1939 studio publicity photograph
|Born||Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick
June 20, 1911
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||July 6, 1980
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
|Other names||Gail Patrick Jackson|
|Alma mater||Howard College|
Gail Patrick (June 20, 1911 – July 6, 1980) was an American film actress and producer. Often cast as the bad girl or the other woman, she appeared in more than 60 feature films between 1932 and 1948, notably My Man Godfrey (1936), Stage Door (1937) and My Favorite Wife (1940). After retiring from acting she became, as Gail Patrick Jackson, executive producer of the Perry Mason television series (1957–66).
Gail Patrick was born Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick on June 20, 1911, in Birmingham, Alabama. Her parents were Lawrence C. Fitzpatrick, a municipal fireman, and LaVelle Fitzpatrick. After graduating from Howard College, she remained as acting dean of women and attended law school at the University of Alabama. In 1932 — "for a lark", Patrick said — she entered a Paramount Pictures beauty and talent contest and won train fare to Hollywood for herself and her brother. Although she did not win the contest (for "Miss Panther Woman" in the 1932 film, Island of Lost Souls) Patrick was put under contract and began making motion pictures. She played occasional leads but she was most often the cool, aloof and frequently bad "other woman".
Patrick appeared in more than 60 movies between 1932 and 1948, usually as the leading lady's extremely formidable rival. Some of these roles include Carole Lombard's spoiled sister in My Man Godfrey (1936); Linda Shaw, Ginger Rogers' rival in Stage Door (1937); Anna May Wong's sophisticated competitor in Dangerous to Know (1938); and the second wife in My Favorite Wife (1940), with Irene Dunne and Cary Grant. Her patrician bearing and luminous beauty also led to her being cast as the lead in films such as James Whale's Wives Under Suspicion (1938) and Robert Florey's Disbarred (1939).
In 1936 Patrick married restaurateur Robert H. Cobb, owner of the Brown Derby; they were divorced in 1941. From 1944 to 1945 she was married to Lieutenant Arnold Dean White, a U.S. Navy airman. In 1947 she married her third husband, advertising executive Thomas Cornwell Jackson, with whom she adopted two children.:75
She created a business out of her home, designing clothing primarily for children, and moved to a shop on Rodeo Drive that she called The Enchanted Cottage. Patrick ran the shop for eight years with considerable success.:19 A 1947 short film, part of the Paramount Pictures Unusual Occupations series, includes scenes of Patrick serving patrons including Maureen O'Sullivan.
Patrick stopped acting in 1948. "I never formally retired," she told journalist James Bawden in 1979. "I just quit, and it was a good time as TV started taking over."
Cornwell Jackson was literary agent for attorney-author Erle Stanley Gardner, creator of the fictional criminal defense attorney Perry Mason. After a series of disappointing Warner Bros. films and a radio series he despised, Gardner had refused to license the popular character for any more adaptations, but Patrick won the author's trust. She had maintained her network in show business, and understood Gardner's love for the law. Patrick and her husband and Gardner formed a production company, Paisano Productions, of which she was president. Patrick developed the television series Perry Mason and sold it to CBS, where it ran for nine seasons (1957–66). Gail Patrick Jackson was its executive producer.
Patrick also developed a half-hour Paisano Productions series based on Gardner's Cool and Lam stories.:19 A pilot directed by Jacques Tourneur aired on CBS in 1958 but a series did not materialize.
Patrick was divorced from Jackson in 1969, and in 1974 she married her fourth husband, John E. Velde Jr.
Gail Patrick died from leukemia July 6, 1980, at age 69 at her home in Hollywood.
Select film and television credits
|1932||If I Had a Million||Secretary||Feature film debut|
|1933||The Mysterious Rider||Mary Benton Foster|||
|1933||Murders in the Zoo||Jerry Evans|||
|1933||The Phantom Broadcast||Laura Hamilton|||
|1933||To the Last Man||Ann Hayden Stanley|||
|1933||Cradle Song||Maria Lucia|||
|1934||Death Takes a Holiday||Rhoda Fenton|||
|1934||The Crime of Helen Stanley||Helen Stanley|||
|1934||Murder at the Vanities||Sadie Evans|||
|1934||Take the Stand||Cornelia Burbank|||
|1934||Wagon Wheels||Nancy Wellington|||
|1934||One Hour Late||Mrs. Eileen Barclay|||
|1935||Doubting Thomas||Florence McCrickett|||
|1935||No More Ladies||Theresa German|||
|1935||Smart Girl||Kay Reynolds|||
|1935||The Big Broadcast of 1936||Nurse|||
|1935||The Wanderer of the Wasteland||Ruth Virey|||
|1935||Two Fisted||Sue Parker|||
|1935||The Lone Wolf Returns||Marcia Stewart|||
|1936||Two in the Dark||Irene Lassiter|||
|1936||The Preview Murder Mystery||Claire Woodward|||
|1936||Early to Bed||Grace Stanton|||
|1936||My Man Godfrey||Cornelia Bullock|||
|1936||Murder with Pictures||Meg Archer|||
|1936||White Hunter||Helen Varek|||
|1937||John Meade's Woman||Caroline Haig|||
|1937||Her Husband Lies||Natalie Thomas|||
|1937||Artists and Models||Helen Varek|||
|1937||Stage Door||Linda Shaw|||
|1938||Mad About Music||Gwen Taylor|||
|1938||Dangerous to Know||Margaret Van Case|||
|1938||Wives Under Suspicion||Lucy Stowell|||
|1938||King of Alcatraz||Dale Borden|||
|1939||Man of Conquest||Margaret Lea|||
|1939||Grand Jury Secrets||Agnes Carren|||
|1939||The Hunchback of Notre Dame||minor role|||
|1940||The Doctor Takes a Wife||Marilyn Thomas|||
|1940||My Favorite Wife||Bianca|||
|1940||Gallant Sons||Clare Pendleton|||
|1941||Love Crazy||Isobel Grayson|||
|1942||Tales of Manhattan||Ellen|||
|1942||We Were Dancing||Linda Wayne|||
|1943||Quiet Please, Murder||Myra Blandy|||
|1943||Hit Parade of 1943||Toni Jarrett|||
|1944||Women in Bondage||Margot Bracken|||
|1944||Up in Mabel's Room||Mabel Essington|||
|1945||Brewster's Millions||Barbara Drew|||
|1945||Twice Blessed||Mary Hale|||
|1946||The Madonna's Secret||Ella Randolph|||
|1946||Rendezvous with Annie||Dolores Starr|||
|1946||Claudia and David||Julia Naughton|||
|1946||Plainsman and the Lady||Cathy Arnesen|||
|1947||Calendar Girl||Olivia Radford|||
|1947||King of the Wild Horses||Ellen Taggert|||
|1947||Unusual Occupations||Herself||Documentary short, "Film Tot Fairyland"|
|1948||The Inside Story||Audrey O'Connor|||
|1957–66||Perry Mason (TV series)||Executive producer (as Gail Patrick Jackson)|
- Bawden, James (April 29, 2014). "Dream Factory Time: Gail Patrick". Classic Images. Retrieved 2015-04-07.
- Ancestry.com, 1930 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, Utah: Ancestry.com Operations Inc., 2002. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
- Katz, Ephraim (1998). The Film Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 1070 isbn=0-06-273492-X.
- "Gail Patrick, Actress Who Gave Up Movies to Produce TV Series". The New York Times. July 7, 1980.
- Balling, Fredda (March 1961). "Perry Mason's Secret Ingredient". TV Radio Mirror (Macfadden Publications, Inc.) 55 (4): 24–25, 75–76. Retrieved 2015-04-15.
- Hirshberg, Jack (October 25, 1947). "Enchanted Cottage: Screen Star Gail Patrick Runs Shop for Tiny Tots in Hollywood". Montreal Standard. Retrieved 2015-05-09.
- "The Case of the Businesslike Beauty". TV Guide: 17–19. June 21, 1958.
- "Unusual Occupations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
- Gould, Jack (May 23, 1966). "TV: Perry Mason's End Really a Rich Beginning". The New York Times.
- Smith, Kevin Burton. "Bertha Cool and Donald Lam". The Thrilling Detective. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- "Cool and Lam TV Pilot Intro". The Rap Sheet. YouTube. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- "Gail Patrick". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
- "Gail Patrick". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-04-10.
- "Unusual Occupations". Shields Pictures Inc. Retrieved 2015-05-08.
- "Perry Mason 1957–66". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2015-04-07.
|Wikimedia Commons has media related to Gail Patrick.|
- Gail Patrick at the Internet Movie Database
- 1979 Gail Patrick interview at Classic Images
- Photographs of Gail Patrick