Cary and Irene (THE AWFUL TRUTH)

Thursday, September 23, 2010

The Underrated Gail Patrick

 I wanted to write a post about one of the most underrated actresses of all time...the lovely and very talented Gail Patrick. Born in 1911 as Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick in Alabama, She received a B.A. and was a dean of women at her alma mater, Howard College, for a time. She was studying pre-law at the University of Alabama at the time she, by happenstance, became a finalist in a nationwide contest for a Paramount film role (which she did not get). This led her to going to Hollywood and, despite her loss, the studio wound up offering her a studio contract at $50 a week.
Gail appeared in a lot films early in her career including Death Takes A Holiday (1934), Mississippi (1935), and Early To Bed (1936). Just making her way along until she finally secured a notable role in a great film. It was My Man Godfrey (1936) with Carole Lombard and William Powell, with Gail cast as Carole's spoiled sister. Gail held her own in this marvelous screwball classic and she would add two more certifiable screwball classics: 1937's Stage Door, trading wisecracks with Ginger Rogers and 1940's My Favorite Wife as Cary Grant's second wife who had to deal with the unexpected return of Cary's presumed dead first wife, Irene Dunne. So if Gail didn't do anything else in her film career, she could say she starred in these three all time comedy classics.
Gail would wind up making over 60 films before retiring in 1947 and after a stint designing clothes, she was an executive producer on one of the most successful TV shows ever made, Perry Mason. How's that for post film career success. Gail would marry four times and was also a diabetic.

She is one of my favorite actresses of all time and she ranks pretty high on my top actress list, which you will see once I finally post it. But I'm sure most classic movie lovers have seen her before..definitely in one of those three classics mentioned above. She was very talented and beautiful and could handle the on screen antics of screwball comedies very well. I dedicate this blog to Gail who was a class act.


Robin@DecoratingTennisGirl said...

She was underrated as an actress. Alittle trivia about her. She was married to Bob Cobb, owner of The Brown Derby in Hollywood, inventor of the the Cobb Salad.

Dawn said...

Monty, What a beautiful tribute to Gail Patrick. Loved her performance in the films: Stage Door and My Favorite Wife.

Gilby37 said...

Thanks for doing a piece on Gail Patrick. I saw her in a movie called Quiet Please, Murder with George Sanders & Richard Denning. It was on Fox Movie Channel. She was the lead and did a great job! Plus, she did bring us PERRY MASON!