Virginia Bruce (September 29, 1910 – February 24, 1982) was
an American actress and singer.
Born Helen Virginia Briggs in Minneapolis, Minnesota, she
moved with her family to Los Angeles intending to enrol in the University of
California when a friendly wager sent her seeking film work. She got it as an
extra in Why Bring That Up?. In 1930 she appeared on Broadway in the musical
Smiles, followed by America's Sweetheart in 1931.
She returned to Hollywood in 1932, where she married John
Gilbert, her co-star in the film Downstairs. She retired briefly after the
birth of their daughter Susan Ann Gilbert. The couple divorced in 1934, and
Virginia returned to a hectic schedule of film appearances. Gilbert died two
years later in 1936.
Bruce introduced the Cole Porter standard "I've Got You
Under My Skin" in the film Born to Dance and co-starred in the MGM musical
The Great Ziegfeld. One of her final film appearances was in Strangers When We
Bruce married her second husband, film director J. Walter
Ruben, in 1937, making the Wallace Beery western The Bad Man of Brimstone with
him that year, and they had a son named Christopher, but she was widowed in
1942. In 1946 she married Ali Ipar. They divorced in 1951 in order for him to
receive a commission in the Turkish Military (which forbade promotions of men
married to foreigners), but remarried in 1952, divorcing again in 1964.
Virginia Bruce died of cancer on February 24, 1982 in
Woodland Hills, California.