Shop by the Stars aisle featuring Gertrude Michael (1911-1964) vintage movie cards, still photos, ephemera, and other collectibles.
Born Lillian Gertrude Michael in Talladega, AL, her studio bio credits her as a prodigy of sorts, the short version placing Michael in law school at age 15, and owning and operating her own radio station at age 17. She was a skilled piano player and attended the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music, which is said to have awarded her a five year scholarship to Italy that she couldn't use because of her father's untimely death. She joined Stuart Walker's Cincinnati based stock company for a year before making her Broadway debut in 1931 in Caught Wet, in a part she was uniquely qualified for as it called for running her lines while simultaneously playing a piano symphony. She made her film debut at Paramount's Astoria studio in Wayward (1932) starring Nancy Carroll and Richard Arlen. From there Michael returned to Broadway for The Round Up in March 1932, before being lured to Hollywood with all expenses paid to test for MGM. She appeared in Unashamed (1932) with Helen Twelvetrees at MGM, and from there became a very busy movie actress the next several years, mostly at Paramount where she signed in late 1933. Popular roles and titles featuring Gertrude Michael include RKO's adaptation of Sinclair Lewis' Ann Vickers (1933), supporting Mae West in I'm No Angel (1933), singing "Sweet Marijuana" in Murder at the Vanities (1934), support in second Hildegarde Withers entry Murder on the Blackboard (1934), star billing in The Notorious Sophie Lang (1934) and its two sequels, as Calpurnia in Cleopatra (1934), and support in later titles like Allotment Wives (1945), Flamingo Road (1949), and Caged (1950). Michael appeared in a handful of additional movies through 1961, though mostly busied herself with television appearances in the usual 1950s anthology series and guest appearances on other popular shows like Perry Mason and Sea Hunt.
Birthday: June 1