Virginia Davis (December 31, 1918 – August 15, 2009) was an American
child actress in films.
1.1 Early career
1.2 The Greater Glory
1.3 The Blue Bird
1.4 Other work
3 Personal life
7 Further reading
8 External links
She was born on December 31, 1918 in Kansas City, Missouri. Her
father, a furniture salesman, was often away on business.
Davis began working for Walt Disney's Kansas City company,
Laugh-O-Gram Studio, in 1923. She was hired to act in
a film called Alice's Wonderland, which combined live action with
animation. When Laugh-O-Gram failed and Disney moved to Los Angeles,
on the basis of
Winkler Pictures signed Disney for
a series known as the Alice Comedies, or Alice in Cartoonland. Disney
convinced Davis' family to bring her from Missouri to Los Angeles to
star in the series. During this time, Davis resided at the La Brea
Apartments in Hollywood, California.
The Greater Glory
In 1925, Davis played the role of Resi in The Greater Glory, a First
National Pictures production. The film's director, Curt Rehfeld,
remarked that Davis "... has the technique of a finished artist, the
unusual ability to follow direction and the disposition of an angel.
Not once during the picture was it necessary for me to explain any
angle twice and, with all of her mature understanding, the youthful
charm still remains, making a rare and appreciated combination."
While filming The Greater Glory, Davis signed a contract with Harry
Carey and the two actors worked together in The Man From Red Gulch
The Blue Bird
In December 1929, Davis was in the cast of The Blue Bird at the
Pasadena Playhouse. The fairy play included Janet Horning, a child
actress who was only two years old. The cast included 150 children.
Davis did voice testing for a role in Disney's first feature-length
animation film Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) as well as some
of the little boys' voices in Pinocchio (1940), but was not hired.
Recalling her work on the "Alice" films, Davis said, "It was a great
time – full of fun, adventure, and 'let's pretend.' I adored and
idolized Walt, as any child would. He would direct me in a large
manner with great sweeping gestures. One of my favorite pictures was
Alice's Wild West Show. I was always the kid with the curls, but I was
really a tomboy, and that picture allowed me to act tough. I took
great joy in that."
Over the next 20 years, she went on to work at other Hollywood Studios
as a child actress and, later, as a supporting actress. She sang,
danced, and acted in such films as Flying Down to Rio, Vivacious Lady,
Young and Beautiful, College Holiday, Song of the Islands, Three on a
The Harvey Girls
The Harvey Girls and Weekend in Havana, among others. On
several occasions, she used the screen name Mary Daily, and appeared
in such films as Hands Across the Rockies with cowboy star Bill
Elliott. During her Hollywood tenure, she also occasionally worked for
her old boss, Walt Disney, did a vocal test for Snow White, voiced
some supporting characters in Pinocchio and served a short stint in
the Disney Studio's Ink-and-Paint department.
In 1943, she married Navy aviator Robert McGhee, and the couple had
two daughters. During their 59-year marriage, they resided in New
Jersey, Connecticut, Southern California, and Idaho. Over a 25-year
period, Virginia worked as a real estate agent mostly in the Irvine,
Boise, Idaho areas.
After a year of failing health, Virginia Davis-McGhee died of natural
causes in her home in
Corona, California on August 15, 2009, aged
In 1988, Virginia received a
Disney Legends award for Animation.
^ a b c d
Brian Sibley (21 August 2009). "Virginia Davis. Child star
of the Alice comedies that launched Walt Disney's career". The
^ a b Douglas Martin (August 21, 2009). "
Virginia Davis McGhee, Early
Disney Star, Dies at 90". New York Times.
^ The Hand Behind the Mouse: The Ub Iwerks Story, Leslie Iwerks, Walt
Disney Pictures, 1999
Disney Legends – Virginia Davis".
Los Angeles Times, "New Members of Players' Club", April 20, 1924, p.
Los Angeles Times, "Older Sisters' Art Emulated", August 23, 1925,
Los Angeles Times, "Tiny
Actress in Blue Bird", December 29, 1929,
Los Angeles Times, "Around And About in Hollywood", March 24, 1934,
Virginia Davis on IMDb