Vera Ralston

  1. Joan O’Brien, The Alamo, 1959.   
    John Wayne’s pet project… While still at Republic Pictures, his boss, Herbert J Yates, agreed to finance it as long as his wife, the ex-Vera Hruba, co-starred. No way! An ex-Olympic ice-skater from Czechoslovakia, she was a star on ice, not on screen. She had a thick accent and no acting talent. Longtime Republic director Joseph Kane said she spoke all of her lines phonetically… without having any idea of what she was actually saying.  In an interview, another Republic helmer Joseph Kane said that director George Sherman found working with star Vera Ralston so taxing that after this film, The Lady and the Monster, 1943, was completed he quit Republic – where he had spent many years – because he thought he was going to be asked to direct another one of her pictures. Yates killed his famed B-movie empire by putting her into pricey A-pictures, 26 in all – only those featuring Wayne turned a profit. This explains why Duke never directed his dream film for another 13 years. To spite him, Yates even lavished a colossal $2,193,939 on his own Alamo film, The Lost Command, 1954 – minus Vera! Wayne used the same left-over sets in Brackettville, Texas.  Chat show king Johnny Carson once asked Maureen Stapleton what she did to off-set a bad performace. Find a Ralston movie on TV, she said. “Because no matter how bad a performance I may have given, I could never be as bad as she was!” (Vera Ralston happens to be the real name of Hitchcock find, Vera Miles!)

 Birth year: 1923Death year: 2003Other name: Casting Calls:  1