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Virginia Patton Moss, “It’s a Wonderful Life” actor, dead at age 97


Virginia Patton Moss, the last surviving adult cast member from the holiday classic “It’s a Wonderful Life,” has died at the age of 97. Karolyn Grimes, a child actor in the 1946 movie, confirmed her death in a Facebook post. 

“We have another angel! Virginia Patton Moss. She was 97 years old. She played Harry Bailey’s wife in the film, it’s a Wonderful Life! She is now with her beloved Cruse. She will be missed!” Grimes wrote Sunday. 

Moss was known for her role as Ruth Dakin Bailey in director Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life” — widely considered to be one of the best films ever made and nominated for five Academy Awards. The American Film Institute ranks it as No. 11 of the greatest American movies of all time. 

Moss retired from acting a few years later and her last film credit was in “The Lucky Stuff” in 1949. 

It's A Wonderful Life
The movie “It’s a Wonderful Life,” produced and directed by Frank Capra, premiered Dec. 20, 1946. Seen here from left, Virginia Patton Moss as Ruth Dakin Bailey and James Stewart as George Bailey.

Photo by CBS via Getty Images


Moss pivoted into the business world and became president of The Patton Corp., an investment and real estate holdings company in Ann Arbor, Michigan, according to her bio on IMDB. She also served on the Cleary University board of trustees and the Washtenaw County Community Mental Health Service board of directors. 

She was the niece of World War II Gen. George S. Patton. Moss was married to Cruse W. Moss from 1949 until his death in 2018 and had three children together. In 2012, she reflected about her decision to leave Hollywood and focus on raising her family, according to Variety.  

“I couldn’t see me doing that for my life,” Moss said. “I wanted exactly what I am. Ann Arbor, Michigan, a wonderful husband, wonderful children, a good part of the community. I work hard for the community.”



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