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Vera Miles
Vera Miles, c. 1950s
Vera June Ralston

(1929-08-23) August 23, 1929 (age 94)
Years active1951–1995
Bob Miles
(m. 1948; div. 1954)
(m. 1956; div. 1960)
(m. 1960; div. 1971)
Bob Jones
(m. 1973; div. 1975)

Vera June Miles (née Ralston; born August 23, 1929) is an American retired actress, best known for roles in the John Ford directed, John Wayne starring Westerns The Searchers (1956) and The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance (1962) as well as for playing Lila Crane in the Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho, later reprising the role in its sequel, Psycho II.

Other films in which she appeared include Tarzan's Hidden Jungle (1955), The Wrong Man (1956), A Touch of Larceny (1959), Follow Me, Boys! (1966), Hellfighters (1968), Sergeant Ryker (1968), and Molly and Lawless John (1972).

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  • Vera Miles interview clip 1958


Early life

Vera June Ralston was born in Boise City, Oklahoma, on August 23, 1929,[1] to Thomas and Bernice (née Wyrick) Ralston. She had three older brothers.[citation needed]

She grew up first in Pratt, Kansas, and later lived in Wichita, where she worked nights as a Western Union operator-typist and graduated from Wichita North High School in 1947. She was crowned Miss Kansas in 1948 and was the third runner-up in the Miss America contest.[2]


Miles moved to Los Angeles in 1949 and landed small roles in television and film, including a minor role as a chorus girl in Two Tickets to Broadway (1951), a musical starring Janet Leigh, with whom Miles would co-star nine years later in the classic Alfred Hitchcock film Psycho. She used her first husband's name, Miles, because there already was a Vera Ralston film actress. Miles eventually was put under contract at various studios. She once recalled, "I was dropped by the best studios in town."[3]

Miles's first credited film appearance was in The Rose Bowl Story (1952), a romantic comedy in which she played a Tournament of Roses queen. While under contract to Warner Bros., Miles was cast alongside her future husband Gordon Scott in the 1955 film Tarzan's Hidden Jungle as Tarzan's love interest.[4] The following year, she was cast by director John Ford as Jeffrey Hunter's love interest in the John Wayne Western The Searchers (1956),[5] and appeared in the movies Wichita, directed by Jacques Tourneur and 23 Paces to Baker Street with Van Johnson.[6] Also in 1956, Miles starred as Rose Balestrero, the fragile wife of Manny Balestrero, a musician falsely accused of a crime and played by Henry Fonda, in the film The Wrong Man.[7] The movie was directed by Alfred Hitchcock, and is one of only a few Hitchcock films based on real-life events.[8]

Signing a five-year personal contract with Hitchcock in 1957,[4] Miles was widely publicized as the director's potential successor to Grace Kelly.[9] Two years prior, Hitchcock had directed Miles in the role of Ralph Meeker's emotionally troubled new bride in "Revenge", the pilot episode of his television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents.[10]

Vertigo (1958), a project Hitchcock designed as a showcase for his new star, was met with production delays. Miles's subsequent pregnancy would cost her the lead role which eventually went to Kim Novak. Vertigo (which also starred James Stewart) was not a financial or critical success at the time, with Hitchcock claiming that Novak was miscast.[11] Despite Hitchcock's disappointment regarding Vertigo, he continued to work with Miles, eventually casting her in what is arguably the role for which she is most remembered, that of Lila Crane in Psycho.[12] In the film, she portrayed the determined sister of the doomed motel guest Marion Crane (Janet Leigh), who teams up with Marion's boyfriend and a private investigator to find her. Miles later appeared in two episodes of The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (in 1962 and 1965).

In 1962, Miles reunited with director John Ford for the film The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance. Starring alongside her former co-star from The Searchers, John Wayne, she is pursued by both Wayne and James Stewart, two very different men competing for her hand in marriage.[4]

In addition to her film appearances, Miles was featured in many popular television shows throughout her career, including Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, Laramie, The Twilight Zone, and the Western series Riverboat, starring Darren McGavin and Burt Reynolds. She co-starred in the first episode of ABC's The Fugitive (titled "Fear in a Desert City") and guest-starred in episodes of The Outer Limits, Burke's Law, The Eleventh Hour, The Man from U.N.C.L.E., and Ironside.

In 1965, Miles had a supporting role in three episodes of the CBS series My Three Sons. The same year, she co-starred with lead actors Robert Culp and Bill Cosby in the pilot episode of the TV series I Spy entitled "Affair in T'Sien Cha" (although the pilot was not actually broadcast until midway through the series's first season).[13]

Other notable films in which Miles appeared included the Walt Disney film Follow Me, Boys! (1966) with Fred MacMurray.[14] In Hellfighters (1968), she played Katharine Ross' mother although she is only 10 years Ross's senior. The film also reunited her with John Wayne.[15] Miles had filmed scenes with Wayne for the movie The Green Berets (also 1968), playing Wayne's character's wife. However, with Warner Bros. wanting more action in the film, her scenes were cut.[16]

Miles continued to appear in numerous TV films and TV series during the 1970s, including the pilot for the TV series Cannon (broadcast in March 1971) as the wife of a deceased war comrade of private investigator Frank Cannon, played by William Conrad. She guest-starred in a further two episodes of the series in different roles during its run. In 1973, she appeared alongside Peter Falk in "Lovely But Lethal", an episode of NBC's Columbo, playing a cosmetics queen who commits murder. She also made guest appearances in episodes of Hawaii Five-O, The Streets of San Francisco, and Fantasy Island.

In 1983, more than 20 years after Psycho, Miles reprised the role of Lila Crane in Psycho II, joining Anthony Perkins in the sequel. Miles and Perkins were the only stars of the original film to appear in this second installment.[17] Miles continued to appear in a number of TV and film productions during the 1980s, with appearances in the movies The Initiation (1984) and Into the Night (1985), and guest-starring in episodes of the TV series The Love Boat (1982 and 1984) and Hotel (1984 and 1987). She appeared in three episodes of Murder, She Wrote (broadcast in 1985, 1990, and 1991, respectively). The 1991 episode, titled "Thursday's Child", was her final television role. Her last acting role was in the film Separate Lives (1995). She then retired from the industry.[18]

Personal life

Miles was married four times. Her first husband was stuntman and bit-part actor Bob Miles.[19] They were married from 1948 to 1954, and had two daughters, Debra and Kelley. Her second husband was actor and bodybuilder Gordon Scott, her co-star in Tarzan's Hidden Jungle.[20] They were married from 1956 to 1960 and had one son, Michael. Her third husband was actor Keith Larsen.[21] They were married from 1960 to 1971 and had one son, Erik.[4] Miles was married to her fourth husband, director Robert Jones, from 1973 until their divorce in 1975.[citation needed]

Miles' first three former husbands died within a short time of each other: Larsen died on December 13, 2006; Miles four months later, on April 12, 2007; and Scott died another 18 days later, on April 30, 2007.[citation needed]

One of her grandsons, actor Jordan Essoe, met with actress Jessica Biel in 2012 in preparation for Biel's portrayal of Miles in the film Hitchcock.[22]

Miles is a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints.[23] She also had been a frequent visitor to Salt Lake City, Utah, was greatly involved in the Boy Scouts of America, and is a member of the Hollywood California Stake.[24]

Miles supported the re-election of Dwight D. Eisenhower during the 1956 United States presidential election.[25]



Year Title Role Notes
1950 When Willie Comes Marching Home Laughing Sergeant's date Uncredited
1951 Two Tickets to Broadway Showgirl Uncredited
1952 For Men Only Kathy Hughes
The Rose Bowl Story Denny Burke
1953 The Beast from 20,000 Fathoms Trailer Commentator Uncredited
The Charge at Feather River Jennie McKeever
So Big Schoolgirl Uncredited
1954 Pride of the Blue Grass Linda a.k.a. Prince of the Blue Grass
1955 Tarzan's Hidden Jungle Jill Hardy
Wichita Laurie McCoy
1956 The Searchers Laurie Jorgensen
23 Paces to Baker Street Jean Lennox
Autumn Leaves Virginia Hanson
The Wrong Man Rose Balestrero
1957 Beau James Betty Compton
1959 Web of Evidence Lena Anderson a.k.a. Beyond This Place
The FBI Story Lucy Ann Hardesty
A Touch of Larceny Virginia Killain
1960 Five Branded Women Daniza
Psycho Lila Crane
1961 The Lawbreakers Angela Walsh
Back Street Liz Saxon
1962 The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance Hallie Stoddard
1964 A Tiger Walks Dorothy Williams
1965 Those Calloways Lydia "Liddy" Calloway
1966 One of Our Spies Is Missing Madame Raine De Sala
Follow Me, Boys! Vida Downey
1967 The Spirit Is Willing Kate Powell
Gentle Giant Ellen Wedloe
1968 Sergeant Ryker Ann Ryker
Kona Coast Melissa Hyde
The Green Berets Mrs. Lee Kirby Scenes deleted
Mission Batangas Joan Barnes
Hellfighters Madelyn Buckman
1969 It Takes All Kinds Laura Ring
1970 The Wild Country Kate Tanner
1972 Molly and Lawless John Molly Parker
1973 One Little Indian Doris McIver
1974 The Castaway Cowboy Henrietta MacAvoy
1977 Run for the Roses Clarissa Stewart a.k.a. The Thoroughbreds
1982 BrainWaves Marian Koonan
1983 Psycho II Lila Loomis
1984 The Initiation Frances Fairchild
1985 Into the Night Joan Caper
1995 Separate Lives Dr. Ruth Goldin


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Fireside Theatre Episode: "The Seven Graces"
1953–1958 Schlitz Playhouse of Stars Sarah Larkin / Julie 4 episodes
1954 Crown Theatre with Gloria Swanson Lois Wheeler Episode: "This Day Is Yours"
Lux Video Theatre Herself - Intermission Guest 2 episodes
Hallmark Hall of Fame Episode: "The Immortal Oath"
Four Star Playhouse Julie Tolin / Maggie 2 episodes
Medic Jane Agnes Caldwell Episode: "The Wild Intruder"
1954–1955 The Pepsi-Cola Playhouse Daughter / Nancy 3 episodes
Ford Television Theatre Angela / Nancy Carr 2 episodes
1954–1957 Lux Video Theatre Jenny / Christine Carroll Kimberly / Audrey O'Connor / Maureen O'Reilly 4 episodes
1954–1958 Climax! Janet Reese / Jan Michaels / Sally Jordan 4 episodes
1954–1960 General Electric Theater Debra Stone / Nora Douglas / Mrs. Eaton / Terry 5 episodes
1955 City Detective Carol Martin Episode: "Goodbye Old Paint"
Science Fiction Theatre Dr. Jan Corey Episode: "No Food for Thought"
The Millionaire Merle Roberts Episode: "The Merle Roberts Story"
Alfred Hitchcock Presents Elsa Spann Season 1 Episode 1: "Revenge"
Screen Directors Playhouse Ruth Dahlberg Episode: "Rookie of the Year"
The 20th Century Fox Hour Virginia Episode: "Man on the Ledge"
1956 Strange Stories Susan Harris Episode: "Such a Nice Little Girl"
G.E. Summer Originals Episode: "The Great Lady"
1957 Playhouse 90 Carolyn Cook Episode: "Panic Button"
1958 Studio 57 The Little Girl's Mother Episode: "Emergency Call"
Colgate Theatre Judy Gregory Episode: "Mr. Tutt"
1959 Riverboat Jeanette Mowbray Episode: "About Roger Mowbray"
Rawhide Helen Walsh Episode: "Incident at the Buffalo Smokehouse"
1959–1965 Wagon Train Anne Reed / Janice Stuart / Sister Rita 3 episodes
1960 Dick Powell's Zane Grey Theatre Jenny Breckenridge Episode: "Miss Jenny"
The Twilight Zone Millicent Barnes Episode: "Mirror Image"
Startime Jean Medwick Episode: "Incident at a Corner"
Laramie Anne Andrews Episode: "Three Rode West"
1961 The Asphalt Jungle Angela Walsh Episode: "The Lady and the Lawyer"
Frontier Circus Maureen McBride Episode: "Lippizan"
Checkmate Zoe Kamens Episode: "The Crimson Pool"
1962 The Detectives Lucy 2 episodes
Sam Benedict Midge Maddon Episode: "Maddon's Folly"
Route 66 Ellen Barnes Episode: "Where Is Chick Lorimer, Where Has She Gone?"
The Dick Powell Show Stella Calman Episode: "Crazy Sunday"
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Daphne Season 1 Episode 2: "Don't Look Behind You"
1962–1963 The Eleventh Hour Kate Sommers / Ann Costigan 2 episodes
1963 The Fugitive Monica Welles Episode: "Fear in a Desert City"
Arrest and Trial Jean Forbes Episode: "Isn't It a Lovely View"
Kraft Suspense Theatre Ann Ryker 2 episodes
The Fugitive Monica Welles Television film
1963–1970 The Virginian Amelia Ballard / Maggie Menken / Miss Wallace 3 episodes
Insight Lucy / Mme Bernice / Sister Lucy Anne / Marion / Maria 5 episodes
1964 The Unknown Kassia Paine Television film
The Outer Limits Kasha Paine Episode: "The Forms of Things Unknown"
Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Beth Episode: "The Sojourner"
Burke's Law Claudia Sutton Episode: "Who Killed the Horne of Plenty?"
The Hanged Man Lois Seeger Television film
1965 Slattery's People Lucy Hampton Episode: "Question: How Long Is the Shadow of a Man?"
Mr. Novak Sister Gervaise Episode: "There's a Penguin in My Garden"
My Three Sons Ernestine Coulter 3 episodes
I Spy Rachel Episode: "Affair in T'Sien Cha"
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour Nicky Revere Season 3 Episode 20: "Death Scene"
1966 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Madame Raine De Sala 2 episodes
ABC Stage 67 Adele Episode: "The People Trap"
1966–1971 Bonanza Mrs. April Christopher / Sarah Lowell 2 episodes
1967 Run for Your Life Rachel Pike Episode: "The Inhuman Predicament"
Off to See the Wizard Gypsy Queen Episode: "Gypsy Colt"
Judd, for the Defense Lydia Gray Episode: "Everyone Loved Harlan But His Wife"
1968 Journey to the Unknown June Wiley Episode: "Matakitas Is Coming"
1968–1970 The Name of the Game Hilary Vanderman / Tracy Cannon / Marisa Cummings 3 episodes
1968–1971 Ironside Gloria Campbell / Barbara Richards / Barbara Jones 3 episodes
1969 Journey to the Unknown June Wiley Television film ("Matakitas Is Coming" segment)
The F.B.I. Kate Burke Episode: "The Swindler"
Mannix Jean McBride S3-Episode 03: "Return to Summer Grove"
1970 Gunsmoke Dr. Sam McTavish Episode: "Sam McTavish, M.D."
Dan August Carla Episode: "When the Shouting Dies"
1970–1973 Marcus Welby, M.D. Janet Devaney / Helen Wagner 2 episodes
1970–1974 Medical Center Nora Crayton / Eva / Dr. Gloria Howell 4 episodes
1971 Hawaii Five-O Flora Whiting Episode: "Dear Enemy"
In Search of America Jenny Olson Television film
Cannon Diana Langston Television film
Alias Smith and Jones Belle Jordan Episode: "The Posse That Wouldn't Quit"
A Howling in the Woods Rose Staines Television film
1971–1973 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Nancy Hodges / Joan Baldwin 2 episodes
1972 Jigsaw Lilah Beth Cummings Television film
A Great American Tragedy Gloria Wilkes Television film
1972–1975 Cannon Vivian Cabe / Dr. Adams 2 episodes
1973 Baffled! Andrea Glenn Television film
Columbo Viveca Scott Episode: "Lovely But Lethal"
Runaway! Ellen Staffo Television film
1974 Live Again, Die Again Marcia Carmichael Television film
The Underground Man Eleanor Strom Television film
The Strange and Deadly Occurrence Christine Rhodes Television film
1975 The Wonderful World of Disney Kate Tannen Episode: "Wild Country: Part 2"
The Streets of San Francisco Catherine Wyatt Episode: "Men Will Die"
1976 Ellery Queen Celeste Wakefield Episode: "The Adventure of the Two-Faced Woman"
Movin' On Sheila Powers Episode: "Sing It Again, Sonny"
McNaughton's Daughter Grace Coventry Episode: "McNaughton's Daughter"
Judge Horton and the Scottsboro Boys Mrs. Horton Television film
State Fair Melissa Bryant Television film
Smash-Up on Interstate 5 Erica Television film
1977 Fire! Martha Wagner Television film
Barnaby Jones Diane Magnus Episode: "The Reincarnation"
1978 How the West Was Won Beth 2 episodes
Fantasy Island Martha Tate Episode: "Superstar/Salem"
The Runaways Joan Larkin Episode: "Lies We Live With"
And I Alone Survived Irene Elder Television film
1980 Buck Rogers in the 25th Century Tora Episode: "Flight of the War Witch"
Roughnecks Ida McBride Television film
1981 Our Family Business Patricia Television film
Magnum, P.I. Joan Gibson Episode: "Mad Buck Gibson"
1982 Mazes and Monsters Cat Wheeling Television film
1982–1984 The Love Boat Eve Springer / Arlene Kemper / Bess Hensinger 3 episodes
1983 Little House: A New Beginning Ruthy Leland Episode: "The Last Summer"
Trapper John, M.D. Liz Waleska Episode: "Blue Genes"
Travis McGee Julie Lawless Television film
1984 Helen Keller: The Miracle Continues Kate Keller Television film
Matt Houston Mary Haywood Episode: "The High Fashion Murders"
1984–1987 Hotel Ruth / Grace Harlan / Millie Broom / Teresa Clayborne 4 episodes
1985 Finder of Lost Loves Joanna Shaw Episode: "Deadly Silence"
International Airport Elaine Corley Television film
Crazy Like a Fox Georgina Episode: "Requiem for a Fox"
1985–1991 Murder, She Wrote Nancy Landon / Charmaine Calloway Thompson / Elizabeth Gates 3 episodes
1988 Simon & Simon Catherine Van Alder-Vicente Episode: "The Richer They Are the Harder They Fall"
1989 The Hijacking of the Achille Lauro Sophie Kubacki Television film


  1. ^ "Miles, Vera June". The Encyclopedia of Oklahoma History and Culture. Retrieved August 27, 2022.
  2. ^ "Miss Kansas 1948 - Vera (Miles) Ralston". Miss Kansas. Archived from the original on October 25, 2021. Retrieved December 22, 2014.
  3. ^ Frankel, Glenn (2014). The Searchers: The Making of an American Legend. New York: Bloomsbury Publishing. p. 260. ISBN 978-1-62040-065-4.
  4. ^ a b c d MacKenzie, Carina (June 29, 2010). "Vera Miles - Hollywood Star Walk". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  5. ^ Colonnese, Tom Grayson; Luhr, William; Brooks, James F.; Henderson, Brian; Grimsted, David (2004). The Searchers: Essays and Reflections on John Ford's Classic Western. Detroit, Michigan: Wayne State University Press. pp. 167, 173. ISBN 0-8143-3056-8.
  6. ^ Crowther, Bosley (May 19, 1956). "Screen: Foggy Mystery; Van Johnson Takes '23 Paces to Baker Street'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  7. ^ Weiler, A. H. (December 24, 1956). "Screen: New Format for Hitchcock; Suspense Is Dropped in 'The Wrong Man' Fonda Plays Title Role of Paramount Film Martin and Lewis Abbott and Costello". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  8. ^ Allen, Richard (2007). Hitchcock's Romantic Irony. Vol. 58. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 73. ISBN 978-0-231-13574-0.
  9. ^ Charlotte Chandler, It's Only A Movie: Alfred Hitchcock, a Personal Biography, Simon & Schuster, 2005, p. 237; ISBN 0-7432-4508-3
  10. ^ Harris, Robert A.; Lasky, Michael S. (2002). The Complete Films of Alfred Hitchcock. New York: Citadel Press Books. p. 202. ISBN 0-8065-2427-8.
  11. ^ Rothman, William (2014). Must We Kill the Thing We Love?: Emersonian Perfectionism and the Films of Alfred Hitchcock. New York: Columbia University Press. p. 112. ISBN 978-0-231-16602-7.
  12. ^ Leitch, Thomas; Poague, Leland (2011). A Companion to Alfred Hitchcock. Chichester: Wiley-Blackwell. p. 237. ISBN 978-1-4051-8538-7.
  13. ^ "I Spy". Retrieved June 16, 2024.
  14. ^ Crowther, Bosley (December 2, 1966). "The Screen: 'Follow Me, Boys! Opens:Fred MacMurray Is the Scoutmaster". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  15. ^ Weiler, A. H. (February 6, 1969). "Screen: 'Hellfighters':John Wayne Battles Burning Oil Wells". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  16. ^ Munn, Michael (2004). John Wayne: The Man Behind the Myth. London, England: Robson Publishing. pp. 294–295. ISBN 1-86105-722-9.
  17. ^ Arnold, Gary (June 7, 1983). "'Psycho II': A Travesty Masquerading as a Sequel". The Washington Post. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  18. ^ Hunter, Stephen (September 11, 1995). "'Separate Lives' plods through a predictable mystery formula, and yet ..." The Baltimore Sun. Retrieved December 22, 2016.
  19. ^ Weaver, Tom (June 28, 2010). It Came from Horrorwood: Interviews with Moviemakers in the SF and Horror Tradition. McFarland. p. 257. ISBN 978-0-7864-8216-0.
  20. ^ Pitts, Michael R. (April 17, 2015). RKO Radio Pictures Horror, Science Fiction and Fantasy Films, 1929-1956. McFarland. p. 328. ISBN 978-0-7864-6047-2.
  21. ^ Antonio, Lou (November 20, 2017). Cool Hand Lou: My Fifty Years in Hollywood and on Broadway. McFarland. p. 113. ISBN 978-1-4766-6815-4.
  22. ^ "Vera Miles's grandson Jordan Essoe met with Jessica Biel to discuss the film Hitchcock". Indiewire. Los Angeles, California: Penske Media Corporation. November 21, 2012. Retrieved September 24, 2014.
  23. ^ Woodbury, Lael J. (1972). "Mormonism and the Commercial Theatre" (PDF). Brigham Young University Studies. 12 (2): 240. JSTOR 43040431.
  24. ^ Skousen, Paul B. (2004). The Skousen Book of Mormon World Records and Other Amazing Firsts, Facts, and Feats. Cedar Fort. p. 85. ISBN 1555517811.
  25. ^ Motion Picture Magazine, Issue 549, November 1956. Page 27

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