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The last surviving cast member of It’s a Wonderful Life, Virginia Patton Moss, dies at 97

Virginia Patton Moss, changed her name at the age of 24 from Maude, a name suggested by her tough delivery man neighbor, died in Georgia on Aug. 18, 2017. She was 97 years old



Former actor Virginia Patton Moss passed away on August 18 in Albany, Georgia. She was the last surviving adult cast member from Frank Capra’s “It’s a Wonderful Life.” She lived to be 97.

Moss’ death was confirmed through Legacy. Karolyn Grimes, who played young Zuzu Bailey in the movie, paid tribute to her co-star in a Facebook post.

We’re blessed with yet another heavenly being!” Virginia Patton Moss. Grimes noted, “She was 97 years old. Thankfully, she has been reunited with her sweetheart, Cruse. She will be missed!”

In the 1946 film, Moss appears under her given name, Virginia Patton. James Stewart’s character, George Bailey, is James Stewart’s brother-in-law, and she played his sister-in-law, Ruth Dakin Bailey, who was married to Harry Bailey (Todd Karns). Moss was the last adult cast member to be found from the beloved holiday film (a number of the child actors in the film, including Grimes, are still alive).

At the University of Southern California, where she was a student, Moss began her career as an actress by performing in stage productions and appearing in supporting roles in films. The making of “It’s a Wonderful Life” was a topic of many interviews she gave throughout her life.

According to Moss’s husband, Cruse W. Moss, “Virginia was the only girl that was contracted directly by Frank Capra” in 2012. In addition to the lead actor, everyone else in the film was borrowed from other production companies. However, Ginny was not affiliated with the production company when Frank Capra signed her for the film.

After four more films, including the leading role in the 1948 Western “Black Eagle,” Moss decided to call it quits. Her last film role was a supporting one in the 1949 comedy “The Lucky Stiff,” which also starred Dorothy Lamour, Brian Donlevy, and Claire Trevor.

After marrying Cruse W. Moss in 1949, the actress began using his last name. After marrying, Moss started a successful business in Ann Arbor, Michigan, where she also raised three children and volunteered as a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art. After Cruse’s death in 2018, Virginia remained faithful to him, and vice versa.

Moss said in 2012 about her decision to stop acting, “I couldn’t see me doing that for the rest of my life.” This is exactly what I was hoping for. You have landed in Ann Arbor, Michigan, with a wonderful husband and equally wonderful children. For the benefit of society, I exert myself diligently.