How Gail Patrick Jackson went from a retired actress to a powerful Perry Mason producer

"Finally, I couldn't stand it."

Everett Collection

Gail Patrick Jackson was a force of nature during the production of Perry Mason. Jackson served as executive producer of the series alongside her husband, Cornwell Jackson. But before she met her husband, Gail had some experience in the entertainment industry as an actress, a job that she had fallen into after her day-to-day routine grew dull.

Patrick spoke to the Parade West Coast about her journey to fame.

"I had graduated from college and had completed two years of law school in Alabama before I won a beauty contest and came to Hollywood," Patrick said. "And I guess I represent, in a way, every educated woman who feels that housework, once the children go off to school, is simply not too stimulating."

"I found I had time on my hands, so I sat around watching daytime TV," she continued. "One afternoon I got so fed up with it that I went out and joined a bridge club. That was even worse. Finally, I couldn't stand it, so I said to myself, 'Gail, you'll just have to find a job.'"

Though she worked as an actress for several years, Gail Patrick Jackson later retired before forming the Paisano Production Company with her husband.

Included in the company's productions was the CBS adaptation of Perry Mason. Cornwell himself was the one who came up with the idea for his wife to serve as executive producer for the series, citing her previous work in the entertainment industry. "With her experience in films, Gail was a natural," he said.

Gail's husband's pride in her was contagious. Star of Perry Mason, Raymond Burr, only had kind things to say about his executive producer.

"She is the most fabulous woman I know," Burr said. "She's not only a great success as a wife, actress, producer, and woman, but she's extremely well-liked by every member of this company. She never orders, only suggests. She never raises her voice, never pulls rank. I tell you this. If she weren't happily married, I'd propose to her in the morning. She is the closest thing to a dream I've met in this business."

But out of all of those pleased with her career change, Gail was, without a doubt, the most ecstatic. "This way, I'm the happiest woman in the world," she said.

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10 Comments

cperrynaples 1 month ago
Well, we all know that even if Jackson were single, Burr would NEVER propose to her...LOL!
BorisK cperrynaples 1 month ago
He did however propose to Cesar Romero and later, Richard Deacon.
FLETCH 1 month ago
Look's like Raymond's had a few drinks in this picture 🥴
BorisK FLETCH 1 month ago
Burr is Buzzed, no doubt.
MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
She played a snobby sister in “My Man Godfrey”. Does anyone think Raymond Burr looks a bit loaded?
BorisK MrsPhilHarris 1 month ago
100%. The defense rests.
Runeshaper 1 month ago
Perry Mason is an AMAZING show! Gail did good and I'm glad that she found her way to happiness (-:
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