Virginia Hewitt was an incredibly beautiful model who never made it in Hollywood. Same old same old? Yes, but she was one of the few lucky ones who got their big break on TV, landing a role in a highly popular series of the 1950s, and later branched into other venues.
Virginia Hewitt was born on November 28, 1925, in Shreveport, Louisiana to Leland James Hewitt and Ethel Roloson. She was the youngest of three children: her older sister Etheda was born in 1920, her older brother, James, in 1923.
The family moved quite a bit during her childhood, and were living in Ada, Pontotoc, Oklahoma in 1930. They moved to rural Missouri in the mid 1930s, and by 1940, they were living in Louisiana, Pike, Missouri, where Virginia attended high school.
A stunningly beautiful girl with a perfectly sculpted face and an elegant bearing, it was no surprise that she chose to become a model. She started modeling upon graduation, and moved to Kansas City, Missouri. She dabbled as an actress in small theatrical production on the side. It was during ashow that a talent scout approached Virginia and asked her to try her hand in Tinsel Town. In 1947, she and her sister left for Hollywood.
Although she was uncredited in My Dear Secretary, Virginia actually had a decent role in it, appearing in about three scenes and her character actually had at least a marginal importance in the film. Virginia was so beautiful that my breath stopped when the camera followed the contours her face – so perfectly sculpted, like a Venus statue!
Anyway, My Dear secretary is a nicely done, funny battle of the sexes comedy with some great acting bits. The star of the movie are not the leads (although they are “very much” charming), but Keenan Wynn, who has all the best one liners and delivers them with a impeccable comic timing. The man is a genius, to put in succinctly.
It was that role that brought her to the attention of producer Mike Moser, who was about to bring a space adventure to the small screen. Soon, she was signed to appear on Space Patrol, her claim to fame. Virginia played Carol Karlyle, daughter of the Secretary General of the United Planets who, when she wasn’t helping Corey (portrayed by World War II flier Ed Kemmer) battle an assortment of evil-doers in the 30th Century, was trying to lure him into matrimony. It remains by far her most popular role.
The series opened a few new doors for her, both in movies and TV. She appeared in The Flying Saucer, a low budget, very trashy B class 1950s SF about flying saucers in Alaska. Need I say more? This movie was not meant to be a good one, and of course it’s not even close to being one. This mind numbing feast is not for those who want some quality entertainment. Virginia has a small role at that, so it’s not even worth watching to see her pretty face.
Bowery Battalion, featuring the Bowery brothers, is a much better fare, and a real example of how low budget movies can actually turn good despite the lack of funding. The People Against O’Hara, a solid Spencer Tracy movie, was her last foray into Hollywood.
Virginia got married and quit acting for the time being. She only had a brief foray into episodic roles in the UK in the early 1970s – The Guardians, Thirty-Minute Theatre and Adam Smith are mostly forgotten series today. Virginia never acted after that.
Unlike many starlets, Virginia was not a newspaper staple in the late 1940s when she crashed Hollywood, and got no media recognition whatsoever until her Space Patrol days. There is little information about her in the papers and just a few photos.
As far as her talents go, Virginia was an amateur writer who wrote articles and even got published several times in some papers and magazines. Her true dream when she came to the West coast was to become an writer first and actress second.
Virginia was described several times by her co stars as a ladylike, elegant woman who was nice to everybody, but always at a distance, not too friendly, with a touch of an ice queen about her. Her cool blonde looks complimented that image well.
Virginia started dating her Space Patrol co star, Lyn Osborne, in early 1952. Osborne was often connected to other actresses in the media (he dated Piper Laurie, Rita Moreno, Barbara Withing, model Christine Marlowe and the list goes on) but Virginia was his one true lady love. He fell like a ton of bricks for her.
Yet, the story did not continue the as one would expect. Instead of getting married to Lyn, Virginia met and was swept of her feet by Ernest Meer, a Viennese born architect working as interior designer for the rich and famous Californians. Virginia soon left Lyn to be with Ernst – Lyn took the blow extra hard. There was some tension on the set due to this – Lyn verbally lashing out on her and Virginia hiding behind her cool exterior to hide the distress. Luckily, they managed a more or less a professional front and the filming continued without a hitch after the first few tiffs.
Despite the bitter sweet ending of their relationship, Virginia cared deeply for Lyn for the rest of her days, saving all of his love letters, notes and photos of them together in a special memory box. Eventually they resumed their friendship, and she was devastated upon his early death in 1958 (after an unsuccessful operation).
She and Meer married on December 31, 1953, and she used the artistic talent to help him in business. The two then began to design some of the better-known chandeliers around Los Angeles, including the spectacular one in the Cecil B. DeMille Room at the old Hollywood Brown Derby. They owned the world famous Courant showroom.
Virginia and Meer divorced in the 1970s. Virginia never married again, and lived for a brief time in the UK before returning to Los Angeles. Meer married Patricia V. Font in 1981, divorced her in 1985, and married Irina K Maleeva in 1985.
Virginia Hewitt Meer died on July 21, 1986, in Los Angeles, California from cancer. Meer died in 1987.