A warm, reliable and likable lead of features and TV beginning in the 1950s, Vera Miles got a prominent start but rarely seemed to get the roles her talent merited. An attractive, composed woman who worked as a model after placing third in the 1948 Miss America contest, she broke into films in 1951. Although her first leads were in modest films, her earnest, outdoorsy heroines suited her well for "The Rose Bowl Story" (1952) and Jacques Tourneur's stylish "Wichita" (1955). She also kept busy in TV anthologies, where she first worked with the directors who helmed her most important films. John Ford directed Miles in "Rookie of the Year" (1955), an episode of "Screen Directors Playhouse" which led him to cast her as an outspoken frontierswoman in his classic "The Searchers" (1956). Hitchcock, meanwhile, liked her work in "Revenge" (1955) on his "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" so much that he put her under personal contract.