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Lee began as a model and was discovered by a casting director. She signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer in August 1925. Almost immediately she was cast in two MGM films, I'll Tell The World and A Little Bit of Broadway, produced by Robert Z. Leonard. At the end of the month, she acted with Mae Murray in The Masked Bride, directed by Christy Cabanne. By September 1925, Lee was selected by MGM officials to represent the Culver City, California studio as a beauty contestant for the Eastern Star Fashion and Home Exposition, which was held in October. Occasionally Gwen appeared in movies only briefly, but received notice for her chic attire. One such instance was in the MGM Edmund Goulding production of Sally, Irene and Mary (1925).
She was a WAMPAS Baby Star in 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. She made a western, Broadway To Cheyenne (1932), with Rex Bell. 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. The then 27-year-old was charged in a petition for guardianship. The suit alleged that she was incompetent to handle her affairs, specifically she was incapable of managing her jewelry and personal property, valued in excess of $1,000. 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. That same year, she was also sued by two clothiers for nonpayment.
Gwen Lee died in Reno, Nevada in 1961.
- 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, Incompetency Charge Against Gwen Lee Drops, April 1, 1932, Page A12.
- The Los Angeles Times, Actress Sued On Clothes Account, May 24, 1932, Page A8.
- The Los Angeles Times, Cloak and Suit House Action Names Gwen Lee, October 17, 1932, Page A2.
- Oakland, California Tribune, Mother Sues Film Actress, Friday Evening, March 11, 1932, Page B7.