Back to prior page

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Virginia Herrick

Full name: Virginia Leah Herrick

1916 - 2016

A pretty lady who arrived in Hollywood during the closing days of the B western and serial was Virginia Herrick. She was born in Washington state in 1916.

Virginia made about a half-dozen westerns: one each with Whip Wilson and Johnny Mack Brown at Monogram; a solo effort with Allan 'Rocky' Lane at Republic Pictures; and one with Al 'Lash' LaRue at producer Ron Ormond's Western Adventure films.

Virginia also played opposite former Hopalong Cassidy sidekick James Ellison in I KILLED GERONIMO (Eagle-Lion, 1950), and was the female lead in the cliffhanger, ROAR OF THE IRON HORSE (Columbia, 1951), which starred superb stuntman Jock Mahoney (who was a later Tarzan and the step-dad to screen actress Sally Field). She also appeared in early cowboy TVers such as COWBOY G-MEN, which starred Russell Hayden and Jackie Coogan.

Virginia passed away on January 29, 2016 in Provo, Utah.

Dick Madigan provided the following information on Virginia Herrick:

"Virginia has always felt that God was her agent. She did not seek a screen career, rather, it came out of the blue!

Returning home to Hollywood in 1950 to care for her ill mother following a successful run as a model for the Harry Conover Agency in New York City, Virginia needed a job.  A few days after her return, she was approached by a man claiming to be an agent for movie actors.  Her modeling days had trained her to be on the lookout for mashers and, at first, she was suspicious.  But he turned out to be legitimate and Virginia was employed steadily as 'one of the girls' in B-Westerns for the next three years.

In 1952, while on an interview for another part, she met Omar V. Garrison, a handsome gentleman who had been a war correspondent during World War II and was currently a syndicated columnist for the Los Angeles Times-Mirror Company.  Omar fell for her like the proverbial 'ton of bricks' and they dated regularly.  In the course of their dating, Virginia told Omar of her dream to sing in opera.  (She was an excellent pianist and had a remarkable coloratura soprano voice.)  Omar said he was being transferred to Cinecitta in Rome, Italy and how would she like to study voice while he did his column?

That did it!  They were married and moved to Italy where Virginia went from Horse Opera to Grand Opera ... and never looked back."

Dick Madigan
October, 1999

Virginia was a guest star at the Asheville, NC Film Festival on November 11-13, 1999, and this was her first film festival appearance.  She writes:

"I made my B-Westerns so long ago and for such a short time that I had almost forgotten them. I had only seen one picture, I KILLED GERONIMO. Then I discovered that my films were listed on the Internet Movie Database and most were still available. As I started to obtain them, I found that they were still popular and were being collected by many people. Then came my invitation to the Asheville film Festival. It was the experience of a lifetime for me and I want to thank everyone who was so wonderful and supportive to me in Asheville."

Virginia Herrick
November 26, 1999

  Although some of the data is incomplete or inaccurate, the Internet Movie Database (IMDB) has information on Virginia Herrick:

Obituary for Virginia Leah Herrick Garrison:

Jim Tipton's Find A Grave website notes that Virginia Herrick is interred at Cedar City Cemetery, Cedar City, Iron County, Utah:

Virginia Herrick was born in Washington. The Family Search website (free) and (subscription) have info on her and family:

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above - Virginia and Whip Wilson during her work on SILVER RAIDERS (Monogram, 1950).  Virginia remembers Wilson constantly practicing with his whip between takes.

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above - Virginia is being menaced by Chief Thunder Cloud (Victor Daniels) as the titled warchief in I KILLED GERONIMO (Eagle Lion, 1950).

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above - Virginia is being romanced by star James Ellison in another still from I KILLED GERONIMO (Eagle Lion, 1950).

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above - Virginia gives a helping hand to Johnny Mack Brown in MONTANA DESPERADO (Monogram, 1951).  Virginia provided the following comments about Johnny Mack Brown: "He was absolutely the nicest and kindest gentleman any one would want to work with!  Very polite and businesslike."

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above, Virginia's in trouble again --- this time from Rusty Wescoatt (left) and Jack Ingram (right, without his usual moustache) in the serial ROAR OF THE IRON HORSE (Columbia, 1951).

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Much of the B western and serial work had faded away by the early 1950s, and many of the heroes and supporting players wound up working in early TV shows.  Above are, from L-to-R: Jackie Coogan, Marshall Reed, Virginia Herrick and Russell Hayden in a scene from one of the early TV sagebrush series, the syndicated COWBOY G-MEN, which first appeared on the little screen in 1952, and starred Hayden and Coogan. Reed generally portrayed a baddie in westerns at Monogram, PRC and RKO, and wound up as one of the policeman on THE LINEUP TV detective series. Hayden was a former sidekick to William Boyd in the Hopalong Cassidy films, had his own starring series at Columbia, and directed/produced TV series such as 26 MEN and JUDGE ROY BEAN.  And who can forget former silent screen child star Coogan as Uncle Fester on THE ADDAMS FAMILY.

(Courtesy of Minard Coons)

Above from left to right are Ray Corrigan, Max Terhune and Bill Hale.

Did Ray 'Crash' Corrigan try to bring another western series to the screen long after his work in the Range Busters of 1940-1943 ... and is there a completed film laying around somewhere that hadn't been seen in about fifty years?

Both Ray Corrigan and Max Terhune told Old Corral contributor Minard Coons that they had completed the initial film of a new trio series, starring themselves along with Monte Hale's brother Bill Hale (far right in the picture above).  However, the film wasn't released nor was the series continued since the market for B westerns was in a rapid decline.  As to the date of this, Minard recalls that it was filmed around the time that Terhune exited the Johnny Mack Brown westerns at Monogram (which was about 1949 or so).  The name of the new trio was to be "The Buckskin Rangers".  Ed Phillips reports that Tommy Corrigan (Ray's son in California) has the film, and it was shown several years ago at a gathering of western film fans. If you'd like a VHS of "The Buckskin Rangers", Boyd Magers can provide on videotape - note that this was not a full length/one hour film, but an unsold half hour pilot for a proposed television series which was filmed in color in 1951.

The heroine in that unreleased sagebrush saga was Virginia Herrick.

Virginia Herrick visited senior organizations to encourage retirees to share their backgrounds with others.

Her presentation, entitled 'FROM HORSE OPERA TO GRAND OPERA', included a showing of one of her westerns after which she would sing two or three familar arias from well-known operas.

Virginia designed and made all of her costumes.

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

(Courtesy of Virginia Herrick & Dick Madigan)

Above are Peggy Stewart and Virginia guesting at the 2002 Charlotte Western Film Fair.

Back to prior page