Virginia Bruce (Helen Virginia Briggs)

Virginia Bruce

Born Helen Virginia Briggs in Minneapolis, Minnesota. When she was one month old, she moved to Fargo, North Dakota, with her parents, Earil and Margaret Briggs. According to the Fargo City Directory, the Briggs family lived at 421 14th Street South, Fargo. After she graduated from Fargo Central High School in 1928, she moved with her family to Los Angeles intending to enroll in the University of California, Los Angeles when a friendly wager sent her seeking film work. She got it as an extra in Why Bring That Up?. In 1930 she appeared on Broadway in the musical Smiles, followed by America’s Sweetheart in 1931. She returned to Hollywood in 1932, where she married John Gilbert, her co-star in the film Downstairs. She retired briefly after the birth of their daughter Susan Ann Gilbert. The couple divorced in 1934, and Virginia returned to a hectic schedule of film appearances. Gilbert died two years later in 1936. Bruce introduced the Cole Porter standard “I’ve Got You Under My Skin” in the film Born to Dance and costarred in the MGM musical The Great Ziegfeld. One of her final film appearances was in Strangers When We Meet. In 1949, Bruce starred in a daily 30-minute radio drama. Make Believe Town was an afternoon program on CBS. Bruce married her second husband, film director J. Walter Ruben, in 1937, making the Wallace Beery western The Bad Man of Brimstone with him that year, and they had a son named Christopher, but she was widowed in 1942. In 1946 she married Ali Ipar. They divorced in 1951 in order for him to receive a commission in the Turkish Military (which forbade promotions of men married to foreigners), but remarried in 1952, divorcing again in 1964. Virginia Bruce died of cancer on February 24, 1982 in Woodland Hills, California. She was 71.

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  • September, 29, 1910
  • USA
  • Minneapolis, Minnesota


  • February, 24, 1982
  • USA
  • Woodland Hills, California

Cause of Death

  • cancer


  • Cremated

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