Vera Miles (born 1929) is an American actress.
She moved to Los Angeles in 1950 and appeared in a number of minor television and film roles before coming to the attention of director Alfred Hitchcock when she played the role of the traumatised wife in "Revenge", one of the early episodes filmed for the first season of Alfred Hitchcock Presents. Hitchcock was so impressed with Miles that the episode replaced "Breakdown" as the début episode of the series.
By 1957, Miles had signed a five-year contract with Hitchcock, starred alongside Henry Fonda in The Wrong Man (1956) and was preparing to play to the lead role of Madeleine Elster in Vertigo (1958) opposite James Stewart. A series of delays postponed the film moving into production and, according to producer Herbert Coleman, when Hitchcock was rushed to hospital in March 1957 with gallstones and the new start date became June, she telephoned to Coleman to say she would be too pregnant by then to play the role.
Although her pregnancy became the official reason for Miles being replaced by Kim Novak, author Dan Auiler has claimed that both Hitchcock and Stewart had expressed reservations about her ability to play the role as early as November 1956 and that Novak was being seriously considered as an alternative.
Despite remaining under contract, Miles only worked with Hitchcock on one other project — playing the role of Lila Crane in Psycho (1960), which required her to wear a wig as she recently shaved her hair for the film Five Branded Women (1960). As a coda, Miles appeared as the screaming woman in the shower in the trailer for the film.
Alfred Hitchcock Presents...
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents - Revenge (02/Oct/1955) — cast: Elsa Spann
The Alfred Hitchcock Hour...
- The Alfred Hitchcock Hour - Don't Look Behind You (27/Sep/1962) — cast: Daphne
- The Alfred Hitchcock Hour - Death Scene (08/Mar/1965) — cast: Nicky Revere
- Startime - Incident at a Corner (05/Apr/1960) — cast: Jean Medwick
- Psycho II (1983) — cast: Lila Loomis
Selection of film frames: Vera Miles (click image to view larger version or refresh thumbnails)...
- born Vera June Ralston on 23/Aug/1929 in Boise City, Oklahoma
- 1948 to actor/stuntman Bob Miles — divorced 1954
- 1954 to actor Gordon Scott — divorced 1959
- 1960 to actor Keith Larsen — divorced 1971
Notes & References
- Alfred Hitchcock: A Life in Darkness and Light (2003) by Patrick McGilligan, chapter 13.
- The Man Who Knew Hitchcock: A Hollywood Memoir (2007) by Herbert Coleman, chapter on Vertigo.
- Vertigo: The Making of a Hitchcock Classic (1998) by Dan Auiler, pages 20-23. Hitchcock watched a screening of The Eddy Duchin Story, starring Novak and Tyrone Power, on October 25th 1956.
- AHMP, chapter 6 ("Casting").