Monday, April 14, 2008

Virginia Bruce - 'The Invisible Woman'

Universal Pictures is famous for its string of horror movies in the 1930s. Occasionally, there would be a comedic entry in that genre, and 1940's "The Invisible Woman" was one.

The movie was a science fiction comedy, based on the "Invisible Man" series, and starred John Barrymore as the inventor of a device that could render a person invisible. Virginia Bruce was the lovely young lady who was his test subject. This is a well-made comedy, and I consider it a classic.

Ms. Bruce was an actress who'd been in movies since the late 1920s, and even had some Broadway credits. She was quite active in movies in the 1930s and 1940s, and did some limited tv in the 1950s.

Ms. Bruce was a resident of the Motion Picture Country Home in Woodland Hills, California, when I called her in 1980. I asked the phone receptionist for Virginia Bruce, and she said "Do you mean Virginia Ipar?". I had to think for a second, and then remembered that was her last married name. My call was put through to her room, and she answered, sounding rather tired. I just wanted to tell her how much I liked her in "Invisible Woman" and a few other movies. She was appreciative, but was not in good health and did not want to continue the conversation. I asked if it would be ok to send her a photo for autographing, and she said it would be fine. I sent her this photo, which she signed and returned within two weeks. The photo is obviously from her earlier years, but was the best portrait I could obtain at the time.

Several years later, long after her death in 1982, I bought these portraits which are from the "Invisible Woman" era.

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