Vera Miles, raised in Kansas, worked nights as a Western Union operator and typist throughout high school and competed in beauty pageants to earn extra money. In 1948, she was crowned Miss Kansas, and an agent suggested she move to Los Angeles. Miles and her husband, Bob Miles, were off to Hollywood.
Miles spent the next few years floating between big Hollywood studios. In 1954, she was cast as Tarzan's love interest in “Tarzan's Hidden Jungle,” where she met her costar Gordon Scott. She divorced Miles, with whom she had two daughters, and married Scott that same year.
Another big break came in 1956 when she appeared with John Wayne in John Ford’s iconic film “The Searchers.” She caught the attention of Alfred Hitchcock and in 1957 was signed to a five-year personal contract with the legendary director. The media soon regarded her as Hitchcock's new Grace Kelly.
Hitchcock hoped to make Miles a star with a leading role in “Vertigo,” but she got pregnant just before production on the thriller. The director dropped her from the film, but later cast her as Lila Crane in his classic thriller “Psycho,” which remains her most memorable role.
Some of Miles' subsequent television guest spots are now iconic, particularly her role in the “Twilight Zone” episode “Mirror Image.” She went on to star in “Back Street,” “The Man Who Shot Liberty Valance” and “The Virginian.”
The year that she filmed “Psycho,” 1959, Miles divorced Gordon Scott. They had one child together, Michael. The next year, Miles married Keith Larsen. They were together 11 years, until 1971, and had one son, Erik, in 1961. Miles has not remarried.