Corinne Malvern was born in Virginia. She and her older sister Gladys had a peripatetic childhood with their mother, Cora, a theatrical wardrobe mistress. They became actresses as small children and by their teens were performing in traveling vaudeville shows and working in the growing New York movie industry. By the early 1920s, they had given up acting. Corinne went to boarding school and then studied at the Art Students League of New York. She went to work as a commercial artist and created influential magazine covers, fashion illustrations, and portraits for many years. She served as art editor for Ladies Home Journal. With her sister as writer, she also branched out into children's books. They collaborated on several titles, including Valiant Minstrel (1943), an award-winning biography of Sir Harry Lauder.