Actress. She is best remembered as ‘Vera Vague’ the spinster character she created and portrayed on radio and in films during the 1940s and 1950s. As ‘Vera Vague’, she popularized the catch phrase “You dear boy!” Born in New York City, New York, her acting skills first appeared in school plays. She traveled to Paris, France to study at the Sorbonne after graduating from high school, where she concentrated on language, becoming proficient in French, Spanish, German and Italian. After the death of her parents, she moved to Los Angeles, California to live with her uncle. In 1937 she debuted on network radio drama as ‘Beth Holly’ on NBC’s “One Man’s Family,” followed by roles on “Death Valley Days,” “I Love a Mystery” and other radio series. Her first film appearance was in “The Women” (1939). After her ‘Vera’ character was introduced in 1939 on “NBC Matinee,” she became a regular with Bob Hope beginning in 1941. She appeared in numerous films during World War II, including “Larceny, Inc.” (1942), “Mrs. Wiggs of the Cabbage Patch’ (1942), and “Rosie the Riveter” (1944). From 1943 to 1952, as ‘Vera’, she made more than a dozen comedy two-reel short subjects for Columbia Pictures. In 1948 she opened her own commercial orchid business and performed less acting. In 1953, as ‘Vera’, she hosted her own television series “Follow the Leader,” a CBS audience participation show. In 1958, she appeared as ‘Mabel’, the boss of the flight attendants, in Jeannie Carson’s syndicated version of her situation comedy “Hey, Jeannie!” but it aired only six episodes in syndication. Later, she did voices for animation, notably in Walt Disney productions, as the fairy ‘Fauna’ in “Sleeping Beauty” (1959), “Goliath II” (1960, as Goliath II’s mother), and the ‘Scullery Maid’ in “The Sword in the Stone” (1963). Her later movies include “Mohawk” (1956), “The Opposite Sex” (1956), and “Born to be Loved” (1959). During her acting career, she appeared in 60 movies, television series, and short subjects, often credited as ‘Vera Vague’ rather than her own name, which she eventually adopted as her professional name due to its popularity. She was married three times, first to Charles Crosby from 1931 to 1932, then to actor Barton Yarborough, with whom she co-starred in the two-reel comedy short, “Hiss and Yell,” nominated for an Academy Award as Best Short Subject, and finally to Norman Morrell, Bob Hope’s producer, from 1943 until her death at the age of 68.
- September, 02, 1906
- New York, New York
- September, 14, 1974
- Santa Barbara, California
- Cremated, Ashes given to family or friend.