Helen Virginia Briggs
September 29, 1909
Minneapolis, Minnesota, U.S.
|Died||February 24, 1982 (aged 72)|
(m. 1932; div. 1934)
(m. 1937; died 1942)
(m. 1946; div. 1964)
|Relatives||Hutch Dano (great-grandson)|
Virginia Bruce (born Helen Virginia Briggs; September 29, 1909 – February 24, 1982) was an American actress and singer.
Born in Minneapolis, Minnesota, Virginia as an infant moved with her parent, Earil and Margaret Briggs to Fargo, North Dakota. The city directory of Fargo documents that the Briggs family lived there at 421 14th Street South. After Virginia 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.
Bruce’s first screen work was in 1929 as an extra for Paramount in Why Bring That Up? In 1930, she appeared on Broadway in the musical Smiles at the Ziegfeld Theatre, followed by the Broadway production America's Sweetheart in 1931.
Bruce returned to Hollywood in 1932, where she began work in early August at Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer on the film Kongo starring Walter Huston. During production on that project, on August 10, she married John Gilbert with whom she recently costarred in Downstairs. The Film Daily reported that the couple's "quick" wedding was held in Gilbert's dressing room on the studio lot. Among the people attending the small ceremony were the head of MGM production Irving Thalberg, who served as the groom's best man; screenwriter Donald Ogden Stewart, whose wife Beatrice acted as matron of honor; MGM art director and set designer Cedric Gibbons; and his wife, actress Dolores del Río.
Bruce retired briefly from acting after the birth of their daughter Susan Ann, although she returned to film appearances after her divorce from Gilbert in May 1934. Gilbert died two years later.
Bruce is credited with introducing the Cole Porter standard "I've Got You Under My Skin" in the 1936 film Born to Dance. The same year, she costarred in the MGM musical The Great Ziegfeld. She also performed periodically on radio. In 1949, for example, Bruce starred in Make Believe Town, a 30-minute afternoon drama broadcast daily on CBS Radio.
In the early 1960s, she retired from films but emerged from retirement in 1981 for a final screen appearance, portraying the title character in Madame Wang's, a "bizarre" production directed by Paul Morrissey in association with Andy Warhol.
In 1937, three years after her divorce from John Gilbert, Bruce married American film director J. Walter Ruben, after working with him on The Bad Man of Brimstone. They had one child, Christopher, who was born the year before Ruben's death in 1942. Bruce then married Turkish screenwriter Ali Ipar in 1946. They divorced in 1951 and remarried in 1952, only to divorce once again in 1964.
Bruce was a Democrat who supported the campaign of Adlai Stevenson during the 1952 presidential election.
Bruce died of cancer at age 72 on February 24, 1982 at the Motion Picture & Television Country House and Hospital in Woodland Hills, California.
|Blue Skies||Party guest||Uncredited|
|River of Romance||Southern Belle||Uncredited|
|Fashions in Love||Uncredited|
|Hard to Get||Young woman||Uncredited|
|Why Bring That Up?||Chorus Girl||Uncredited|
|The Love Parade||Lady-in-Waiting||Uncredited|
|Pointed Heels||Chorus Girl||Uncredited|
|1930||Lilies of the Field||Doris|
|Slightly Scarlet||Enid Corbett|
|Only the Brave||Elizabeth|
|Young Eagles||Florence Welford|
|Paramount on Parade||Chorus Girl||Uncredited|
|Safety in Numbers||Alma McGregor|
|The Social Lion||Society Girl||Uncredited|
|Let's Go Native||Wendell Sr.'s Secretary||Uncreidted|
|Follow Thru||Bit in Ladies Locker Room||Uncredited|
|1931||Hell Divers||Girl||(scenes deleted)|
|1932||The Miracle Man||Margaret Thornton|
|Sky Bride||Ruth Dunning|
|Winner Take All||Joan Gibson|
|1934||Jane Eyre||Jane Eyre|
|Dangerous Corner||Ann Peel|
|The Mighty Barnum||Jenny Lind|
|Shadow of Doubt||Trenna Plaice|
|Times Square Lady||Toni Bradley|
|Let 'Em Have It||Eleanor Spencer|
|The Murder Man||Mary Shannon|
|Here Comes the Band||Margaret Jones|
|1936||The Garden Murder Case||Zalia Graem|
|The Great Ziegfeld||Audrey Dane|
|Born to Dance||Lucy James|
|1937||Women of Glamour||Gloria Hudson|
|When Love Is Young||Wanda Werner|
|Between Two Women||Patricia Sloan|
|Wife, Doctor and Nurse||Steve aka Miss Stephens|
|The Bad Man of Brimstone||Loretta Douglas|
|1938||Arsène Lupin Returns||Lorraine de Grissac|
|The First Hundred Years||Lynn Conway|
|Yellow Jack||Frances Blake|
|Woman Against Woman||Maris Kent|
|There Goes My Heart||Joan Butterfield|
|There's That Woman Again||Sally Reardon|
|1939||Let Freedom Ring||Maggie Adams|
|Society Lawyer||Pat Abbott|
|Stronger Than Desire||Elizabeth Flagg|
|1940||Flight Angels||Mary Norvell|
|The Man Who Talked Too Much||Joan Reed|
|Hired Wife||Phyllis Walden|
|The Invisible Woman||Kitty Carroll|
|1941||Adventure in Washington||Jane Scott||Alternative title: Female Correspondent|
|1942||Butch Minds the Baby||Susie O'Neill|
|Pardon My Sarong||Joan Marshall|
|Careful, Soft Shoulder||Connie Mathers|
|1944||Action in Arabia||Yvonne Danesco|
|Brazil||Nicky Henderson||Alternative title: Stars and Guitars|
|1945||Love, Honor and Goodbye||Roberta Baxter|
|1948||Night Has a Thousand Eyes||Jenny Courtland|
|1949||State Department: File 649||Margaret "Marge" Weldon||Alternative title: Assignment in China|
|1954||Salgin||Nurse||Alternative titles: Epidemic|
|1955||Reluctant Bride||Laura Weeks||Alternative title: Two Grooms for a Bride|
|1960||Strangers When We Meet||Mrs. Wagner|
|1981||Madame Wang's||Madame Wang|
|1953||General Electric Theater||Adele||1 episode|
|1955||Letter to Loretta||Dee Norman||1 episode|
|Science Fiction Theatre||Dr. Myrna Griffin
|1957||The Ford Television Theatre||Ruth Crest||1 episode|