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Vera Ralston
Personal information
Full name: Vera Ralston
Alternative names: Věra Helena Hrubá
Country represented:  Czechoslovakia
Place of birth: Prague
Date of death: February 9, 2003
Place of death: Santa Barbara, California
from the trailer for The Fighting Kentuckian (1949)

Vera Ralston (born Věra Helena Hrubá, born July 12, birth year unknown; died February 9, 2003) was a Czech figure skater and actress. She later became a naturalized American citizen. She worked as an actress during the 1940s and 1950s. Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá to a wealthy jeweler in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her age was uncertain; Ralston at various times gave 1919, 1920, 1921,[1] and 1923 as her year of birth.

Contents

Skating career

As a figure skater, she represented Czechoslovakia in competition under her birth name Vera Hruba.

She competed at the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 15th. Later that season, she competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she placed 17th. During the games, she personally met and insulted Adolf Hitler.[2] Hitler asked her if she would like to "skate for the swastika." As she later recalled, "I looked him right in the eye, and said that I'd rather skate on the swastika. The Führer was furious."[3]

Hruba competed at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 7th.

Acting career

Hruba emigrated to the United States in the early 1940s and became a naturalized citizen in 1946.

She moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. Ralston later married the head of the studio Herbert J. Yates in 1952. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and had left his wife and children to be with Ralston. Yates used his position to obtain roles for Ralston, and at one point was sued by studio shareholders for using company assets to promote his wife.

During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston.

Ralston normally played an immigrant girl in films because of her limited English skills. Among the 26 films Ralston starred in were Storm Over Lisbon with Erich von Stroheim (1944), Dakota (1945) and The Fighting Kentuckian with John Wayne (1949), A Perilous Journey with David Brian (1953), and Fair Wind to Java with Fred MacMurray (1953). She retired from films in 1958.

Yates died in 1966, leaving to Ralston his $10 million estate. Ralston suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, then remarried and lived quietly in southern California. She died on February 9, 2003, Santa Barbara, California, after a long battle with cancer. For her work in films, Ralston has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame.

The authors of the book The Golden Turkey Awards nominated her for the dubious honor of "The Worst Actress of All Time," along with Candice Bergen and Mamie Van Doren. They all lost to Raquel Welch.[4]

References

  1. ^ Lamparski, Richard (1982). Whatever Became Of ...? Eighth Series. New York: Crown Publishers. pp. 240-41. ISBN 0-517-54855-0. 
  2. ^ Biography of Vera Ralston Retrieved June 5, 2006
  3. ^ "Obituary - Vera Ralston". Irish Independent Online. 2 Mar 2003. URL accessed 2006-06-05.
  4. ^ Hal Erikson. "Vera Ralston, Actor: July 12, 1923 - Prague, Czechoslovakia". The New York Times from the Allmovie. http://movies2.nytimes.com/gst/movies/filmography.html?p_id=58590. Retrieved 2007-06-02. 

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