Childhood & Early Life
Vera Miles was born on 23 August 1929, in Boise City, Oklahoma, to Thomas and Bernice Ralston. She had three siblings. She spent her formative years in Pratt, Kansas and later moved to Wichita.
She started working as an operator typist during the night for Western Union and served breakfast during the day at the YMCA cafeteria. She simultaneously graduated from Wichita North High School in 1947.
She decided to enter a beauty contest when a manger of a modeling agency convinced her to do so. She won the contest and competed for Miss Wichita in 1948. She went on to win Miss Wichita and Miss Kansas later that year and participated in the Miss America pageant. She was the third-runner up in the contest.
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Vera Miles moved to Los Angeles in 1950 to carve a career in show business and ended up with minor roles in television series and films. She played a chorus girl in the musical, ‘Two Tickets to Broadway’ (1951). She decided to go by her husband’s surname, ‘Miles’, as there was another Vera Ralston in the industry at that time.
She later starred in the romantic comedy, ‘The Rose Bowl Story’, her first credited role. Her next movie was ‘The Charge at Feather River’ (1953), in which she played Jennie McKeever, a woman held captive by Indians.
In 1955, she was paired opposite Gordon Scott in ‘Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle’ and she played Tarzan’s love interest. She was under the contract of Warner Bros. at this stage. She had also appeared in the pilot episode of the TV series, ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’, as an emotionally trouble bride.
In 1956, Miles played the female lead in John Ford’s western, ‘The Searchers’. Her other movies in this year include ’23 Paces to Baker Street’ and ‘The Wrong Man’, which was directed by Alfred Hitchcock. She was awarded a five-year contract deal with Hitchcock after this movie and was publicized as Grace Kelly’s successor.
She was scheduled to be a part of ‘Vertigo’ but productional delays and her subsequent pregnancy resulted in her losing the role to Kim Novak. Owing to its unfavorable response at the box office, Hitchcock decided to continue working with Miles.
In what would be a career-defining role for her, Miles was roped in to play Lila Crane in Hitchcock’s ‘Psycho’ in 1960. She played a woman in search of her missing sister (played by Janet Leigh) who has a horrifying encounter with Norman Bates (played by Anthony Perkins).
At the start of 1962, she returned to John Ford’s productions and starred in the film, ‘The Man Who Shot Liberty Valence’. She was a regular on a television series as well. She played Annie Andrews in the 1960s series, ‘Laramie.’ She also appeared in ‘The Twilight Zone’ and the western series, ‘Riverboat’.
She later was included in two episodes of ‘The Alfred Hitchcock Hour’ in 1962 and 1965, respectively. Throughout the 1960s, she regularly appeared on TV series, including ‘The Fugitive’ and guest starred in ‘The Outer Limits’, ‘The Eleventh Hour’, ‘The Man from U.N.C.L.E’, ‘Burke’s Law’, and ‘Ironside’.
In 1965, she acted in three episodes as a supporting character in the series, ‘My Three Sons’. In the same year, she acted with Bill Cosby in the TV series, ‘I Spy’. She also guest-starred on ‘Rawhide’ with Clint Eastwood before she returned to Walt Disney Studio.
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Miles featured in several other films, including Walt Disney’s ‘Follow Me, Boys!’ (1966) and ‘Hellfighters’ (1968). She was also a cast in the movie, ‘The Green Berets’ but her scenes were decided to be shelved by Warner Bros. as they wanted more action in the film.
Her performances in the 1970s were equally varied and abundant, including her role as an ex-girlfriend of the investigator in the TV series, ‘Cannon’; she made two guest appearances later in the series. Her other works include ‘Columbo’, ‘Hawaii Five-O’, ‘The Streets of San Francisco’ and ‘Fantasy Island.’
She was signed to the play the wife of the U.S. President in ‘Twilight’s Last Gleaming’ in 1977, but the director Robert Aldrich had to cut her scenes as he deemed the film to be too long.
Miles returned to the role that made her famous, Lila Crane, in the sequel ‘Psycho II’ in 1983. She was one of the two stars from the original film who were part of the second installment. The movie was directed by Australian director Richard Franklin.
Her appearances in movies and TV series continued to remain steady in the early 1980s and gradually decreased later. She had to her name the movies, ‘Brainwaves’ (1982), ‘The Initiation’ (1984) and ‘Into the Night’ (1985).
Her TV appearances in the 1980s include various episodes in ‘The Love Boat’ (1982-1984) and ‘Hotel (1984-1987). She also made three guest appearances in the TV series ‘Murder, She Wrote’. Her last appearance in this series marked the final role she played on television.
Her last silver screen appearance was in the film, ‘Separate Lives’ in 1995. She retired after this.
Family & Personal Life
Vera Miles has been married four times. Her first husband Bob Miles, a stuntman and a minor actor, moved along with her to Los Angeles, and she took his surname. They were married from 1948 to 1954 and had two daughters, Debra and Kelly.
She met her second husband, actor Gordon Scott, when she was shooting for ‘Tarzan’s Hidden Jungle,’ and they married in 1956. They had a son from this marriage, Michael. The couple separated and ended their relationship in 1960.
Miles married the director and actor, Keith Larsen, in 1960. They have a son together called, Erik Larsen. The couple divorced in 1971.
She married director Robert Jones in 1973 and has remained with him since. She currently lives in Palm Desert, California. She avoids making any public experiences and does not grant any interview requests. However, she is said to actively correspond with her fanbase.