Vera Miles

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Vera Miles
Vera Miles, c.1950s
Vera June Ralston

(1929-08-23) August 23, 1929 (age 93)
Years active1941–1995
Bob Miles
(m. 1948;div. 1954)
(m. 1956;div. 1960)
(m. 1960;div. 1971)
Bob Jones
(m. 1973;div. 1975)

Vera June Miles (née Ralston; born August 23, 1929) is an American retired actress who worked closely with Alfred Hitchcock, most notably as Lila Crane in the classic 1960 film Psycho , reprising the role in the 1983 sequel Psycho II . Other films in which she appeared include Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955), The Searchers (1956), Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1956), A Touch of Larceny (1959), The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Follow Me, Boys! (1966), Hellfighters (1968), Sergeant Ryker (1968), and Molly and Lawless John (1972).


Early life

Vera June Ralston was born in Boise City, Oklahoma, on August 23, 1929, [1] to Thomas and Bernice (née Wyrick) Ralston. She had two older brothers.[ citation needed ]

She grew up first in Pratt, Kansas, and later lived in Wichita, where she worked nights as a Western Union operator-typist and graduated from Wichita North High School in 1947. She was crowned Miss Kansas in 1948 and was the third runner-up in the Miss America contest. [2]


Miles moved to Los Angeles in 1949 and landed small roles in television and film, including a minor role as a chorus girl in Two Tickets to Broadway (1951), a musical starring Janet Leigh, with whom Miles co-starred nine years later in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho . She used her first husband's name, Miles, because there already was a Vera Ralston film actress. Miles eventually was put under contract at various studios. She once recalled, "I was dropped by the best studios in town." [3]

Miles's first credited film appearance was in The Rose Bowl Story (1952), a romantic comedy in which she played a Tournament of Roses queen.

While under contract to Warner Bros., Miles was cast alongside her future husband Gordon Scott in the 1955 film Tarzan's Hidden Jungle as Tarzan's love interest. [4] The following year, she was cast by director John Ford as Jeffrey Hunter's love interest in the John Wayne Western The Searchers (1956), [5] and appeared in the movies Wichita , directed by Jacques Tourneur and 23 Paces to Baker Street with Van Johnson. [6] Also in 1956, Miles starred as Rose Balestrero, the fragile wife of Manny Balestrero, a musician falsely accused of a crime and played by Henry Fonda, in the film The Wrong Man . [7] The movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and is one of only a few Hitchcock films based on real-life events. [8]

Signing a five-year personal contract with Hitchcock in 1957, [4] Miles was widely publicized as the director's potential successor to Grace Kelly. [9] Two years prior, Hitchcock had directed Miles in the role of Ralph Meeker's emotionally troubled new bride in "Revenge", the pilot episode of his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents . [10]

Vertigo (1958), a project Hitchcock designed as a showcase for his new star, was met with production delays. Miles's subsequent pregnancy would cost her the lead role which eventually went to Kim Novak with whom Hitchcock reportedly clashed, although Ms. Novak has stated in interviews that she did not have trouble working with Hitchcock on the film. Vertigo (which also starred James Stewart) was not a financial or critical success at the time, with Hitchcock claiming that Novak was miscast. [11] Despite Hitchcock's disappointment regarding Vertigo, he continued to work with Miles, eventually casting her in what is arguably the role for which she is most remembered, that of Lila Crane in Psycho . [12] In the film, she portrayed the determined sister of the doomed motel guest Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who teams up with Marion's boyfriend and a private investigator to find her. Miles later appeared in two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (in 1962 and 1965).

In 1962, Miles reunited with director John Ford for the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance . Starring alongside her former co-star from The Searchers, John Wayne, she is pursued by both Wayne and James Stewart, two very different men competing for her hand in marriage. [4]

In addition to her film appearances, Miles was featured in many popular television shows throughout her career, including Gunsmoke , Wagon Train , Laramie , The Twilight Zone , and the western series Riverboat , starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. She also co-starred in the first episode of ABC's The Fugitive (titled "Fear in a Desert City") and guest-starred in episodes of The Outer Limits , Burke's Law , The Eleventh Hour , The Man from U.N.C.L.E. , and Ironside .

In 1965, Miles had a supporting role in three episodes of the CBS series My Three Sons . The same year, she co-starred with lead actors Robert Culp and Bill Cosby in the pilot episode of the TV series I Spy entitled "Affair in T'Sien Cha" (although the pilot was not actually broadcast until midway through the series’ first season).

Other notable films in which Miles appeared included the Walt Disney film Follow Me, Boys! (1966) with Fred MacMurray, [13] and Hellfighters (1968), reuniting again with John Wayne. [14] Miles had also filmed scenes with Wayne for the movie The Green Berets (also 1968), playing Wayne's character's wife. However, with Warner Bros. wanting more action in the film, her scenes were cut. [15]

Miles continued to appear in numerous TV films and TV series during the 1970s, including the pilot for the TV series Cannon (broadcast in March 1971) as the wife of a deceased war comrade of private investigator Frank Cannon, played by William Conrad. She guest-starred in a further two episodes of the series in different roles during its run. In 1973, she appeared alongside Peter Falk in "Lovely But Lethal", an episode of NBC's Columbo , playing a cosmetics queen who commits murder. She also made guest appearances in episodes of Hawaii Five-O , The Streets of San Francisco , and Fantasy Island .

In 1983, more than 20 years after Psycho, Miles reprised the role of Lila Crane in Psycho II , joining Anthony Perkins in the sequel. Miles and Perkins were the only stars of the original film to appear in this second installment. [16] Miles continued to appear in a number of TV and film productions during the 1980s, with appearances in the movies The Initiation (1984) and Into the Night (1985), and guest-starring in episodes of the TV series The Love Boat (1982 and 1984) and Hotel (1984 and 1987). She also appeared alongside Angela Lansbury in the TV series Murder, She Wrote , guest-starring in three episodes broadcast in 1985, 1990, and 1991. The 1991 episode, titled "Thursday's Child", was her final television role. Miles acted just once more, appearing alongside James Belushi in the film Separate Lives (1995), before retiring from the industry. [17]

Personal life

Miles has been married four times. Her first husband was stuntman and bit-part actor Bob Miles. They were married from 1948 to 1954, and had two daughters, Debra and Kelley. Her second husband was actor and bodybuilder Gordon Scott, her co-star in Tarzan's Hidden Jungle. They were married from 1956 to 1960 and had one son, Michael. Her third husband was actor Keith Larsen. They were married from 1960 to 1971 and had one son, Erik. [4] Miles was married to her fourth husband, director Robert Jones, from 1973 until their divorce in 1975.

Miles's first three former husbands died within a short time of each other: Larsen died on December 13, 2006; Miles four months later, on April 12, 2007; and Scott died another 18 days later, on April 30, 2007.

One of her grandsons, actor Jordan Essoe, met with actress Jessica Biel in 2012 in preparation for Biel's portrayal of Miles in the film Hitchcock . [18]

Miles is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. [19] She also had been a frequent visitor to Salt Lake City, Utah, was greatly involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and is a member of the Hollywood California Stake. [20]

Miles supported the re-election of Dwight Eisenhower during the 1956 presidential election. [21]

In the 2012 American biographical romantic drama film directed by Sacha Gervasi, Hitchcock , Vera Miles is played by Jessica Biel.



1950 When Willie Comes Marching Home Laughing Sergeant's dateUncredited
1951 Two Tickets to Broadway ShowgirlUncredited
1952 For Men Only Kathy Hughes
The Rose Bowl Story Denny Burke
1953 The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms Trailer CommentatorUncredited
The Charge at Feather River Jennie McKeever
So Big SchoolgirlUncredited
1954 Pride of the Blue Grass Lindaa.k.a.Prince of the Blue Grass
1955 Tarzan's Hidden Jungle Jill Hardy
Wichita Laurie McCoy
1956 The Searchers Laurie Jorgensen
23 Paces to Baker Street Jean Lennox
Autumn Leaves Virginia Hanson
The Wrong Man Rose Balestrero
1957 Beau James Betty Compton
1959 Web of Evidence Lena Andersona.k.a.Beyond This Place
The FBI Story Lucy Ann Hardesty
A Touch of Larceny Virginia Killain
1960 Five Branded Women Daniza
Psycho Lila Crane
1961 The Lawbreakers Angela Walsh
Back Street Liz Saxon
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Hallie Stoddard
1964 A Tiger Walks Dorothy Williams
1965 Those Calloways Lydia "Liddy" Calloway
1966 One of Our Spies Is Missing Madame Raine De Sala
Follow Me, Boys! Vida Downey
1967 The Spirit Is Willing Kate Powell
Gentle Giant Ellen Wedloe
1968 Sergeant Ryker Ann Ryker
Kona Coast Melissa Hyde
The Green Berets Mrs. Lee KirbyScenes deleted
Mission BatangasJoan Barnes
Hellfighters Madelyn Buckman
1969 It Takes All Kinds Laura Ring
1970 The Wild Country Kate Tanner
1972 Molly and Lawless John Molly Parker
1973 One Little Indian Doris McIver
1974 The Castaway Cowboy Henrietta MacAvoy
1977 Run for the Roses Clarissa Stewarta.k.a.The Thoroughbreds
1982 BrainWaves Marian Koonan
1983 Psycho II Lila Loomis
1984 The Initiation Frances Fairchild
1985 Into the Night Joan Caper
1995 Separate Lives Dr. Ruth Goldin


1951 Fireside Theatre Episode: "The Seven Graces"
1953–1958 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Sarah Larkin / Julie4 episodes
1954 Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson Lois WheelerEpisode: "This Day Is Yours"
Lux Video Theatre Herself - Intermission Guest2 episodes
Hallmark Hall of Fame Episode: "The Immortal Oath"
Four Star Playhouse Julie Tolin / Maggie2 episodes
Medic Jane Agnes CaldwellEpisode: "The Wild Intruder"
1954–1955 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Daughter / Nancy3 episodes
Ford Television Theatre Angela / Nancy Carr2 episodes
1954–1957 Lux Video Theatre Jenny / Christine Carroll Kimberly / Audrey O'Connor / Maureen O'Reilly4 episodes
1954–1958 Climax! Janet Reese / Jan Michaels / Sally Jordan4 episodes
1954–1960 General Electric Theater Debra Stone / Nora Douglas / Mrs. Eaton / Terry5 episodes
1955 City Detective Carol MartinEpisode: "Goodbye Old Paint"
Science Fiction Theatre Dr. Jan CoreyEpisode: "No Food for Thought"
The Millionaire Merle RobertsEpisode: "The Merle Roberts Story"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Elsa SpannEpisode: "Revenge"
Screen Directors Playhouse Ruth DahlbergEpisode: "Rookie of the Year"
The 20th Century Fox Hour VirginiaEpisode: "Man on the Ledge"
1956 Strange Stories Susan HarrisEpisode: "Such a Nice Little Girl"
1957 Playhouse 90 Carolyn CookEpisode: "Panic Button"
1958 Studio 57 The Little Girl's MotherEpisode: "Emergency Call"
Colgate Theatre Judy GregoryEpisode: "Mr. Tutt"
1959 Riverboat Jeanette MowbrayEpisode: "About Roger Mowbray"
Rawhide Helen WalshEpisode: "Incident at the Buffalo Smokehouse"
1959–1965 Wagon Train Anne Reed / Janice Stuart / Sister Rita3 episodes
1960 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Jenny BreckenridgeEpisode: "Miss Jenny"
The Twilight Zone Millicent BarnesEpisode: "Mirror Image"
Startime Jean MedwickEpisode: "Incident at a Corner"
Laramie Anne AndrewsEpisode: "Three Rode West"
1961 The Asphalt Jungle Angela WalshEpisode: "The Lady and the Lawyer"
Frontier Circus Maureen McBrideEpisode: "Lippizan"
Checkmate Zoe KamensEpisode: "The Crimson Pool"
1962 The Detectives Lucy2 episodes
Sam Benedict Midge MaddonEpisode: "Maddon's Folly"
Route 66 Ellen BarnesEpisode: "Where Is Chick Lorimer, Where Has She Gone?"
The Dick Powell Show Stella CalmanEpisode: "Crazy Sunday"
1962–1963 The Eleventh Hour Kate Sommers / Ann Costigan2 episodes
1962–1965 The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Nicky Revere / Daphne2 episodes
1963 The Fugitive Monica WellesEpisode: "Fear in a Desert City"
Arrest and Trial Jean ForbesEpisode: "Isn't It a Lovely View"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Ann Ryker2 episodes
The Fugitive Monica WellesTelevision film
1963–1970 The Virginian Amelia Ballard / Maggie Menken / Miss Wallace3 episodes
Insight Lucy / Mme Bernice / Sister Lucy Anne / Marion / Maria5 episodes
1964 The Unknown Kassia PaineTelevision film
The Outer Limits Kasha PaineEpisode: "The Forms of Things Unknown"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre BethEpisode: "The Sojourner"
Burke's Law Claudia SuttonEpisode: "Who Killed the Horne of Plenty?"
The Hanged Man Lois SeegerTelevision film
1965 Slattery's People Lucy HamptonEpisode: "Question: How Long Is the Shadow of a Man?"
Mr. Novak Sister GervaiseEpisode: "There's a Penguin in My Garden"
My Three Sons Ernestine Coulter3 episodes
I Spy RachelEpisode: "Affair in T'Sien Cha"
1966 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Madame Raine De Sala2 episodes
ABC Stage 67 AdeleEpisode: "The People Trap"
1966–1971 Bonanza Mrs. April Christopher / Sarah Lowell2 episodes
1967 Run for Your Life Rachel PikeEpisode: "The Inhuman Predicament"
Off to See the Wizard Gypsy QueenEpisode: "Gypsy Colt"
Judd, for the Defense Lydia GrayEpisode: "Everyone Loved Harlan But His Wife"
1968 Journey to the Unknown June WileyEpisode: "Matakitas Is Coming"
1968–1970 The Name of the Game Hilary Vanderman / Tracy Cannon / Marisa Cummings3 episodes
1968–1971 Ironside Gloria Campbell / Barbara Richards / Barbara Jones3 episodes
1969 Journey to the Unknown June WileyTelevision film ("Matakitas Is Coming" segment)
The F.B.I. Kate BurkeEpisode: "The Swindler"
Mannix Jean McBrideS3-Episode 03: "Return to Summer Grove"
1970 Gunsmoke Dr. Sam McTavishEpisode: "Sam McTavish, M.D."
Dan August CarlaEpisode: "When the Shouting Dies"
1970–1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Janet Devaney / Helen Wagner2 episodes
1970–1974 Medical Center Nora Crayton / Eva / Dr. Gloria Howell4 episodes
1971 Hawaii Five-O Flora WhitingEpisode: "Dear Enemy"
In Search of AmericaJenny OlsonTelevision film
Cannon Diana LangstonTelevision film
Alias Smith and Jones Belle JordanEpisode: "The Posse That Wouldn't Quit"
A Howling in the Woods Rose StainesTelevision film
1971–1973 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Nancy Hodges / Joan Baldwin2 episodes
1972 Jigsaw Lilah Beth CummingsTelevision film
A Great American TragedyGloria WilkesTelevision film
1972–1975 Cannon Vivian Cabe / Dr. Adams2 episodes
1973 Baffled! Andrea GlennTelevision film
Columbo Viveca ScottEpisode: "Lovely But Lethal"
Runaway! Ellen StaffoTelevision film
1974 Live Again, Die Again Marcia CarmichaelTelevision film
The Underground ManEleanor StromTelevision film
The Strange and Deadly OccurrenceChristine RhodesTelevision film
1975 The Wonderful World of Disney Kate TannenEpisode: "Wild Country: Part 2"
The Streets of San Francisco Catherine WyattEpisode: "Men Will Die"
1976 Ellery Queen Celeste WakefieldEpisode: "The Adventure of the Two-Faced Woman"
Movin' On Sheila PowersEpisode: "Sing It Again, Sonny"
McNaughton's DaughterGrace CoventryEpisode: "McNaughton's Daughter"
Judge Horton and the Scottsboro BoysMrs. HortonTelevision film
State Fair Melissa BryantTelevision film
Smash-Up on Interstate 5 EricaTelevision film
1977 Fire! Martha WagnerTelevision film
Barnaby Jones Diane MagnusEpisode: "The Reincarnation"
1978 How the West Was Won Beth2 episodes
Fantasy Island Martha TateEpisode: "Superstar/Salem"
The Runaways Joan LarkinEpisode: "Lies We Live With"
And I Alone SurvivedIrene ElderTelevision film
1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century ToraEpisode: "Flight of the War Witch"
RoughnecksIda McBrideTelevision film
1981Our Family BusinessPatriciaTelevision film
Magnum, P.I. Joan GibsonEpisode: "Mad Buck Gibson"
1982 Mazes and Monsters Cat WheelingTelevision film
1982–1984 The Love Boat Eve Springer / Arlene Kemper / Bess Hensinger3 episodes
1983 Little House: A New Beginning Ruthy LelandEpisode: "The Last Summer"
Trapper John, M.D. Liz WaleskaEpisode: "Blue Genes"
Travis McGee Julie LawlessTelevision film
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Kate KellerTelevision film
Matt Houston Mary HaywoodEpisode: "The High Fashion Murders"
1984–1987 Hotel Ruth / Grace Harlan / Millie Broom / Teresa Clayborne4 episodes
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Joanna ShawEpisode: "Deadly Silence"
International Airport Elaine CorleyTelevision film
Crazy Like a Fox GeorginaEpisode: "Requiem for a Fox"
1985–1991 Murder, She Wrote Nancy Landon / Charmaine Calloway Thompson / Elizabeth Gates3 episodes
1988 Simon & Simon Catherine Van Alder-VicenteEpisode: "The Richer They Are the Harder They Fall"
1989 The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro Sophie KubackiTelevision film

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