Virginia Cherrill was an American actress best known for her role as the blind flower girl in Charlie Chaplin’s City Lights. Due to marrying an English earl in the 1940s, she is also known as Virginia Child-Villiers, Countess of Jersey.
Virginia Cherrill was born on a farm in rural Carthage, Illinois, to James E. and Blanche Cherrill. She was a Chicago society girl with no thoughts of a film career when she went to Hollywood for a visit and met Charlie Chaplin when he sat next to her at a boxing match. He had failed to find the girl he wanted for his film but decided she would do and cast her in City Lights in which she gave the performance for which she is remembered, although her working relationship with Chaplin on the film was often strained. As indicated in the documentary Unknown Chaplin, Cherrill was in fact fired from the film at one point and Chaplin planned to refilm all her scenes with Georgia Hale, but ultimately realized too much money had already been spent on the picture; as Cherrill recalls in the documentary, close friend Marion Davies suggested Cherrill hold out for more money when Chaplin asked her to return to the film, and she did.
She appeared in a few other films subsequently, including the 1931 Gershwin musical Delicious with Janet Gaynor, but gave up her movie career in 1936 after Troubled Waters.
Cherrill married four times; her second husband was actor Cary Grant, and her third was George Child-Villiers, 9th Earl of Jersey .