Virginia Mayo dies at 84

Los Angeles:

Virginia Mayo, the stunning blonde actress who brought beauty and romance to films of the 1940s and 1950s with such co-stars as James Cagney, Bob Hope, Gregory Peck, Danny Kaye and Ronald Reagan, died Monday at a nursing home in suburban Thousand Oaks. She was 84. Mayo had been in declining health since battling pneumonia about a year ago, her daughter, Mary Johnston, told The Associated Press. Her honey blonde hair and creamy, flawless face made Mayo ideal for the Technicolor musicals, westerns and adventures that were the rage in Hollywood in the 1940s and ‘50s.

Starting as a chorus girl, Mayo quickly advanced to co-star status, appearing opposite Hope in “The Princess and the Pirate” in 1944. She went on to make five films with Kaye before signing a contract with Warner Bros., where she became one of the studio’s biggest stars. She also starred opposite Reagan in the romantic comedy “The Girl from Jones Beach” and again in the 1952 musical “She’s Working Her Way Through College.” “People always want to hear who was her favourite kisser,” her daughter said, adding her mother acknowledged it was Peck who delivered the best screen kiss. She made three films with the legendary director Raoul Walsh. They were “Captain Horatio Hornblower,” “Colorado Territory” and “White Heat.” — AP