Virginia Patton Moss, Last Surviving Adult ‘It’s a Wonderful Life’ Star, Dead at 97

by Shelby Scott

In a string of recent celebrity deaths, Hollywood bid goodbye to another classic star. Known for her role in the beloved Christmas film It’s A Wonderful Life, Virginia Patton Moss recently died at 97 years old.

According to Variety, Virginia Patton Moss was the last living adult cast member from It’s A Wonderful Life. The actress, known for her role as Ruth Dakin Bailey, passed away on August 18th in Albany, Georgia. The outlet stated that Karolyn Grimes, who worked on the film alongside Moss, shared the news on the actress’s personal Facebook page.

In a statement, she wrote, “We have another angel! Virginia Patton Moss. She was 97 years old.”

While Moss represents the last living adult from the 1946 production, the outlet stated that many of the film’s child stars are still alive. Nevertheless, her death symbolizes a finality in regard to It’s A Wonderful Life.

Virginia Patton Moss Began Acting Long Before ‘It’s A Wonderful Life’

Virginia Patton Moss might be famous for her role in It’s A Wonderful Life, but she actually got her start in acting much sooner.

Per the outlet, Moss began her career as a performer and actor while attending the University of Southern California. Her resumé soon filled with a handful of small roles in plays and features. Later, after making the beloved Christmas film, Moss would give interviews about her experience on the movie’s set years ahead of her death.

In recalling his wife’s experience with the Frank Capra film, Moss’s husband, Cruse W. Moss, said in 2012, “Virginia was the only girl that was directly contracted by Frank Capra. Everybody else in that film was loaned by another studio. But Ginny was not with the studio and Frank Capra actually signed her for that picture.”

In addition to It’s A Wonderful Life, Virginia Patton Moss would also star in a handful of other films. She had a leading part in the 1948 Western, Black Eagle. Afterward, she would retire from acting. Moss’s final screen credit came in 1949 in the comedy, The Lucky Stiff.

Virginia Patton Moss’s Roots:

At the time of It’s A Wonderful Life‘s production, Virginia Patton Moss was only known by her birth name, Virginia Moss. However, she later married her husband and now-widower, Cruse W. Moss in 1949. After they wed, they relocated to Ann Arbor, Michigan. Following a substantial career in acting, Moss would move on and become a businesswoman. In speaking about that decision, the It’s A Wonderful Life icon said, “I couldn’t see me doing that for my life.”

Instead, she said everything she wanted from life was located right in Ann Arbor.

She gushed at the time that she had “a wonderful husband, wonderful children, a good part of the community,” and emphasized that she “work[ed] hard for the community.”