Virginia Gregg

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Virginia Gregg
Virginia Gregg 1951.jpg
Gregg in 1951
Born(1916-03-06)March 6, 1916
DiedSeptember 15, 1986(1986-09-15) (aged 70)
Years active1937–1986
Spouse(s) Jaime del Valle (1948–1959; divorced)

Virginia Lee Gregg (March 6, 1916 – September 15, 1986) was an American actress known for her many roles in radio dramas and television series.


Early life

Born in Harrisburg, Illinois, she was the daughter of musician Dewey Alphaleta (née Todd) and businessman Edward William Gregg. [1] She had a stepsister, Mary. [2]

When Gregg was 5, [3] her family and she moved to Pasadena, California. [4] She attended Jefferson High School, [2] Pasadena Junior College and Pacific Academy of Dramatic Art. [3]



Before going into radio, Gregg played the double bass with the Pasadena Symphony and Pops. She was a member of the Singing Strings group heard initially on KHJ in Los Angeles in 1937 [2] and later on CBS and Mutual. [5]


Gregg with Edward Binns in Portland Expose (1957) Portland Expose trailer 1.jpg
Gregg with Edward Binns in Portland Expose (1957)

Gregg was a prolific radio actress, heard on such programs as The Adventures of Sam Spade , Dragnet , Dr. Kildare , Gunsmoke , The Jack Benny Program , Let George Do It , Lux Radio Theatre , One Man's Family , Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar , The Screen Guild Theater , CBS Radio Mystery Theatre , The Zero Hour , and Mutual Radio Theater .

On the radio series Have Gun–Will Travel (starring John Dehner as Paladin), Gregg portrayed Miss Wong (the girlfriend of Hey Boy), and also appeared in very different roles in the concurrent television series with Richard Boone. She had the role of Betty Barbour on One Man's Family and played Richard Diamond's girlfriend, the wealthy Helen Asher, on the radio series Richard Diamond, Private Detective [5] (starring Dick Powell as Diamond). She later guest-starred in an episode of the television version of Richard Diamond, starring David Janssen.

Feature films

Gregg alongside Steve McQueen in Wanted Dead or Alive (1959) Steve McQueen Virginia Gregg Wanted Dead or Alive 1959.JPG
Gregg alongside Steve McQueen in Wanted Dead or Alive (1959)

Beginning with Body and Soul (1947), Gregg made more than 45 films, including I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), Love Is a Many-Splendored Thing (1955), Portland Exposé (1957), The D.I. (1957), Operation Petticoat (1959), All the Fine Young Cannibals (1960), Man-Trap (1961), House of Women (1962), Spencer's Mountain (1963), Two on a Guillotine (1965), A Big Hand for the Little Lady (1966), The Bubble (1966), Madigan (1968), Heaven with a Gun (1969), Quarantined (1970), A Walk in the Spring Rain (1970), No Way Back (1976), and S.O.B. (1981) [6]


Gregg once said of her work as a character actress on television: "I work steadily, but I have no identity." [7] She added, "When casting people have a call for a woman who looks like the wrath of God, I'm notified." [7] On television, Gregg appeared in nearly every narrative television series in the late '50s through the early 1970s, including Bourbon Street Beat , Hawaiian Eye , 77 Sunset Strip , Gunsmoke , Bonanza , The Lawman , Perry Mason , The Rockford Files , Maverick with James Garner, Wanted Dead or Alive with Steve McQueen, The Virginian , Alfred Hitchcock Presents , Wagon Train , Mannix (S3-Episode 02 & S4-Episode 22), Trackdown with Robert Culp, Make Room for Daddy , Philip Marlowe , Mr. Adams and Eve , My Favorite Martian , The Twilight Zone , Hazel , and Kung Fu .

In 1978, she played the role of herbal healer Ada Corley in a two-part episode of The Waltons titled "The Ordeal". Years earlier, she appeared as school teacher Miss Parker in the film Spencer's Mountain – an earlier adaption of the Earl Hamner stories on which The Waltons was based, starring Henry Fonda.

Gregg may be best remembered for her many appearances in Dragnet . Jack Webb used her in dozens of roles on both the radio and TV versions of the show, as well as in the 1954 film version of Dragnet . In later years, she appeared on other shows produced by Webb's production company, Mark VII Limited (e.g. Adam-12 and Emergency!).

Voice acting

Gregg was the voice for Riabouchinska, the ventriloquist doll in the 1956 Alfred Hitchcock Presents TV episode "And So Died Riabouchinska". Gregg supplied the voice of Mrs. Bates in Psycho , as did Jeanette Nolan and Paul Jasmin, all uncredited. Only Gregg did the voice in the sequels Psycho II and Psycho III . She voiced Tarra on the 1967 animated TV series The Herculoids . She reprised that role when the series was revived in 1981 as part of the Space Stars animated series.

Personal life

Gregg married producer Jaime del Valle in 1948 (another source says October 15, 1947, in Las Vegas, Nevada). [3] They had three children, Gregg, Jaime, and Ricardo. [3] They were divorced on December 22, 1959. [8]

Gregg was active with Recording for the Blind, making recordings as a volunteer and serving on the group's board of directors. [4]


Gregg died from lung cancer in Encino, California, on September 15, 1986, [5] aged 70.

Partial filmography

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  1. "Virginia Gregg Praised By Tribune Review Of Film 'Dragnet'". The Daily Register . Harrisburg, Illinois. August 24, 1954. p. 3. Retrieved January 8, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  2. 1 2 3 Danson, Tom E. (January 16, 1949). "Yours Truly, Virginia Gregg". Press-Telegram . Long Beach, California. p. 58. Retrieved January 8, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. 1 2 3 4 "Virginia Gregg del Valle, Niece of T.D. Gregg, Stars in Radio, TV Shows". The Daily Register . Harrisburg, Illinois. July 28, 1954. p. 3. Retrieved January 8, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  4. 1 2 "Versatile Character Actress Virginia Gregg Dies at 70". Los Angeles Times. September 17, 1986. Retrieved January 8, 2016.
  5. 1 2 3 DeLong, Thomas A. (1996). Radio Stars: An Illustrated Biographical Dictionary of 953 Performers, 1920 through 1960. McFarland & Company, Inc. p. 115. ISBN   978-0-7864-2834-2.
  6. "Virginia Gregg Is Dead at 70; Off-Screen Voice in Psycho". The New York Times . Associated Press. September 19, 1986.
  7. 1 2 Witbeck, Charles (October 11, 1959). "Versatile Virginia Gregg Has Steady Work, But No Identity". Herald & Review. Decatur, Illinois. p. 51.
  8. "Virginia Gregg Is Granted Divorce". Corpus Christi Times . December 23, 1959. p. 28. Retrieved January 7, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg