Last Surviving Adult Cast Member from 'It's a Wonderful Life' Dies at 97


Virginia Ann Patton Moss, the last surviving adult cast member from the hailed classic “It’s a Wonderful Life” passed away last week.

The former actress was 97 and died in Albany, Georgia, NBC News reported.

Moss played Ruth Dakin Bailey in Frank Capra’s 1946 film. Her character married Harry Bailey (played Todd Karns) and her most prominent scene in the film was at the Bedford Falls train station when she is introduced to her new brother-in-law George Bailey (played by Jimmy Stewart) and Uncle Billy (played by Thomas Mitchell), according to The Hollywood Reporter.

It’s a small but pivotal moment in the plot:

“Ruth Dakin Bailey, if you don’t mind,” she says brightly, informing George Bailey that his brother has married.

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Upon her death, Karolyn Grimes, who played Zuzu Bailey as a child actress, posted a commemorative tribute to Moss on her Facebook page.

“We have another angel! Virginia Patton Moss. She was 97 years old,” Grimes wrote. “She is now with her beloved Cruse. She will be missed!”

Moss was born in Cleveland on June 25, 1925, and was raised in Portland, Oregon. She was the niece of World War II General George Patton, according to the Hollywood Reporter.

After graduating from high school in 1942, she went to Los Angeles to pursue an acting career.

She signed with Warner Bros. and made her debut in the musical “Thank Your Lucky Stars” (1943).

Moss also appeared in small roles in other movies like “Janie” (1944), “Hollywood Canteen” (1944) and “The Horn Blows at Midnight” (1945).

A few years later, Moss retired from acting after a role in “The Lucky Stiff” (1949) and moved to Ann Arbor to raise her children, according to a 2012 report from Patch.

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But “It’s a Wonderful Life” is what Moss has always been best known for, and throughout the years she continued to give interviews about her experience working on the audience favorite.

Since “It’s a Wonderful Life” has become a classic Christmas movie, Moss often joked that, “I’ve probably been in more homes than even Santa Claus,” according to The Hollywood Reporter.

She has also spoken about her personal experiences with Capra and how they kept in touch.

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When Moss decided to step away from acting, she said that Capra asked her to really think about what she was walking away from.

But Moss said she knew she made the right decision.

“I have a beautiful letter that [Capra] wrote me because I kept in touch with him and he said, ‘I just knew you’d be a wonderful mother with three little bambinos and a wonderful husband,’” Patton told Patch in the 2012 interview.

“I couldn’t see me doing that for my life,” she said of her Hollywood career. “That isn’t what I wanted. I wanted exactly what I am. Ann Arbor, Michigan, a wonderful husband, wonderful children, a good part of the community. I work hard for the community.”

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