited|
|1944||Hollywood Canteen||Junior Hostess||Uncredited|
|1945||The Horn Blows at Midnight||Party Girl||Uncredited|
|1946||Canyon Passage||Liza Stone / Bartlett||Uncredited|
|1946||Nobody Lives Forever||Switchboard Operator||Uncredited|
|1946||It's a Wonderful Life||Ruth Dakin Bailey|
|1947||The Burning Cross||Doris Green|
|1947||A Double Life||Actress in 'Othello'|
|1948||Black Eagle||Ginny Long|
|1949||The Lucky Stiff||Millie Dale|