During the 1930s she specialised in playing hard-boiled, glamorous gold-diggers and gangsters' "molls," and played supporting roles in numerous features. She was considered a versatile actress, who could play drama or comedy, as well as a capable dancer, dancing in several films with George Raft. Adrian played "Gee-Gee Graham" in Lady of Burlesque and a similar role opposite Betty Hutton in The Stork Club. In the Jerry Lewis comedy,The Errand Boy, she played a glamorous movie star named "Anastasia Anastasia", whose on-set birthday party is wrecked by Lewis's shenanigans. "Play it like you're Lana Turner", Lewis told Adrian. She also appeared on several radio programs, including serving as a regular on the Abbott and Costello Show.
She acted regularly, albeit without achieving star status, and by the end of the 1960s had appeared in more than one hundred films. In her later years she appeared in several Walt Disney films, including That Darn Cat!, The Love Bug, The Shaggy D.A., and Freaky Friday. Disney director Robert Stevenson considered Adrian his "good-luck charm." She also played numerous guest roles in television series such as Get Smart, The Beverly Hillbillies, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, The Munsters, The Love Boat, The Lucy Show and The Jack Benny Show.
She was married three times, the first time to Charles Over from 1935 to 1936; that marriage ended in divorce. Her second marriage, to George Jay, also ended in divorce. Her third and final marriage was to Ray Murphy, and lasted more than 30 years until his death in 1983. None of the marriages produced children.
Adrian died in Los Angeles, from injuries she sustained during the 1994 Northridge earthquake eight months earlier, and was entombed at Forest Lawn - Hollywood Hills Cemetery.