The archetypal "college coed" type of the 1930s, Mary Carlisle was brought to Hollywood at age four by her recently widowed mother. While eating lunch with her mother at the Universal Pictures commissary, Mary was spotted by Carl Laemmle Jr. and offered a screen test. She was interested, but decided to finish school before launching her film career. She finally stepped before the cameras in the early Cecil B. DeMille talkie Madame Satan (1930); she free-lanced thereafter, appearing in as many as 18 pictures a year. Mary played leads from 1933 onward, notably in a trio of Bing Crosby pictures: College Humor (1933), Double or Nothing (1937) and Doctor Rhythm (1938). During Mary's first decade in Hollywood, her mother became the second wife of industrialist Henry J. Kaiser. Mary herself married New York socialite James Blakely, an erstwhile film actor who later graduated to an executive post at 20th Century-Fox. Mary Carlisle retired from the screen in 1942; seven years later, she began a lengthy second career as the manager of the Elizabeth Arden Salon in Beverly Hills.