Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Gail Patrick (1911-1980) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
Born Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick in Birmingham, AL, she had two years of law school and dreams of a political future when she entered Paramount's "Panther Woman" contest on a whim. Kathleen Burke won the contest, but Patrick made the final four and was offered a contract by Paramount that she renegotiated to her favor. The studio put her through training, changed her name, and even wiped away her Alabama accent. Her debut was a bit in If I Had a Million (1932), the first of over sixty features Gail Patrick appeared in through 1948. Popular early films include Murders in the Zoo (1933), Death Takes a Holiday (1934), Murder at the Vanities (1934), and Mississippi (1935), but like many contract players, Patrick's best films and juiciest parts often came on loan to other studios: My Man Godfrey (1936) for Universal and Stage Door (1937) for RKO being two notables that cemented Patrick's reputation for icy supporting foils. She left Paramount when her contract expired, but continued working through most of the next decade in films such as My Favorite Wife (1940), The Doctor Takes a Wife (1940), Love Crazy (1941), Brewster's Millions (1945), Claudia and David (1946), and her final feature The Inside Story (1948). Unlike many of her contemporaries, Patrick did not extend her career into countless television guest appearances, but that's not to say that TV didn't play a very important role in her future. The third of Patrick's four husbands, Cornwell Jackson, was literary agent to Perry Mason author Erle Stanley Gardner—as Gail Patrick Jackson, the former screen nasty formed Paisano Productions with her husband and Gardner, served as the company's President, and got Perry Mason to TV in a way that pleased its author much more than earlier screen versions. Patrick served as executive producer of the hit Perry Mason TV series during its 1957-66 run on CBS, and was later executive consultant of The New Perry Mason in 1973-74. She died of leukemia in 1980, age 69.
Birthday: June 20