"Most serial characters are purposely painted in pastel shades so they won't offend the housewife. But on Shadows, we play to a younger crowd, and they just don't get offended easily." -- Virginia Vestoff
Dark Shadows Characters
Samantha Collins, Samantha Drew
Appeared in: 29 episodes
First episode: # 1110, September 25, 1970
Last episode: # 1193, January 20, 1971
Born: December 9, 1939, New York City
Died: May 2, 1982, of cancer
The daughter of two vaudeville performers,Virginia Vestoff was orphaned at a young age. Her Russian-born father died when she was 7; her mother died two years later.
Virginia went to live with relatives and escaped her sorrow by performing on stage. At age 12 she took third place on The Ted Mack Amateur Hour and soon had a professional gig in the Children's Chorus of the New York City Opera Company. She attended the New York High School for the Performing Arts.
Virginia made her Broadway debut in a review called From A to Z, and went on to play Daisy in Baker Street, a Sherlock Holmes musical.
While in Baker Street, Virginia met writer Morty Lefkoe on a double date. There was an instant attraction. The only problem was, they were on the double date with other dates. They overcame that obstacle, and five months later, Morty proposed and they soon married.
Later she was the standby for Elizabeth Seale, the lead in Irma La Douce, a role she played for five weeks in New York and later on tour, including a performance for President Kennedy at the White House.
While Elizabeth Hubbard took a yearlong break from her Emmy-winning role of Dr. Althea Davis in the NBC soap The Doctors, Virginia played the role from 1969 to '70.
Virginia originated the role of Abigail Adams in the Broadway hit 1776 in 1969, and received a Tony nomination.
In 1970 she joined the cast of Dark Shadows. She played Samantha for four months, beginning in September 1970.
After leaving Dark Shadows she continued to act; including parts in the film version of 1776 and Robert Altman's A Wedding (1978).
She died of cancer at age 42, in 1982.
DAYTIME TV: The Doctors (Dr. Althea Davis, 1969-70), As the World Turns, What's My Line, The Virginia Graham Show.
PRIMETIME TV: Contact: The Case of the Secret Message (Mrs. Frimpol), We Interrupt this Season (1967), Alone at Last (Laurie Elliott, 1980, pilot), Kojak (Helen, 1977), Tonight Show.
TV FILM: The Quinns (Renee Carmody, 1977).
TV COMMERCIALS: Sure Deodorant, Geritol, Hamburger Helper, Sardo Bath Beads, Bradlees.
SCREEN: A Wedding (Clarice Sloan, 1978), Such Good Friends (Emily Lapham, 1971), 1776 (Abigail Adams, 1972).
THEATER: I'm Getting My Act Together and Taking It On The Road (1979-80, NYC), Spokesong (Daisy, 1979, NYC; 1978, New Haven), Drinks Before Dinner (Grace, 1978, NYC), The Misanthrope (Celimene, 1978, NYC), latter two as part of the NY Shakespeare Festival, The Shortchanged Review (Jane Sloat Shannigan, 1976, NYC), Love and Let Love (Olivia, 1968, NYC), Man With a Load of Mischief (The Lady, 1966, NYC), Ben Bagley's New Cole Porter Revue (1965, NYC), And in This Corner (1964, NYC), A Doll's House (1962, NYC), Fallout (1959, NYC), The Boy Friend (1958, NYC), The Crystal Heart (1960, NYC), Private Lives, The Threepenny Opera, The Archbishop's Ceiling (1977, Washington, D.C.), Booth is Back in Town (Mary Ann Booth, 1968, NYC), Camelot (New Jersey), Put it in Writing (1963, Chicago), The King and I (1968).
TOURS: The Boy Friend (1957), My Fair Lady.
BROADWAY: Boccaccio (Giletta, 1975), Nash at Nine (1973), Via Galactica (Omaha, 1972), 1776 (Abigail Adams, 1969-71), Baker Street (Daisy Jenkins, 1965), Irma la Douce (1962), From A to Z (1960).