Gwen Lee (born Gwendolyn Lepinski; November 12, 1904 – August 20, 1961) was an American stage and film actress. Lee began her career as a model before being discovered and signed to Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. She was typically cast in supporting roles. Lee appeared in over sixty films before retiring in 1938.
November 12, 1904
Hastings, Nebraska, U.S.
|Died||August 20, 1961 (aged 56)|
Reno, Nevada, U.S.
|Other names||Gwendolyn Lee|
Born to Mriette (née Kennedy) and Frank B. Lepinski in Hastings, Nebraska, Lee began her career as a department store model. She was discovered by director Monta Bell while appearing in a stage production. She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in 1925. That same year, she made her film debut in Lady of the Night, starring Norma Shearer. She followed with roles in Pretty Ladies, starring Zasu Pitts, His Secretary, and The Plastic Age, starring Clara Bow. In 1926, Lee was cast in The Lone Wolfe Returns, starring Bert Lytell and Billie Dove.
In 1928, she was named a WAMPAS Baby Star. Lee continued her career with supporting roles in Laugh, Clown, Laugh and The Actress (both 1928). Her career continued for almost a decade into the era of sound motion pictures. Lee played Marjory in Untamed (1929), with Joan Crawford and Robert Montgomery. She appeared again with Crawford and Marie Prevost in the prison drama Paid (1930). In 1931, she was in The Galloping Ghost, with famed football running back Red Grange, and the crime drama, The Lawless Woman, with Vera Reynolds. In 1932, she appeared in the Western Broadway to Cheyenne (1932), with Rex Bell.
By the late 1930s, Lee was appearing in minor film roles most of which were uncredited. Her final film roles were in Man-Proof and Paroled from the Big House, both in 1938.
Lee was sued by her mother, Etta Lepinski, in March 1932. Lee was charged in a petition for guardianship. The suit alleged that Lee was incompetent to handle her affairs, specifically she was incapable of managing her jewelry and personal property, valued in excess of $1,000 (about $17,208 in 2019). The case was filed in Los Angeles, California Superior Court. Lee's mother dropped the suit in April, citing improvement in her daughter's health. Later that same year, Lee was also sued by two clothiers for nonpayment.
On May 4, 1943, she married George Mence, Jr.
|1925||Lady of the Night||Molly's Friend|
|1925||His Secretary||Clara Bayne||Lost film|
|1925||The Plastic Age||Carl's girl||Uncredited|
|1925||Time Flies||An Adventuress||Short film|
Credited as Gwendolyn Lee
|1926||The Boy Friend||Pettie Wilson||Lost film|
|1926||The Lone Wolf Returns||Liane De Lorme|
|1926||There You Are!||Anita Grant||Lost film|
|1927||Women Love Diamonds||Roberta Klein|
|1927||Heaven on Earth||Claire|
|1927||Orchids and Ermine||Ermintrude|
|1927||Twelve Miles Out||Hulda|
|1927||Adam and Evil||Gwen De Vere|
|1927||Her Wild Oat||Daisy|
|1928||Lucky Boy||Mrs. Ellis|
|1928||Laugh, Clown, Laugh||Lucretia|
|1928||The Actress||Avonia||Lost film|
|1928||A Thief in the Dark||Flo|
|1928||Show Girl||Nita Dugan|
|1928||The Baby Cyclone||Jessie|
|1928||A Lady of Chance||Gwen|
|1929||The Duke Steps Out||Uncredited|
|1929||The Man and the Moment||Viola|
|1929||Fast Company||Rosie La Clerq|
|1929||The Hollywood Revue of 1929||Herself|
|1930||Lord Byron of Broadway||Bessie|
|1930||Free and Easy||Participant in Bedroom Scene||Alternative title: Easy Go|
|1930||Our Blushing Brides||A Mannequin|
|1931||The Lawless Woman||Kitty Adams|
|1931||The Galloping Ghost||Irene Courtland|
|1931||Julius Sizzer||Cleo||Short film|
|1931||The Pagan Lady||Gwen Willis|
|1931||West of Broadway||Maizie|
|1932||Alias Mary Smith||Blossom|
|1932||Midnight Morals||Dora Cobb|
|1932||Broadway to Cheyenne||Mrs. Myrna Wallace|
|1932||Boy Oh Boy!|
|1933||Song of the Eagle||Nails' Girl||Uncredited|
|1933||Meet the Baron||Small role||Uncredited|
|1934||City Park||Maizie, the Hooker|
|1935||$20 a Week||Ann Seymour|
|1935||One in a Million||Kitty Kennedy||Alternative title: Dangerous Appointment|
|1935||A Night at the Opera||Driftwood's Dining Companion||Uncredited|
|1936||Absolute Quiet||Western Union Operator||Uncredited|
|1936||How to Behave||Restaurant Gossip||Short film|
|1936||Fury||Mrs. Fred Garrett||Uncredited|
|1936||Libeled Lady||Switchboard Operator||Uncredited|
|1936||My Dear Miss Aldrich||Hat Saleswoman||Uncredited|
|1937||Give Till It Hurts||Telephone Solicitor||Short film|
|1937||Double Wedding||Woman in Crowd||Uncredited|
|1937||A Night at the Movies||Cashier||Short film|
|1937||Candid Cameramaniacs||Drowzina, Otto's Wife||Short film|
|1938||Man-Proof||Blonde Woman at Fight||Uncredited|
|1938||Pete Smith Specialty: Penny's Party||Herself||Short film|
|1938||Paroled from the Big House||Binnie Bell||Alternative title: Main Street Girl|
- Shipman Springer, John; Hamilton, Jack D. (1974). They Had Faces Then: Super Stars, Stars, and Starlets Of the 1930s. Castle. p. 308. ISBN 0-890-09568-X.
- "Gwen Lee Has Role In "Lone Wolf" Film". The Pittsburgh Press. August 1, 1926. p. 5. Retrieved January 7, 2013.
- "GWEN LEE IN STEADY UP CLIMB". The Los Angeles Times. April 22, 1928. p. C28.
- "Mother Sues Film Actress". The Oakland Tribune. March 11, 1932. p. B7.
- "Incompetency Charge Against Gwen Lee Drops". The Los Angeles Times. April 1, 1932. p. A12.
- "Cloak and Suit House Action Names Gwen Lee". The Los Angeles Times. October 17, 1932. p. A2.
- California Marriage Certificate, 5/4/1943.
- Doyle, Billy H. (1999). The Ultimate Directory Of Silent and Sound Era Performers: A Necrology Of Actors and Actresses. Scarecrow Press. p. 321. ISBN 0-810-83547-9.
- The Los Angeles Times, Maytime Will Have Ensemble, August 19, 1923, Page III 37.
- The Los Angeles Times, Gwen Appears, August 14, 1925, Page A9.
- The Los Angeles Times, Another Discovery, August 30, 1925, Page D18.
- The Los Angeles Times, Quartet of Beauties Who Will Vie for Eastern Star Cup, Page B2.
- The Los Angeles Times, Film Displays Fashions, October 20, 1925, Page A11.
- The Los Angeles Times, Actress Sued On Clothes Account, May 24, 1932, Page A8.
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