Virginia Patton Moss, last surviving adult actor in ‘It’s a Wonderful Life,’ dead at 97

Virginia Patton Moss, who was the final surviving adult cast member of the Christmas movie classic, “It’s a Wonderful Life,” died Thursday in Albany, Georgia, according to her obituary. She was 97.

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Moss, a niece of Gen. George Patton, died at The Phoenix at Albany, an assisted living facility, Mathews Funeral Home announced.

Known by her maiden name during her acting career, Moss played Ruth Dakin Bailey, the sister-in-law of George Bailey, portrayed by James Stewart in the holiday film, Variety reported.

Karolyn Grimes, who was a child actor in the Frank Capra classic, posted a tribute to Moss on her personal Facebook page.

“We have another angel! Virginia Patton Moss. She was 97 years old,” Grimes wrote. “She is now with her beloved Cruse. She will be missed!”

Several of the child actors in “It’s a Wonderful Life,” including Grimes, are still alive.

Virginia Ann Patton was born in Cleveland on June 25, 1925, according to The Hollywood Reporter. She grew up in Portland, Oregon, and graduated from Jefferson High School in 1942.

After moving to Los Angeles, Moss signed with Warner Bros. and made her film debut in the 1943 movie, “Thank Your Lucky Stars,” according to The Hollywood Reporter. Moss appeared in the film while she was a student at the University of Southern California, where she acted in plays, Variety reported.

She also appeared in “Janie” (1944), “Hollywood Canteen” (1944) and “The Horn Blows at Midnight” (1945), according to

Moss’ big scene in “It’s a Wonderful Life” comes when her husband, Harry Bailey (Todd Karns) introduces her as his wife to George Bailey (Stewart) and Uncle Billy (Thomas Mitchell).

Because “It’s a Wonderful Life” is a Christmas staple, Moss once joked that, “I’ve probably been in more homes than even Santa Claus.”

Moss acted in four more films, including lead roles in the 1947 movie, “The Burning Cross,” and the 1948 western, “Black Eagle,” before retiring from acting, Variety reported. Her final screen credit was in the 1949 comedy, “The Lucky Stiff,” according to

She married Cruse W. Moss in 1949, according to Variety; he died in 2018. The couple moved to Ann Arbor, Michigan, and raised three children. Moss served as a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art.