Biography: Virginia Davis

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Birth/Death

Birth: December 31, 1918

Occupation/Title

Actress, writer

Bio Summary

Virginia began taking dance and dramatic lessons at age two. A couple of years later, when Walt Disney was struggling with his first Studio, Laugh-O-gram Films in Kansas City, he happened to see Virginia in a Warneke’s Bread advertisement in a local theater. Later, when he went to produce his first Alice Comedy, “Alice’s Wonderland,” he remembered her long, blonde ringlets and charming smile. So Walt placed a call to her parents and for the next two years, Virginia starred in such Disney shorts as “Alice’s Day at Sea,” “Alice’s Wild West Show” and “Alice’s Spooky Adventure.” Today, the “Alice Comedies” are periodically featured on the Disney Channel during its Vault Disney segment.

Early Life/Family

Her father was a furniture salesman and on the road most of the time. Her mother was a housewife

Education/Training

Margaret Davis, a housewife, focused all her attention on her daughter; she began taking Virginia to dancing lessons and modeling auditions when she was 2. A striking child with long curls, Virginia was soon appearing in advertisements that played between films in local theaters. She also entered Georgie Brown’s Dramatic School in Kansas City, where she studied drama and dance

Career Outline

She entered Georgie Brown’s Dramatic School in Kansas City, where she studied drama and dance. In the summer of 1923, 22-year-old Walt Disney, a struggling but ambitious director, saw Virginia in an advertisement in a Kansas City theater and immediately decided to hire her. He quickly contacted Margaret Davis, who was eager to advance her Virginia’s career. Alice’s Wonderland (1923), the first short film of the Alice series, was filmed at the Davis home in Kansas City; both Margaret Davis and Walt Disney made brief appearances (which marked Disney’s first live appearance in one of his own cartoons).After 13 films, Virginia ended her tenure with Walt, who went on to make more than 40 other Alice films. She continued performing in the theater, including a West Coast tour of Elmer Rice’s “Street Scene,” and in a number of films for such studios as MGM, RKO, Paramount and Fox. Among her credits are “Three on a Match” with Joan Blondell and “The Harvey Girls,” in which she appeared alongside Cyd Charisse and Judy Garland. She also appeared in such early television shows as “Your Hit Parade” and “One Man’s Family.”
The Alice shorts became very popular, providing Disney with his first national success. But as the series progressed, Disney became more interested in the animation aspect, which minimized Virginia’s live-action role; she only made about thirteen of the Alice shorts before her contract was severed. She later auditioned for the role of voice of Snow White in Disney’s film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937), but she didn’t get the role because her mother refused to accept the frugal salary. Virginia had some small roles in full-length films, including The Harvey Girls (1946).

Comments On Style

Naive little girl, innocent in film

Influences

Her mother always wanted her to get into this business since she was 2 she started to take modeling classes.

Personality

Very cherrful

Anecdotes

Over the years, Virginia has remained in contact with The Walt Disney Company and is often a special guest at such events as the annual Disneyana Conventions held at either Disneyland or Walt Disney World.

Miscellaneous

Virginia went on to earn a degree from the New York School of Interior Design and became a decorating editor for the popular 1950s magazine “Living for Young Homemakers.” In 1963, she began a successful career in the real estate industry in Connecticut and later, Southern California.

Filmography

The Greater Glory (1926) …. Resi
Street Scene (1931) (uncredited) …. Mary Hildebrand
Three on a Match (1932) …. Mary Keaton as a Child
Murder at the Vanities (1934) (uncredited) …. Earl Carroll Girl
College Holiday (1936) (uncredited) …. Dancer
Week-End in Havana (1941) (uncredited) …. Dancer
Song of the Islands (1942) (uncredited)
Footlight Serenade (1942) (uncredited) …. Chorus Girl
Iceland (1942) (uncredited) …. Dancer
… aka Katina (UK)
The Harvey Girls (1946) (uncredited) …. Harvey Girl
“Alice’s Wonderland”
“The Blue Bird”
“The Viennese Medley”
Davis is now 89 years old. She was in a total of 13 films.

Honors

Annie Award: Winsor McCay Award 2004

Related Links

http://legends.disney.go.com/legends/detail?key=Virginia+Davis

http://cagle.msnbc.com/hogan/interviews/davis/home.asp

Bibliographic References

http://www.imdb.com/name/nm0205629/

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Virginia_Davis

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