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Miss Varnish (first name unrevealed) was an older woman who owned and operated an antiques store outside of Dick Tracy's city. She had light hair, full cheeks, and smoked cigarettes.

Hiding Shoulders[]

One night, the criminal Shoulders (who had been injured by an associate) stumbled into Miss Varnish's shop. The older woman took pity on the man, and treated his wounds. When Shoulders revealed that he had no place to go, Miss Varnish agreed to let him live at the store in exchange for general labor.

For a time, Shoulders lived happily with Miss Varnish, who he believed to have romantic feelings for him. Miss Varnish saw a newspaper report that identified Shoulders as a fugitive, and she prepared to help the police capture him.


Shoulders realized that Miss Varnish had discovered his true identity and he assaulted her. He then planned to make his escape after retrieving a cache of stolen jewels and money that he had hidden in an antique pot that hung from a high rafter in the shop. Miss Varnish recovered from Shoulders' assault and removed the ladder he was standing on, leaving the man hanging from the rafter by his arms. Dick Tracy and the police soon arrived, and Shoulders was killed while making a final effort to escape.

Miss Varnish was praised for her cooperation and resourcefulness.

Appearances in Other Media[]

1950s Live Action TV Series[]


Isabel Randolph as Miss Varnish

Miss Varnish appeared as a character in the 1950s Live Action "Dick Tracy" television series starring Ralph Byrd. She was played by Isabel Randolph.

In the episode "Dick Tracy Meets Heel Beals", Miss Varnish was the owner of a furntiture store that Heels Beals was using as a way to gain entry to the homes of her wealthy clients in order to rob them. Miss Varnish cooperated with Dick Tracy and Sam Catchem in their efforts to arrest Beals.


  • "Varnish" is a hard, transparent protective finish that is primarily used in wood finishing. It is also used on other materials.