Virginia Patton Moss, Last Adult Cast Member of 'It's a Wonderful Life,' Dies at 97
Virginia Patton Moss, who had been the last surviving adult cast member of the film classic "It's a Wonderful Life," died August 18 in an assisted living facility in Georgia, THR reports. Her death was confirmed by Legacy.com.
She was 97.
Karolyn Grimes, a child actor from the movie — which became one of the most watched, most beloved of all time — wrote of her late co-star, "We have another angel! Virginia Patton Moss. She was 97 years old. She played Harry Bailey’s wife in the film, it’s a Wonderful Life! She is now with her beloved Cruse. She will be missed!"
Earlier this year, child actor Jeanine Ann Roose, Little Violet in the film, died at 84, but Patton Moss had long outlived her peers — the film's other adult stars died 20 or more years ago.
Born on June 25, 1925, in Cleveland, Ohio, she attended the University of Southern California, having moved to the West Coast expressly to become a Hollywood star.
She appeared in a play by William C. deMille (brother of director) Cecil B. deMille and made a total of seven uncredited feature-film appearances, two appearances in shorts, and a credited appearance in the 1944 film "Janie" before landing what she often referred to as the role of a lifetime in "It's a Wonderful Life" (1946).
She had the distinction of having been signed to the film by its iconic director, Frank Capra, directly, according to her late husband, Cruse W. Moss. She held Mr. Capra in high esteem for the rest of her life.
In the film, Patton Moss — then known as Virginia Patton — played Ruth Dakin Bailey, the wife of Harry Bailey (Todd Karns), sister-in-law to George (Jimmy Stewart).
Though her success with the movie led to four more features — including a part in 1947's "A Double Life," directed by George Cukor — she tired of the grind and sought to settle down away from Tinseltown.
After leaving show biz in 1949, she resettled with her new husband Moss (who preceded her in death in 2018) in Ann Arbor, Michigan, started a business, and raised three kids. She was a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and often appeared at conventions and spoke about her work in Hollywood.
In 2013, while accepting the Spirit of Christmases Past, Present & Future Award, Patton Moss said, "'It's a Wonderful Life' was a privilege to be in... It was a marvelous experience... It is, it is, indeed, a wonderful life."