Gertrude Michael

Gertrude Michael
Born Lillian Gertrude Michael
(1911-06-01)June 1, 1911
Talladega, Alabama, U.S.
Died December 31, 1964(1964-12-31) (aged 53)
Beverly Hills, California, U.S.
Occupation actress
Years active 1932–1961

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


The daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Carl H. Michael,[1] she was born Lillian Gertrude Michael in Talladega, Alabama. She graduated from Talladega High school at the age of 14.[2] 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]

Her childhood home in Talladega, Alabama was destroyed by fire in 2007.

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 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).

Among her television appearances, Michael was seen eleven times on Fireside Theater between 1950-1955 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."

She had an affair with writer Paul Cain (aka Peter Ruric). After they broke up, Cain wrote the role of the alcoholic lover (based on Michael) in his only novel published during his lifetime, Fast One.

Michael died, aged 53, from undisclosed causes, in Beverly Hills, California.

Partial filmography

Television appearances


  1. 1 2 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
  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
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