Gwen Lee

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Gwen Lee
Gwenlee.jpg
Lee in 1927
Born Gwendolyn Lepinski
(1904-11-12)November 12, 1904
Hastings, Nebraska, U.S.
Died August 20, 1961(1961-08-20) (aged 56)
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
Nationality American
Other names Gwendolyn Lee
Occupation Actress
Years active 1925–1938

Gwen Lee (November 12, 1904 – August 20, 1961) was an American stage and film actress. Lee began her career as a model before being discovered and signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She was typically cast in supporting roles. Lee appeared in over sixty films before retiring in 1938.

Acting career[edit]

Born Gwendolyn Lepinski in Hastings, Nebraska, Lee began her career as a department store model. She was discovered by director Monta Bell while appearing in a stage production.[1] She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. That same year, she made her film debut in Lady of the Night, starring Norma Shearer. She followed with roles in Pretty Ladies, starring Zasu Pitts, His Secretary, and The Plastic Age, starring Clara Bow. In 1926, Lee was cast in The Lone Wolfe Returns, starring Bert Lytell and Billie Dove.[2]

In 1928, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star.[3] Lee continued her career with supporting roles in Laugh, Clown, Laugh and The Actress (both 1928). Her career continued for almost a decade into the era of sound motion pictures. Lee played Marjory in Untamed (1929), with Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery. She appeared again with Crawford and Marie Prevost in the prison drama Paid (1930). In 1931, she was in The Galloping Ghost, with famed football running back Red Grange, and the crime drama, The Lawless Woman, with Vera Reynolds. In 1932, she appeared in the Western Broadway to Cheyenne (1932), with Rex Bell.

By the late 1930s, Lee was appearing in minor film roles most of which were uncredited. Her final film roles were in Man-Proof and Paroled from the Big House, both in 1938.

Personal life[edit]

Legal issues[edit]

Lee was sued by her mother, Etta Lepinski, in March 1932. Lee was charged in a petition for guardianship. The suit alleged that Lee was incompetent to handle her affairs, specifically she was incapable of managing her jewelry and personal property, valued in excess of $1,000. The case was filed in Los Angeles, California Superior Court.[4] Lee's mother dropped the suit in April, citing improvement in her daughter's health.[5] Later that same year, Lee was also sued by two clothiers for nonpayment.[6]

Death[edit]

Lee died on August 20, 1961 in Reno, Nevada.[7]

Filmography[edit]

Year Title Role Notes
1925 Lady of the Night Molly's Friend
1925 Pretty Ladies Fay
1925 His Secretary Clara Bayne Lost film
1925 The Plastic Age Carl's girl Uncredited
1925 Time Flies An Adventuress Short film
Credited as Gwendolyn Lee
1953 The Boy Friend Pettie Wilson Lost film
1926 The Lone Wolfe Returns Liane De Lorme
1926 Upstage Dixie Mason
1926 There You Are! Anita Grant Lost film
1927 Women Love Diamonds Roberta Klein
1927 Heaven on Earth Claire
1927 Orchids and Ermine Ermintrude
1927 Twelve Miles Out Hulda
1927 Adam and Evil Gwen De Vere
1927 After Midnight Maizie
1927 Her Wild Oat Daisy
1928 Lucky Boy Mrs. Ellis
1928 Sharp Shooters Flossy
1928 Laugh, Clown, Laugh Lucretia
1928 The Actress Avonia Lost film
1928 Diamond Handcuffs Cecile
1928 Thief in the Dark Flo
1928 Show Girl Nita Dugan
1928 The Baby Cyclone Jessie
1928 A Lady of Chance Gwen
1929 The Duke Steps Out Uncredited
1929 The Man and the Moment Viola
1929 Fast Company Rosie La Clerq
1929 Untamed Marjory
1929 The Hollywood Revue of 1929 Herself
1930 Chasing Rainbows Peggy
1930 Lord Byron of Broadway Bessie
1930 Free and Easy Participant in Bedroom Scene Alternative title: Easy Go
1930 Caught Short Manicurist
1930 Estrellados Herself
1930 Our Blushing Brides A Mannequin
1930 Extravagance Sally
1930 Paid Bertha
1931 Inspiration Gaby
1931 The Lawless Woman Kitty Adams
1931 Traveling Husbands Mabel
1931 The Galloping Ghost Irene Courtland
1931 Julius Sizzer Cleo Short film
1931 The Pagan Lady Gwen Willis
1931 West of Broadway Maizie
1932 Alias Mary Smith Blossom
1932 Midnight Morals Dora Cobb
1932 Broadway to Cheyenne Mrs. Myrna Wallace
1932 Boy Oh Boy!
1933 The Intruder Daisy
1933 Song of the Eagle Nails' Girl Uncredited
1933 Corruption Mae
1933 Meet the Baron Small role Uncredited
1934 City Park Maizie, the Hooker
1935 Twenty Dollars a Week Ann Seymour
1935 One in a Million Kitty Kennedy Alternative title: Dangerous Appointment
1935 A Night at the Opera Driftwood's Dining Companion Uncredited
1936 Absolute Quiet Western Union Operator Uncredited
1936 How to Behave Restaurant Gossip Short film
Uncredited
1936 Fury Mrs. Fred Garrett Uncredited
1936 Libeled Lady Switchboard Operator Uncredited
1936 My Dear Miss Aldrich Hat Saleswoman Uncredited
1937 Give Till It Hurts Telephone Solicitor Short film
Uncredited
1937 Double Wedding Woman in Crowd Uncredited
1937 A Night at the Movies Cashier Short film
Uncredited
1937 Candid Cameramaniacs Drowzina, Otto's Wife Short film
Uncredited
1937 Mannequin Flo Uncredited
1938 Man-Proof Blonde Woman at Fight Uncredited
1938 Pete Smith Specialty: Penny's Party Herself Short film
1938 Paroled from the Big House Binnie Bell Alternative title: Main Street Girl

Footnotes[edit]

  1. ^ Shipman Springer, John; Hamilton, Jack D. (1974). They Had Faces Then: Super Stars, Stars, and Starlets Of the 1930's. Castle. p. 308. ISBN 0-890-09568-X. 
  2. ^ "Gwen Lee Has Role In "Lone Wolf" Film". The Pittsburgh Press. August 1, 1926. p. 5. Retrieved January 7, 2013. 
  3. ^ "GWEN LEE IN STEADY UP CLIMB". The Los Angeles Times. April 22, 1928. p. C28. 
  4. ^ "Mother Sues Film Actress". The Oakland Tribune. March 11, 1932. p. B7. 
  5. ^ "Incompetency Charge Against Gwen Lee Drops". The Los Angeles Times. April 1, 1932. p. A12. 
  6. ^ "Cloak and Suit House Action Names Gwen Lee". The Los Angeles Times. October 17, 1932. p. A2. 
  7. ^ Doyle, Billy H. (1999). The Ultimate Directory Of Silent and Sound Era Performers: A Necrology Of Actors and Actresses. Scarecrow Press. p. 321. ISBN 0-810-83547-9. 

Sources[edit]

  • The Los Angeles Times, Maytime Will Have Ensemble, August 19, 1923, Page III 37.
  • The Los Angeles Times, Gwen Appears, August 14, 1925, Page A9.
  • The Los Angeles Times, Another Discovery, August 30, 1925, Page D18.
  • The Los Angeles Times, Quartet of Beauties Who Will Vie for Eastern Star Cup, Page B2.
  • The Los Angeles Times, Film Displays Fashions, October 20, 1925, Page A11.
  • The Los Angeles Times, Actress Sued On Clothes Account, May 24, 1932, Page A8.

External links[edit]