She gained fame for playing the lead in the 1929 films Pandora's Box and Diary of a Lost Girl. She also appeared in the 1930 film Prix de Beauté.
She was a talented pianist and dancer who joined a modern dance company based in Los Angeles.
She became a respected film writer in her own right after her retirement from acting, publishing her own collection, Lulu, in Hollywood, in 1982.
Her sexuality was much speculated-on due to her admission that she had several dalliances with women, including actress
Her last film was 1938's Overland Stage riders co-starring John Wayne.