Adrian was born in Los Angeles, California. She was raised by her single mother in Los Angeles and was a graduate of Hollywood High School. She won a beauty pageant, worked with the Ziegfeld Follies, and performed with Fred Waring before she entered films at the end of the silent era in Chasing Husbands and appeared as an extra or chorus girl in early sound films, like Paramount on Parade.
During the 1930s, she specialized in playing hard-boiled gals, glamorous gold-diggers, and gangsters' "molls". Her film credits included Lady of Burlesque, The Errand Boy, Calaboose, Spotlight Scandals, The Singing Sheriff, Bluebeard, Alaska, Road to Alcatraz, The Trouble with Women, Flamingo Road, The Lovable Cheat, Mighty Joe Young (1949), My Favorite Spy, The Fast and the Furious, The Buccaneer, Blue Hawaii, and The Odd Couple.
On television, she was a member of the cast of the unsuccessful situation comedy The Ted Knight Show in the spring of 1978, as well as Get Smart, Green Acres, Petticoat Junction, The Munsters, The Love Boat, The Lucy Show, The Beverly Hillbillies, and The Jack Benny Show.
Adrian died in Los Angeles, from injuries sustained during the 1994 Northridge earthquake eight months earlier. Her ashes are within the Columbarium of Radiant Dawn at the Forest Lawn, Hollywood Hills Cemetery in Los Angeles.
- 1965 - That Darn Cat! as the Landlady
- 1968 - The Love Bug as the Carhop
- 1975 - The Apple Dumpling Gang as Poker Polly
- 1980 - Herbie Goes Bananas as the Loud American Wife
- "Iris Adrian".