Friday, July 01, 2005

Underappreciated Child Actor # 1: Virginia Weidler

Have you noticed that all of VH1's and E!'s "new" summer programing is basically rewarmed footage from the vaults? The "new" E! True Hollywood Story of Lindsay is a big load; there is *nothing* new here, except perhaps a few extra shots of her crazy mama defending her child's partying because poor Lindz isn't in college experiencing that whole developmental stage that is *totally* dependent on attending frat parties. Poor Lindsay! You keep partying sweetie!

But we digress . . .Our point is that in all the "new" summer countdowns of child stars, many of our very favorites are ommitted. So we feel it is our duty to fill in the gaps. Yes, dear reader, we really do care about you.

Virginia Weidler and fluff

One of our favorite moments in all of cinema features the charming and adorable Virginia Weidler.

The scene is from the star-studded The Philadelphia Story; it's when tabloid reporter/ photographer duo (James Stewart and Ruth Hussey) first arrive at the family manse (they are there to spy on socialite Tracy Lord's (Hepburn's) wedding). While they are waiting to be received, Virgina, who plays Katherine Hepburn's little sister, twirls into the room in a tutu, perches precociously at the piano, and starts singing "Lydia, oh Lydia" in the most hilarious way. The joke continues when Hepburn enters and the two speak in the most affected French, leaving the tabloid reporters to assume they have truly enetered biazzaro land. Despite sharing the screen with two giants, Weilder holds her own and (we think) basically steals the scene. Every segment she is in is truly lovable.

a younger Ginny with a younger fluff

She also appeared in another of our favorites, The Women (also directed by George Kukor). She's smart, sassy, straightforward and so completely watchable and so absolutely un-saccharine that she never makes us cringe. Of all the real live child actors we can think of, she is the only one who could have played a live-action version of a Miyazaki heroine. She makes us miss our little sisters.

Unfortunately, Virginia died early (at age 42) from a heart condition. She didn't do much after adolescence, so pictures of her post-puberty have been hard to find. But
you can see more photos of Virginia here. And of course, you can go watch her movies.

BTW: the dog in the top photo, a still from the movie Bad Little Angel, is the same dog who played Toto.

1 comment:

nhennies said...

Oddly enough, we just saw "Philadelphia Story" down at the Paramount on Friday night. I had never seen it before and it is, of course, outstanding. But then I love anything with Jimmy Stewart.