December 31, 1918 – Actress and Disney Legend Virginia Davis is Born
“One of my favorite pictures was Alice’s Wild West Show. I was always the kid with the curls, but I was really a tomboy, and that picture allowed me to act tough. I took great joy in that.”
On December 31, 1918, actress Virginia Davis was born in Kansas City, Missouri. Starting at the tender age of two, Davis began taking acting and dance lessons, and began starring in advertisements at age three. A young Walt Disney discovered Davis in an advertisement for Warneke’s Bread, and talked Davis’ mother into letting Davis star in a series of short films featuring a live-action girl in a cartoon world. She shot the pilot film, called Alice’s Wonderland. After the Laugh-O-Gram studio failed and Disney moved to Los Angeles, he called the Davis family and convinced them to move to California, and Davis continued to star in the Alice comedies for 13 more films. She did audition for voices in Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs and Pinocchio, but was not hired.
After her work at Disney, Davis continued to act in films, including Three on a Match and The Harvey Girls. She earned a degree from the New York School of Interior Design, and later had a successful career as a real estate agent. She has continued to make appearances at special Disney events, including Disneyana events at the parks. Davis was honored as a Disney Legend in 1988, being considered Walt’s first star. She passed away at the age of 90 in 2009.