Beauty contest winner Vera Ralston made a smattering of industrial films before beginning her Hollywood career in 1952. While making films at Republic studios, Ralston changed her name to avoid being confused with Republic's reigning queen Vera Hruba Ralston; "Miles" was the last name of her first husband. At first cast as a bland ingenue, she proved herself capable of conveying neurotic hysteria in The Charge at Feather River (1953), playing a white girl kidnapped by Indians who was violently resistant to being returned to her real family. She met her second husband, Gordon Scott, while filming Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1954). With her work in John Ford's The Searchers (1955), she graduated to big-budget productions. During the latter half of the 1950s, she was under contract to Alfred Hitchcock, who was impressed by the "still waters run deep" element of her performances. She played a delusional rape victim in "Revenge," the very first episode of TV's Alfred Hitchcock Presents; she was cast as Henry Fonda's beleaguered wife in Hitch's The Wrong Man (her final scene is a knockout!); and, of course, she was seen as the sister of the ill-fated Janet Leigh in Psycho, a role she flamboyantly reprised in the 1982 sequel Psycho 2. While she never quite attained full film stardom, Miles kept extremely busy in both theatrical releases and television. During the 1960s and 1970s, she was regarded as a "good luck charm" by TV producers: if she guest-starred in the pilot episode of a potential series, chances are that series would sell (among those sold were the aforementioned Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Asphalt Jungle, The Eleventh Hour, The Fugitive, Court Martial, The Outer Limits, I Spy, Gentle Ben, Cannon and Owen Marshall, Counsellor at Law). She continued to make occasional appearances until the 1995 feature Separate Lives, in which she costarred with James Belushi; afterward, she retired from acting. As of this writing, Vera Miles is still married to her fourth husband, sound engineer and mixer Bob Jones.
Biography by Hal Erickson
- Crowned Miss Kansas in 1948, and was second runner-up in the Miss America Pageant later that year.
- Changed last name to Miles (her first married surname) upon arrival in Hollywood since a Vera Ralston was already working in the industry at the time.
- Cast in Vertigo opposite Jimmy Stewart, but her pregnancy and subsequent production delays cost her the role.
- Was a contestant on You Bet Your Life in 1951.
- Performed in 1968's The Green Berets but her scenes as John Wayne's wife were cut from the movie prior to its release.