Slim, sloe-eyed, dark-haired actress Gail Patrick was once the 21-year-old Dean of women students at her alma mater of Howard College, and briefly studied law at University of Alabama. She was brought to Paramount during that studio's nationwide contest to find an actress to play "the Panther Woman" in Island of Lost Souls (1932). Patrick lost this role to Kathleen Burke, but won a Paramount contract, and co-starred in the studio's horror film follow-up to Island of Lost Souls, 1933's Murders in the Zoo. She played several leading roles -- including a lady lawyer in Disbarred (1939) -- but was more effective as a villainess or "other woman"; her elegant truculence was one of the highlights of the 1936 screwball comedy My Man Godfrey. Patrick's third husband was Thomas Cornwall Jackson, literary agent of Perry Mason creator Erle Stanley Gardner. Retired from acting since 1948, Patrick and her husband co-produced the popular Perry Mason TV series, which ran from 1957 through 1966. She made a brief return to acting as a judge in the final Mason episode, which also featured Erle Stanley Gardner himself in a bit role. After her 1969 divorce from Jackson, Patrick attempted to revive Paul Mason for television in 1973, but Monte Markham proved an inadequate substitute for Raymond Burr. Gail Patrick Jackson died of leukemia in 1980.
by Hal Erickson biography