Gertrude Messinger

Gertrude Dolores Messinger (April 28, 1911 November 8, 1995) was a film actress in the United States known for her B-movie roles from the 1930s through the 1950s. She began as a child actor in silent films, but found her greatest fame in talkies of the 1930s. During her career she appeared in more than 50 motion pictures, with particular success in Westerns.

Gertrude Messinger
As a child actress in Ali Baba and the Forty Thieves (1918)
Gertrude Dolores Messinger

(1911-04-28)April 28, 1911
Spokane, Washington, United States
DiedNovember 8, 1995(1995-11-08) (aged 84)
Other namesGertrude Messenger
Gertie Messinger
OccupationFilm actress
Years active1920s 1950s
Spouse(s)David Sharpe (1932–1936) (divorced)
Henry Walsh Knight (1939–1939) (divorced)
Schuyler Anthony Sanford (1939–1995) (death)


Born in Spokane, Washington, she began acting early, playing child roles in silent films as early as 1917, when she had a role in the film Babes in the Woods. Fellow child actor Buddy Messinger was her brother. Her name was sometimes spelled Gertrude Messenger and she was also known as Gertie Messinger.

During the 1930s her career took off, with significant roles in more than 30 films.[1] Her earliest starring roles were in 1932 when she starred opposite Bob Steele in Riders of the Desert, and opposite Lane Chandler in Lawless Valley. For the remainder of the 1930s, she was fairly active in films. In 1934, she played a major part in arguably her biggest movie Anne of Green Gables, with the starring role being played by actress Dawn O'Day. Her most active year was 1935 when she starred in eight feature films, most notably The Fighting Pilot with Richard Talmadge and Wagon Trail opposite Harry Carey.

In April 1932, the 20-year-old actress fled her fiance and eloped with actor Dave Sharpe.[2] She married cameraman Schuyler Sanford, who later won an Oscar for his work on the film Around the World in 80 Days. Her career slowed considerably in the 1940s, but she continued to act, mostly in uncredited roles. Her last credited role was in the 1949 film Joe Palooka in the Counterpunch. In 1952, she played in her last film, The Greatest Show on Earth, which was uncredited. She appeared in a total of 52 films in her career, 11 of which were Western films. She died of congestive heart failure on November 8, 1995.

Partial filmography


  1. Hanson, Patricia King, ed. (1993). The American Film Institute Catalog: Feature Films, 1931–1940. University of California Press. p. 491. ISBN 9780520079083.
  2. "Film Players Elope" (PDF). The New York Times. AP. April 20, 1932.
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