Born Margaret Fitzpatrick, she briefly attended law school after college. Serving as a dean at Howard College in 1932, she was a finalist in a Paramount-sponsored "Panther Woman" contest; she lost, but in the meantime moved to Hollywood and got signed to a film contract. She played leads and second leads in many films, and was especially impressive in aloof, world-weary, sometimes nasty "other woman" roles. She retired from the screen in 1948. Married to the literary agent of the creator of Perry Mason, in the '50s she and her husband initiated the successful Perry Mason TV series and she became its executive producer. She was well-respected in Hollywood for her charitable activities, which included her national chairmanship of the Christmas Seal campaign and the American Diabetes Association.