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Born: 5 March 1920 (Stanton, Iowa, USA)
Died: 24 July 1996 (Los Angeles, California, USA)
Cause of Death: Heart problems
Film and TV appearances: 167+
Years Active: 1943 - 1979
Not as a Stranger (1955)
Virginia Christine Ricketts (later Kraft after her father died and her mother remarried) was born 5 March 1920. Her early years were spent in various towns and counties in Iowa. Her family later moved to California, where she attended the University of California Los Angeles (UCLA). During her college years, she worked in radio and trained for a theatrical career with actor/director Fritz Feld. She also trained as a concert pianist and lyric soprano
In 1940 she married Feld (who was 20 years her senior) and two years later made her stage debut in the play Hedda Gabler (as Hedda) in Los Angeles. After appearing in a number of plays, Warner Brothers offered her a movie contract and she changed her last name from Kraft to Christine.
It was during the war, and they thought Kraft was too Teutonic and they said I would be compared to Kraft cheese if I were bad.— Virginia Christine
Judgement at Nuremberg (1961)
Virginia Christine made her film debut in Edge of Darkness (1943), which starred Errol Flynn and Ann Sheridan.
Some of the films she appeared in were The Mummy's Curse (1944); Phantom of the Plains (1945); The Killers (1946); The Gangster (1947); Women in the Night (1948); Special Agent (1949); Woman They Almost Lynched (1953); Dragnet (1954); The Cobweb (1955); The Killer is Loose (1956); Johnny Tremain (1957); 4 for Texas (1963); A Rage to Live (1965); In Enemy Country (1968); and Hail, Hero (1969).
Director Stanley Kramer was so impressed by her that he had her appear in a number of his films including Cyrano de Bergerac (1950), High Noon (1952), Not as a Stranger (1955) - where she voice coached Olivia De Havilland for a Swedish accent, Judgement at Nuremberg (1961), and Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967).
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner (1967)
For most of her acting career she appeared in numerous television shows including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Studio 57, State Trooper, Wanted: Dead or Alive, The Loretta Young Show, Rawhide, The Rifleman, Tales of Wells Fargo, The Untouchables, Perry Mason, Ben Casey, Bonanza, The Fugitive, Gunsmoke, Wagon Train, The F.B.I., Ironside and Kojak.
Her most famous role was that of Mrs. Olson in the Folger's coffee. For 21 years (from 1965) she appeared in over 100 commercials that were popular and parodied by many comedians and entertainers. She often remarked about the warm responses she received from those who had seen her ads and considered it a perk.
I used to buy whatever was on sale. Now it is always Folger's. Think, what would happen at the checkout counter if I bought something else.— Virginia Christine
After retiring from acting in 1979 she worked as a volunteer for Planned Parenthood. She and her husband lived for many years in the town of Brentwood, Los Angeles where later they both became honorary mayors. For many years, she also served as the judge for the Kennedy Center American College Theater Festival.
Her marriage to Feld lasted for 53 years (he died in 1993) and they had two children. Virginia spoke four languages fluently - English, French, Swedish and German which allowed her take to on many roles that involved accents. She died in her sleep (cardiovascular disease) on 24 July 1996.
Judgement at Nuremberg
Virginia Christine played Mrs. Halbestadt in this movie.