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Virginia Vale

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Virginia Vale
Dorothy Howe

(1920-05-20)May 20, 1920
DiedSeptember 14, 2006(2006-09-14) (aged 86)
Resting placeForest Lawn Memorial Park (Hollywood Hills), California
OccupationActress, U.S. Figure Skating Association Judge, Executive Secretary
Years active1937-1945

Virginia Vale (born Dorothy Howe, May 20, 1920 – September 14, 2006) was an American film actress. She starred in a number of B-movie Westerns but took a variety of other roles as well, notably in Blonde Comet (1941), in which she played a race car driver.

Early years

Vale was the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. H. H. Howe.[1] Before becoming a professional actor, she was a switchboard operator in Dallas, Texas, and honed her acting skills in productions at a little theater in Dallas. After a representative of Paramount Pictures saw her in a leading role, he invited her to make a screen test, which led to a contract.[2] (Another source says that Howe was working at the switchboard in Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer's Dallas office, where a talent scout for Paramount found her and signed her to a contract.)[3]


Several of Vale's early films were made using her birth name. The name Virginia Vale had been chosen in advance for the female winner of the 1939 Gateway to Hollywood contest, a nationwide talent search sponsored by producer Jesse Lasky—as noted (somewhat indignantly) then by another Virginia Vale[4] a syndicated columnist covering the film industry.[5] Vale edged out Rhonda Fleming in the 1939 contest.[6]

After her film career, she became an executive secretary at Lockheed and also a competition judge for the US Figure Skating Association. She was eventually honored by the USFSA for 50 years of service in that role.[7][8] Before becoming a judge, she'd also briefly been a competition skater.[7] Her life in film and skating was featured at the 2002 U.S. figure skating championships[9] and a memorial trophy for "most outstanding performance" was given in her name at the 2007 California Championships.[10]


Year Title Role Notes
1937 Night Club Scandal Marsh's Maid
1937 True Confession Brunette Girl Uncredited
1938 The Buccaneer Uncredited
1938 The Big Broadcast of 1938 Joan Fielding
1938 Her Jungle Love Eleanor Martin
1938 Cocoanut Grove Hazel De Vore
1938 King of Alcatraz Dixie
1939 Disbarred Airline Stewardess
1939 Ambush Waitress at Restaurant Uncredited
1939 Persons in Hiding Flo
1939 Unmarried Betty
1939 Three Sons Phoebe Pardway
1939 Marshal of Mesa City Virginia King
1940 Legion of the Lawless Ellen Ives
1940 Bullet Code Molly Mathews
1940 You Can't Fool Your Wife Sally
1940 Prairie Law Priscilla Brambull
1940 Millionaires in Prison May Thomas
1940 Stage to Chino Caroline McKay
1940 Triple Justice Lorna Payson
1941 Repent at Leisure Elevator Girl Uncredited
1941 Robbers of the Range Alice Tremaine
1941 South of Panama Janice 'Jan' Martin, aka Dolores Esteban
1941 Unexpected Uncle Telephone Girl Uncredited
1941 The Gay Falcon Hysterical Woman Uncredited
1941 Blonde Comet Beverly Blake
1942 Broadway Big Shot Betty Collins
1945 Crime, Inc. Trixie Waters (final film role)


  • Boyd Magers, Michael G. Fitzgerald (1999), Westerns Women: Interviews With 50 Leading Ladies Of Movie And Television Westerns From The 1930s To The 1960s, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., ISBN 0-7864-2028-6
  • Herb Fagen (1996), White Hats and Silver Spurs: Interviews With 24 Stars of Film and Television Westerns of the Thirties Through the Sixties, Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co., ISBN 0-7864-0200-8


  1. ^ "News and Views of the Shows". Harrisburg Sunday Courier. Pennsylvania, Harrisburg. November 14, 1937. p. 10. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via open access
  2. ^ "Wanted: New Faces!". The Lincoln Star. Nebraska, Lincoln. July 10, 1938. p. 34. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via open access
  3. ^ "Switchboard Operator in Movies". The Edwardsville Intelligencer. Illinois, Edwardsville. August 10, 1937. p. 3. Retrieved July 9, 2016 – via open access
  4. ^ "Star Dust", Virginia Vale, June 17, 1939
  5. ^ Fleming, E.J. (2005). Carole Landis: A Tragic Life in Hollywood. Jefferson, N.C.: McFarland and Co. ISBN 978-0-7864-2200-5, p.275
  6. ^ "Virginia Vale is alive and well". Los Angeles Times. 1 Aug 1976.
  7. ^ a b "LAFSC Mourns the Passing of Virginia Vale", The Ice Monitor, v.62, #3, Dec 2006, p.3 [1] Archived 2011-07-27 at the Wayback Machine
  8. ^ "Friday's News from the 2004 Governing Council - (5/8/04)", US Figure Skating Association website [2] Archived 2011-06-13 at the Wayback Machine
  9. ^ Josephine Lawless (2007). Introduction to Vale's 1982 "History of the Los Angeles Figure Skating Club" Archived 2009-01-05 at the Wayback Machine
  10. ^ "And Now the News", 2007,
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