Lee Patrick (November 22, 1901 – November 21, 1982) was an American theater and film actress.
Early life and education
Born in New York City, Patrick began acting on Broadway in 1924. For more than a decade, she was constantly employed and established herself as a popular actress. She appeared in the original 1929 production of June Moon by George S. Kaufman and Ring Lardner and reprised her role in the 1933 revival.
Her success in Stage Door (1937) led her to Hollywood to reprise her role in the film version. Eventually the part was rewritten and split from a single character into two characters which were played by Katharine Hepburn and Ginger Rogers. Patrick had made her film debut in 1929, but since that time, had not appeared in a single film, and RKO was reluctant to cast an unknown actress for a film which they were beginning to realize had great potential. Her disappointments continued when she was considered and then rejected for the lead role in Stella Dallas (1937) in favor of Barbara Stanwyck.
Her difficulties in establishing a career as a leading actress were often attributed to a long-standing feud Patrick had with gossip columnist Louella Parsons. Patrick's husband, Tom Wood, a journalist and author of The Lighter Side of Billy Wilder, once wrote a magazine article which was very critical of Parsons.
She remained in Hollywood, and appeared in Border Cafe (1937). Over the next several years she played numerous supporting roles, without attracting much critical attention. Patrick appeared inThe Maltese Falcon (1941) as Effie Perine, the loyal and quick-thinking secretary of Humphrey Bogart's Sam Spade. Perine was one of Patrick's most enduring film characterisations. That same year, she appeared in a leading role as an intelligent, crime-solving nurse in The Nurse's Secret.
Among her other films are The Sisters (1938), Now, Voyager (1942), Mrs. Parkington (1944), Gambler's Choice (1944), Mildred Pierce (1945), Wake Up and Dream (1946), Caged (1950), There's No Business Like Show Business (1954), Vertigo (1958), Auntie Mame (1958), Pillow Talk (1959), Summer and Smoke (1961), and 7 Faces of Dr. Lao (1964).
Her final film role was a reprise of her Effie Perine character in a reworking of the Sam Spade story The Black Bird. Starring George Segal as Sam Spade, Jr., forced to continue his father's work, and to keep his increasingly sarcastic secretary, the film attempted to turn its revered predecessor into a comedy.
Patrick appeared on television in the CBS situation comedy Topper (1953–1955) with Leo G. Carroll, Anne Jeffreys, and Robert Sterling. She made several appearances as the mother of Ida Lupino in the CBS sitcom Mr. Adams and Eve (1957–1958), also starring Howard Duff, Lupino's third husband. In 1963, she appeared as Aunt Wilma Howard in the episode "Skeleton in the Closet" of Walter Brennan's CBS sitcom The Real McCoys.
Patrick died suddenly from a heart seizure on the day before her 81st birthday, at Laguna Beach, California.
After her death it was discovered that she was ten years older than she had ever revealed. Shaving a decade off her age was a decision she made early in her career, and at the time of her death, many of her friends believed that she was in her early seventies.