Wednesday, May 20, 2009

Shades of Grey

A woman of many hats.

After her time as a beautiful blonde starlet waned (remember her as the bitchy shopgirl, Pat, who trades barbs with Joan Crawford's Crystal Allen in The Women?), Virginia Grey matured into a welcome, whiskey-voiced supporting presence in many of her friend Ross Hunter's films, including All That Heaven Allows (1955), Back Street (1961), and Rosie (1967). Grey was also a friend of frequent Hunter star Lana Turner, appearing with the former Sweater Girl in Portrait in Black (1960) and Madame X (1966), as well as the I Can't Believe it's Not Hunter epic, Love Has Many Faces (1965).

Grey's last film appearance was in Ross Hunter's seminal "disaster" extravaganza, Airport (1970); her subsequent semi-retirement, save for a few TV guest spots, ensured that she escaped from Hunter's Lost Horizon (1973) fiasco unscathed. Virginia Grey passed away in 2004, at the age of 87.


  1. She lasted quite a while after retirement and stayed sharp and pretty healthy (considering all the cigs she put away over those years!) She had a little TCM blurb in which she described having to squeeze in her "The Women" appearance on the fly between projects only to have the entire thing redone later because Crawford wasn't lit or photographed the way she wanted. Like you, I find it hard to believe that LHMF isn't a Hunter-produced film! It may as well be!

  2. If you watch the trailer for The Women, she's actually pretty prominently featured, and even gets a title card! I think she more than holds her own against Crawford in that scene, and even manages a lovely close-up.

    Virginia also had the second lead in Another Thin Man the same year, a fairly substantial, showy part, which I enjoy her in.

  3. Great pix of one of all-time favorites. Here's a little something on her B movie career: