Gladys Gale (January 15, 1891 – October 4, 1948) was an American nightclub singer and vaudeville performer, before becoming a character actress in films during the 1930s and 1940s. The wife of a millionaire, she led a checkered life before dying under mysterious circumstances in a Los Angeles hotel room under an assumed name.
Screen capture of Gale with Moe Howard in the 1938 film short, Violent is the Word for Curly.
January 15, 1891
Monmouth, Illinois, United States
|Died||October 4, 1948 57) (aged|
Los Angeles, California, United States
Life and early career
Born Gladys Lanphere on January 15, 1891, in Monmouth, Illinois, she married millionaire Park Benjamin. During the Prohibition Era she became a nightclub performer in a speakeasy in New York City, also appearing on the vaudeville stage in the late 1920s and early 1930s.
Film career and death
Gale went to Hollywood in 1931, where she made her film debut in RKO's Smart Woman in a small role. She used the stage name of Gladys Gale, instead of her married name, Gladys Benjamin. Over her fifteen year film career, she would appear in over 30 feature films, mostly in smaller roles, with the occasional featured part. Some of her more notable films include: the gangster film, She Couldn't Take It (1934), starring George Raft and Joan Bennett; the Mae West 1936 vehicle, Klondike Annie, in which she played a dance hall girl at the age of 45; Frank Capra's 1938 classic, Mr. Smith Goes to Washington, starring James Stewart, Jean Arthur, and Claude Rains; and the 1942 melodrama, Lady for a Night, starring John Wayne and Joan Blondell. Her final screen appearance would be in a small role in Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946), which starred Gail Russell.
On October 3, 1948, Gale checked into a Los Angeles hotel under an assumed name with a man, calling themselves Mr. and Mrs. Statler. In the morning her body was discovered, nude, with the room trashed. No cause for her death was ever established. Gale is buried in Hollywood Forever Cemetery.
(Per AFI database)
- Smart Woman (1931) - Mrs. Preston - Peggy's Mother
- The Music Box (1932) - Mrs. von Schwarzenhoffen (uncredited)
- Broadway Bill (1934)
- Desirable (1934)
- Wake Up and Dream (1934)
- The Party's Over (1934) - Patron in Art Gallery (uncredited)
- Among the Missing (1934)
- Fugitive Lady (1934)
- Men of the Night (1934)
- The Captain Hates the Sea (1934)
- Circus Shadows (1935)
- A Feather in Her Hat (1935)
- Love Me Forever (1935)
- She Couldn't Take It (1935)
- Carnival (1935)
- Men of the Hour (1935)
- She Married Her Boss (1935)
- Klondike Annie (1936)
- Navy Born (1936)
- Pride of the Marines (1936)
- Dancing Feet (1936)
- Counterfeit (1936)
- 45 Fathers (1937)
- The Devil Is Driving (1937)
- I Promise to Pay (1937)
- Find the Witness (1937)
- Up the River (1938)
- Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939) - Committee Woman (uncredited)
- Joan of Ozark (1942)
- Lady for a Night (1942)
- So's Your Uncle (1943)
- An Angel Comes to Brooklyn (1945)
- Billy Rose's Diamond Horseshoe (1945)
- Our Hearts Were Growing Up (1946)
- Resting Places
- New York Daily News'
- "Smart Woman". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Mae West: Gladys Gale". Mae West Blog. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Gladys Gale". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "She Couldn't Take It". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Klondike Annie". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Mr. Smith Goes to Washington". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Lady for a Night". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.
- "Our Hearts Were Growing Up". American Film Institute. Retrieved February 10, 2015.