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Lillian Gertrude Michael
June 1, 1911
Talladega, Alabama, U.S.
|Died||December 31, 1964 53) (aged|
Hollywood, California, U.S.
|Other names||Beck Michael|
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.. She graduated from Talladega High school at the age of 14. In her youth, she played piano and organ, and she began Little Theatres in two communities. 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.
In 1929 in Cincinnati she made her stage debut in the Stuart Walker stock theater company.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.
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".
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.
Michael died on December 31, 1964, aged 53, in her Hollywood home.
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