We suspect your immediate response is — frankly, no! NOTE: she was always a second lead, but a beautiful presence.

Let’s try to fill in a few blanks. Helen Vinson had a relatively short Hollywood career, covering some 40 titles over a dozen years ending in 1944 when she appeared in The Thin Man Goes Home, fifth of the six films that comprised the Thin Man series starring William Powell.


Here she is with Powell as aristocratic sleuth Philo Vance in 1933’s The Kennel Murder Case.

Vinson was a chic and elegant figure, a Texas born beauty, tall for a woman at the time (nearly 5-foot-7) — an aspect that cost her. Her introduction to Hollywood was via Warner Bros., the studio that flourished compact leading men.

Hollywood seemed to be an absolute sea of short men, she once said. Robinson, Muni, James Cagney and George Raft all had to stand on boxes when they acted with me.

Her specialty was playing self-involved, bitchy women not afraid of using her wiles to get her way. Here she is below squaring off with Gary Cooper in 1935’s The Wedding Night.

Helen Vinson: Movies, TV, and Bio

And mixing it up with James Cagney in 1940’s Torrid Zone.

Torrid Zone (1940) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

Vinson turned in a stylish “nice girl” performance in the Paul Muni perennial, 1932’s I Am A Fugitive From A Chain Gang.

I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang (1932) - Photo Gallery - IMDb

She attained bigtime soap opera credentials on the big screen with 1939’s In Name Only, a love triangle melodrama with a powerhouse cast including Cary Grant, Carole Lombard and Kay Francis (below right).

Helen Vinson & Kay Francis - Jewel Robbery (1932) | Classic movie stars,  Classic hollywood, Hollywood actor

Vinson had a fairly active love life offscreen. She survived three marriages, the second a five-year union with British tennis champ Fred Perry. She lived a long life, passing away in 1999 at the age of 92.

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