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Vera Ralston (Věra Helena Hrubá)

Vera Ralston

Vera Ralston was born Věra Helena Hrubá to a wealthy jeweler in Prague, Czechoslovakia. Her age was uncertain; Ralston at various times gave 1919, 1920, 1921, and 1923 as her year of birth. Her brother was Rudy Ralston, who later became a film producer in the United States. As a figure skater, she represented Czechoslovakia in competition under her birth name Věra Hrubá. She competed at the 1936 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 15th. Later that season, she competed at the 1936 Winter Olympics, where she placed 17th. During the games, she personally met and insulted Adolf Hitler. Hitler asked her if she would like to “skate for the swastika.” As she later recalled, “I looked him right in the eye, and said that I’d rather skate on the swastika. The Führer was furious.” Vera Ralston competed at the 1937 European Figure Skating Championships and placed 7th. She emigrated to the United States in the early 1940s and became a naturalized citizen in 1946. Vera Ralston moved to Hollywood with her mother and signed a contract in 1943 with Republic Pictures. During her career she was known as Vera Hrubá Ralston and later Vera Ralston. She normally played an immigrant girl, because of her limited English skills. Among the 26 films Ralston starred in were Storm Over Lisbon with Erich von Stroheim (1944), Dakota (1945), I, Jane Doe (1948) with Ruth Hussey and John Carrol, The Fighting Kentuckian with John Wayne (1949), A Perilous Journey with David Brian (1953), and Fair Wind to Java with Fred MacMurray (1953). She retired from films in 1958. Reportedly only 2 of her 20 films made money.

In 1952 Vera Ralston married Republic studio head Herbert Yates. Yates was nearly 40 years her senior, and had left his wife and children to be with Ralston. Yates used his position to obtain roles for Ralston, and at one point was sued by studio shareholders for using company assets to promote his wife. Yates died in 1966, leaving his $8 million estate to Ralston.[6] She suffered a nervous breakdown shortly thereafter, then remarried and lived quietly in southern California. She died on February 9, 2003, in Santa Barbara, California, after a long battle with cancer. For her work in films, Ralston has a star in the Hollywood Walk of Fame. The authors of the book The Golden Turkey Awards nominated her for the dubious honor of “The Worst Actress of All Time,” along with Candice Bergen and Mamie Van Doren. They all lost to Raquel Welch.


More Images

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  • 662full-vera-ralston -


  • July, 12, 1919
  • Prague. Czechoslovakia


  • February, 09, 2003
  • USA
  • Santa Barbara, California

Cause of Death

  • cancer


  • Santa Barbara Cemetery
  • Santa Barbara, California
  • USA

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