Gertrude Michael was born in Talladega, Alabama, on June 1, 1911. After graduating from high school, she appeared on radio, as a musician and "Home Arts" advisor. A piano prodigy, she dropped out of the Cincinnati Conservatory of Music at age 18 to pursue acting. It was in Cincinnati, in 1929, that she made her stage debut in a stock company headed by Stuart Walker. She subsequently appeared on Broadway in Rachel Crothers's "Caught Wet" (1931). She entered the movies playing Richard Arlen's fiancée in Wayward (1932). Arguably her best remembered role is the jealous "Rita Ross" of Murder at the Vanities (1934). She died in Hollywood on December 31, 1964, having never married. She was interred at the Chapel of the Pines Crematory, Los Angeles, California.