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Vera Ralston
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    (circa July 12, 1919-February 9, 2003)
    Born in Prague, Czech Republic
    Birth name was Vera Hruba
    Figure skater
    Silver medalist at the 1936 Winter Olympics
    Appeared in the films 'The Lady and the Monster' (1943), 'Storm Over Lisbon' (1944), 'Dakota' (1945), 'The Fighting Kentuckian' (1949), 'Hoodlum Empire' (1952), 'Fair Wind to Java' (1953) and 'The Notorious Mr. Monks' (1958)
    Nicknamed 'The Queen of Republic Studios'
    She claimed birth years ranging from 1919 to 1923.
    She started smoking at age 13.
    She took her stage name from the Ralston cereal company.
    She made her films for Republic Studios, which, coincidentally, was owned by her husband, Herbert Yates.
    Yates was 40 years her senior.
    She was usually cast as an immigrant since she never lost her accent.
    At the 1936 Olympics, Hitler asked if she would like to 'skate for the swastika.' She responded, 'I'd rather skate on the swastika.'
    She and her mother escaped Czechoslovakia on the last plane to leave Prague before the Nazis took over.
    To convince John Wayne to star with her in 'Dakota,' Yates offered him a percentage of the profits from 'The Wake of the Red Witch,' making Wayne a millionaire.
    She stayed with Yates after he was fired from Republic.

Credit: C. Fishel

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