Gail Patrick

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Gail Patrick
Gail Patrick Argentinean Magazine corp.jpg
1939 studio publicity photograph
Born Margaret LaVelle Fitzpatrick
(1911-06-20)June 20, 1911
Birmingham, Alabama, U.S.
Died July 6, 1980(1980-07-06) (aged 69)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Gail Patrick Jackson
Alma mater Howard College
Years active 1932–1973
  • Robert Howard Cobb
    (married 1936–1941)
  • Arnold Dean White
    (married 1944–1945)
  • Thomas Cornwell Jackson
    (married 1947–1969)
  • John E. Velde Jr.
    (married 1974–1980)

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.[1] Her parents were Lawrence C. Fitzpatrick, a municipal fireman, and LaVelle Fitzpatrick.[2] After graduating from Howard College, she remained as acting dean of women and attended law school at the University of Alabama.[3] 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.[1] She played occasional leads but she was most often the cool, aloof and frequently bad "other woman".[3]

Paramount Pictures contract players Wolfe Hopper and Gail Patrick in July 1936; 20 years later William Hopper was Paul Drake and Gail Patrick Jackson was executive producer of the CBS-TV series, Perry Mason
Gail Patrick Jackson and Erle Stanley Gardner speak with Hollywood columnist Norma Lee Browning during filming of the last Perry Mason episode, "The Case of the Final Fade-Out" (1966)

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.[4][5]:75

Gail Patrick Jackson, executive producer of Perry Mason, in 1961

She created a business out of her home, designing clothing primarily for children, and moved to a shop on Rodeo Drive[1] that she called The Enchanted Cottage.[6] Patrick ran the shop for eight years with considerable success.[7]:19 A 1947 short film, part of the Paramount Pictures Unusual Occupations series, includes scenes of Patrick serving patrons including Maureen O'Sullivan.[1][8]

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."[1]

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.[1][9]

Patrick also developed a half-hour Paisano Productions series based on Gardner's Cool and Lam stories.[7]:19 A pilot directed by Jacques Tourneur aired on CBS in 1958 but a series did not materialize.[10][11]

Patrick was divorced from Jackson in 1969, and in 1974 she married her fourth husband, John E. Velde Jr.[1]

Gail Patrick died from leukemia July 6, 1980, at age 69 at her home in Hollywood.[4]

Select film and television credits[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1932 If I Had a Million Secretary Feature film debut[12][1]
1933 The Mysterious Rider Mary Benton Foster [12][1][13]
1933 Murders in the Zoo Jerry Evans [12]
1933 The Phantom Broadcast Laura Hamilton [12]
1933 To the Last Man Ann Hayden Stanley [12]
1933 Cradle Song Maria Lucia [12]
1934 Death Takes a Holiday Rhoda Fenton [12]
1934 The Crime of Helen Stanley Helen Stanley [12]
1934 Murder at the Vanities Sadie Evans [12]
1934 Take the Stand Cornelia Burbank [12]
1934 Wagon Wheels Nancy Wellington [12]
1934 One Hour Late Mrs. Eileen Barclay [12]
1935 Rumba Patsy [12]
1935 Mississippi Elvira Rumford [12]
1935 Doubting Thomas Florence McCrickett [12]
1935 No More Ladies Theresa German [12]
1935 Smart Girl Kay Reynolds [12]
1935 The Big Broadcast of 1936 Nurse [12][13]
1935 The Wanderer of the Wasteland Ruth Virey [12]
1935 Two Fisted Sue Parker [12]
1935 The Lone Wolf Returns Marcia Stewart [12]
1936 Two in the Dark Irene Lassiter [12]
1936 The Preview Murder Mystery Claire Woodward [12]
1936 Early to Bed Grace Stanton [12]
1936 My Man Godfrey Cornelia Bullock [12]
1936 Murder with Pictures Meg Archer [12]
1936 White Hunter Helen Varek [12]
1937 John Meade's Woman Caroline Haig [12]
1937 Her Husband Lies Natalie Thomas [12]
1937 Artists and Models Helen Varek [12]
1937 Stage Door Linda Shaw [12]
1938 Mad About Music Gwen Taylor [12]
1938 Dangerous to Know Margaret Van Case [12]
1938 Wives Under Suspicion Lucy Stowell [12]
1938 King of Alcatraz Dale Borden [12]
1939 Disbarred Joan Carroll [12]
1939 Man of Conquest Margaret Lea [12]
1939 Grand Jury Secrets Agnes Carren [12]
1939 Reno Jessie Gibbs [12]
1939 The Hunchback of Notre Dame minor role [12][13]
1940 The Doctor Takes a Wife Marilyn Thomas [12]
1940 My Favorite Wife Bianca [12]
1940 Gallant Sons Clare Pendleton [12]
1941 Kathleen Lorraine Bennett [12]
1941 Love Crazy Isobel Grayson [12]
1942 Tales of Manhattan Ellen [12]
1942 We Were Dancing Linda Wayne [12]
1943 Quiet Please, Murder Myra Blandy [12]
1943 Hit Parade of 1943 Toni Jarrett [12]
1944 Women in Bondage Margot Bracken [12]
1944 Up in Mabel's Room Mabel Essington [12]
1945 Brewster's Millions Barbara Drew [12]
1945 Twice Blessed Mary Hale [12]
1946 The Madonna's Secret Ella Randolph [12]
1946 Rendezvous with Annie Dolores Starr [12]
1946 Claudia and David Julia Naughton [12]
1946 Plainsman and the Lady Cathy Arnesen [12]
1947 Calendar Girl Olivia Radford [12]
1947 King of the Wild Horses Ellen Taggert [12]
1947 Unusual Occupations Herself Documentary short, "Film Tot Fairyland"[1][8][14]
1948 The Inside Story Audrey O'Connor [12]
1957–66 Perry Mason (TV series) Executive producer (as Gail Patrick Jackson)[15]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g h i j Bawden, James (April 29, 2014). "Dream Factory Time: Gail Patrick". Classic Images. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 
  2. ^, 1930 United States Federal Census [database online]. Provo, Utah: Operations Inc., 2002. Retrieved 2015-04-16.
  3. ^ a b Katz, Ephraim (1998). The Film Encyclopedia (3rd ed.). New York: HarperPerennial. p. 1070 isbn=0-06-273492-X. 
  4. ^ a b "Gail Patrick, Actress Who Gave Up Movies to Produce TV Series". The New York Times. July 7, 1980. 
  5. ^ 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. 
  6. ^ Hirshberg, Jack (October 25, 1947). "Enchanted Cottage: Screen Star Gail Patrick Runs Shop for Tiny Tots in Hollywood". Montreal Standard. Retrieved 2015-05-09. 
  7. ^ a b "The Case of the Businesslike Beauty". TV Guide: 17–19. June 21, 1958. 
  8. ^ a b "Unusual Occupations". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  9. ^ Gould, Jack (May 23, 1966). "TV: Perry Mason's End Really a Rich Beginning". The New York Times. 
  10. ^ Smith, Kevin Burton. "Bertha Cool and Donald Lam". The Thrilling Detective. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  11. ^ "Cool and Lam TV Pilot Intro". The Rap Sheet. YouTube. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  12. ^ a b c d e f g h i j k l m n o p q r s t u v w x y z aa ab ac ad ae af ag ah ai aj ak al am an ao ap aq ar as at au av aw ax ay az ba bb bc bd be bf bg bh "Gail Patrick". AFI Catalog of Feature Films. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  13. ^ a b c "Gail Patrick". Internet Movie Database. Retrieved 2015-04-10. 
  14. ^ "Unusual Occupations". Shields Pictures Inc. Retrieved 2015-05-08. 
  15. ^ "Perry Mason 1957–66". The Classic TV Archive. Retrieved 2015-04-07. 

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