Gertrude Michael

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Gertrude Michael
Gertrude Michael Argentinean Magazine AD.jpg
Gertrude Michael in July 1935
Lillian Gertrude Michael

(1911-06-01)June 1, 1911
DiedDecember 31, 1964(1964-12-31) (aged 53)
Hollywood, California, U.S.
Other namesBeck Michael [1]
Years active1932–1961

Lillian Gertrude Michael (June 1, 1911 – December 31, 1964) was an American film, stage and television actress.



Michael was born in Talladega, Alabama to Carl H. Michael and his spouse. [1] . She graduated from Talladega High school at the age of 14. [2] In her youth, she played piano and organ, and she began Little Theatres in two communities. [3] She became a singer on the radio.

Michael attended the University of Alabama, where she studied law, and Converse College, Spartanburg, South Carolina, pursuing a study of music. Then she went to the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music to continue studying music. Her work there earned her a scholarship for studying five years in Italy. [2]

In 1929 in Cincinnati she made her stage debut in the Stuart Walker stock theater company. [1] She subsequently appeared on Broadway in Rachel Crothers' Caught Wet (1931). She entered the movies playing Richard Arlen's fiancée in Wayward (1932), but her best-remembered role is probably either as Rita Ross in Murder at the Vanities (1934), one of the last pre-Code films, in which she sang an ode to marijuana ("Sweet Marijuana"), or as Alica Hatton, the snooty society girl in the Mae West comedy I'm No Angel (1933).

In 1937, Michael returned to the stage at the Cape Play House in Dennis, Massachusetts, with the lead in Damn Deborah. [4]

Among her television appearances, Michael was seen on Fireside Theater eleven times between 1950 and 1955 and three times on Schlitz Playhouse . She also made a guest appearance on Perry Mason in 1958 as Helen Rucker in "The Case of the Sun Bather's Diary".

Personal life

Michael had an affair with writer Paul Cain (aka Peter Ruric). After they broke up, Cain, in his novel, Fast One, based the character of the alcoholic lover on Michael. [5]

Michael died on December 31, 1964, aged 53, in her Hollywood home. [6]




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  1. 1 2 3 Smith, Hugh Frank (February 19, 1933). "Beck Michael Makes Advance in Screen Work". The Anniston Star. Alabama, Anniston. p. 7. Retrieved June 18, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  2. 1 2 Williams, Whitney (December 16, 1934). "A New Queen Rules Movie Melodrama". Oakland Tribune. California, Oakland. p. 63. Retrieved June 18, 2016 via Open Access logo PLoS transparent.svg
  3. Wales, Clarke (October 18, 1936). "Talledega, Hollywood". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. p. Screen & Radio Weekly 5. Retrieved January 12, 2020 via
  4. "Play at Dennis, Mass" . The New York Times. August 17, 1937. p. 23. Retrieved May 14, 2022.
  5. Cain, Paul; Dralyuk, Boris; Deutsch, Keith Alan (December 17, 2013). The Paul Cain Omnibus: Every Crime Story and the Novel Fast One as Originally Published. ISBN   9789049980689.
  6. "Gertrude Michael, Film Actress Who Starred in 1930's, Is Dead" . The New York Times. Associated Press. January 2, 1965. p. 19. Retrieved May 14, 2022.