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'It's a Wonderful Life' Actress Recalls Classic Film Role

Virginia Patton of Michigan, who portrayed Ruth Dakin Bailey in 'It's a Wonderful Life,' appeared recently near Detroit.

Giving up a promising career in Hollywood to start a family might be a difficult choice for a talented young actress, but for Virginia Patton, the decision paved the way for a wonderful life away from the limelight.

Patton, now 86, portrayed Ruth Dakin Bailey in the 1946 Frank Capra classic It’s a Wonderful Life, starring alongside such screen legends as James Stewart and Donna Reed at just 20 years old. But she left acting soon after to move to Ann Arbor, Mich., to pursue a family with husband Cruse W. Moss, a successful automotive executive.

Patton, of Dexter, and Moss appeared together recently at the historic Penn Theatre in downtown Plymouth, Mich., for a screening of It’s a Wonderful Life, where the former actress signed autographs and posed for photographs with fans.

Patton, who currently serves as a docent at the University of Michigan Museum of Art and is involved in other local organizations, said she has no second thoughts about leaving acting to start her family.

Editor's Note: The full article originally appeared in Plymouth-Canton Patch.

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