Patricia Ellis was born Patricia Leftwich on May 20, 1916 in Birmingham, Alabama. By her early teens, Patricia had left school and began a stage career. While appearing on stage in New York City, she was given a film test and signed a contract with Warner Brothers in 1932. After a couple uncredited film appearances she was one of fourteen girls chosen as WAMPAS Baby Stars of 1932. Ginger Rogers, Mary Carlisle, and Gloria Stuart were also chosen that year, Patricia Ellis at age 16 was the youngest. Ellis’s first credited role was in the 1933 film, “The King’s Vacation”, starring George Arliss and Marjorie Gateson. After that film, she stayed busy, starring mostly in lower budget B-movies, but still working steadily. She called herself the ‘Queen of B-Movies’. Ellis would have roles in eight films in 1933, including costarring with James Cagney in “Picture Snatcher”. She averaged seven movies in each of the three following years, 1934, 1935, and 1936. By 1937, Ellis’ career was at it’s peak, starring alongside some of Hollywood’s biggest names, including James Cagney, Ricardo Cortez, and Bela Lugosi. Problem was, all of these movies were second rate features. Over the next three years her film career began to slow down and she would retire from films in 1939 to appear on Broadway in “Louisiana Purchase”.
In 1940 Patricia Ellis married George T. O’Malley, a successful business man from Kansas City, Missouri. She left Hollywood and Broadway behind as she settled into raising a family in Kansas City. Ellis remained married to O’Malley for the rest of her life. Patricia Ellis died from cancer, aged 53, on March 26, 1970, in Kansas City.