A favorite of important directors such as Walt Disney, Alfred Hitchcock, and John Ford, actor Vera Miles launched her path to stardom as Miss Texas in 1948 and went to Hollywood from there. Miles was born Vera June Ralston on August 23, 1929, in Boise City, Oklahoma. She started with small roles in television and in minor films before being cast by Ford in the classic Western, The Searchers (1956). Subsequently, Miles starred or had roles in a number of television programs and films, often playing a fair-haired, innocent figure or all-American woman of the West. Leonard Maltin writes that "she showed tremendous skill and range as Henry Fonda's beleaguered wife in Hitchcock's The Wrong Man (1957)." Hitchcock cast her again in Psycho (1960) as Janet Leigh's sister, who discovers the truth about Norman Bates. After a strong role in Ford's The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962), Miles began a long association with the Disney studio, making films such as A Tiger Walks (1964) and The Calloways (1965). That work evolved into many good roles on various television series such as The Outer Limits (1963), The F.B.I. (1965), Ellery Queen (1975), Magnum P.I. (1980), and Murder She Wrote (1984). In 1983 she reprised her most famous role in Psycho II and continued acting through the 1990s.
BIBLIOGRAPHY: Ruth Halliwell and John Walker, Halliwell's Filmgoer's and Video Viewer's Companion (New York: Harper Collins, 1993). David Thomson, A Biographical Dictionary of Film (3rd ed.; New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 1994).
Hugh W. Foley, Jr.
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