Virginia Gregg (March 6, 1916 – September 15, 1986) was an American actress best known for her many roles in radio dramas and television series. Born in Harrisburg in Saline County in southeastern Illinois, she was the daughter of musician Dewey Alphaleta (née Todd) and businessman Edward William Gregg.
Gregg was a prolific radio actress, heard on such programs as The Adventures of Sam Spade, Dragnet, Dr. Kildare, Gunsmoke, The Jack Benny Program, Let George Do It, Lux Radio Theatre, One Man's Family, Yours Truly, Johnny Dollar and The Screen Guild Theater.
On the radio series Have Gun–Will Travel (starring John Dehner as Paladin), Gregg portrayed Miss Wong (the girlfriend of Hey Boy), and also appeared in very different roles in the concurrent television series with Richard Boone. She played Richard Diamond's girlfriend, the wealthy Helen Asher, on the radio series Richard Diamond, Private Detective (starring Dick Powell as Diamond). She later guest starred in an episode of the television version of Richard Diamond, starring David Janssen.
Beginning with Body and Soul (1947), Gregg made more than 45 films, including Spencer's Mountain and I'll Cry Tomorrow.
in Wanted Dead or Alive
On television. Gregg portrayed Mary Surratt, the woman hanged for conspiracy in the assassination of Abraham Lincoln, in the 1956 episode "The Mary Surratt Case" of NBC anthology series, The Joseph Cotten Show.
Gregg made three appearances on the CBS television series Alfred Hitchcock Presents and the syndicated Rod Cameron series, State Trooper. She also guest starred in the religion anthology series, Crossroads and in the drama series about a Roman Catholic priest in New York City, Going My Way, starring Gene Kelly.
In 1957, Gregg was cast as Martha Naylor in the episode "Gallows at Granite Gap" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series, Colt .45, with John Smith as the notorious outlaw, The Comanche Kid and Stuart Randall, later like Smith a regular on NBC's Laramie, as Sheriff Pat Monohan. The child actor Ken Osmond appeared in this episode as Tommy.
Gregg was cast in 1958 as Judge Banks in the episode "We, the Jury" of the CBS situation comedy, Mr. Adams and Eve. She appeared that year as well in the episode "Postmarked for Death" (1958) of the western series, Tombstone Territory and in an episode of NBC's Jefferson Drum; both programs feature crusading newspapermen in the Old West. In 1959, Gregg appeared as Zina in the episode "The Meeting" of Bruce Gordon's short-lived NBC docudrama, Behind Closed Doors.
In 1960, Gregg appeared with Chubby Johnson in the roles of Julie and Jessie Turnbull in the episode, "The Last Days of Jessie Turnbull", of the ABCwestern series, The Man from Blackhawk, starring Robert Rockwell as a roving insurance investigator.
In the 1961-1962 television season, Gregg provided the voice of Maggie Bell in the ABC cartoon series, Calvin and the Colonel. In 1961, she was cast as Emily Stevens in the episode "Paperback Hero" of the ABC western series, The Rebel, starring Nick Adams. In 1961, she guest starred as Vivian Lambert in the episode "Discreet Deception" on NBC's anthology series, The Barbara Stanwyck Show.
In 1962 she made two appearances on CBS's Gunsmoke. That same year, she portrayed Georgine in the episode "The All-American Boy" of the ABC crime drama, The New Breed, with Leslie Nielsen. In 1963, Gregg was cast as Mrs. Austin in "A House in Order" of NBC's modern western drama series, Empire. That same year, she was cast as separate characters in two episodes of NBC's The Eleventh Hour, a program about psychiatry. She appeared in an episode ("Three Men from Now"; 1965) of The Legend of Jesse James. In 1958 Gregg played Hilda Stone in the Christmas episode ("The Eight-Cent Reward") of Wanted: Dead or Alive as well as a witch in "The Healing Woman" in the same series the following year, both opposite Steve McQueen . Gregg appeared in three episodes of Maverick, "Day of Reckoning" with James Garner in 1958, "Pappy" with Garner and Jack Kelly in 1959, and "The Ice Man" with Kelly in 1961. She appeared in practically every narrative television series in the late '50s through the early '70s, including Bourbon Street Beat, Hawaiian Eye, 77 Sunset Strip, The Rockford Files, The Virginian, Wagon Train, Make Room for Daddy, Philip Marlowe, My Favorite Martian, and Bonanza. In 1959, 1963 and 1964, she guest starred on Rawhide in the episodes "Incident of the Misplaced Indians", "Incident of the Comancheros" and "Incident of the Banker". In 1964, she played "Mrs. Bronson" in an episode ("Confounding Her Astronomers") of Breaking Point.
Gregg may be best remembered for Dragnet. Jack Webb utilized her in dozens of roles on both radio and TV versions of the show as well as the Dragnet 1954 movie where she played the role of Ethel Starkie. In later years, she appeared on other shows produced by Webb's production company, Mark VII Limited (e.g., Adam-12, Emergency!). Gregg also played non-recurring character roles in four episodes of the long-running CBS series Perry Mason, including the title role in the 1958 episode, "The Case of the Cautious Coquette." Also in the TV series The Rebel, Paperback Hero.
Gregg supplied the voice of "Mrs. Bates" in Psycho as did Jeanette Nolan and Paul Jasmin, all uncredited. Only Gregg did the voice in the sequels Psycho II and Psycho III. She voiced "Tarra" on the 1967 animated TV series, The Herculoids. She reprised that role when the series was revived in 1981 as part of the Space Stars animated series.
Virginia Gregg died from lung cancer in Encino, California, aged 70; she was survived by her three sons: Gregg, Jaime and Ricardo del Valle.