Brown was born in San Francisco, California. She graduated from the University of Southern California and later attended the American Theater Wing in New York City. Her first soap role was on From These Roots in 1959, taking over for leading actress Ann Flood. She later had regular roles on the short-lived soaps The Young Marrieds, Bright Promise and Return to Peyton Place, playing Constance MacKenzie.
In 1977, Brown joined the cast of General Hospital as Dr. Gail Adamson Baldwin, Monica Webber's foster mother who married widowed attorney Lee Baldwin (Peter Hansen). In 1979, Brown was nominated for a Daytime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress. She left the series on December 12, 1985, and made occasional appearances from 1989-1990 before returning on September 30, 1992 on a recurring status.
In between stints, she played Victoria Lane's mother, Janet, on Santa Barbara and businesswoman Adelaide Fitzgibbons (who was romantically involved with the much younger Kirk Anderson (Tom Wiggin) on As the World Turns). When GH's spin-off Port Charles began, the Baldwins were established as the core family, although once Kin Shriner (who played Scott Baldwin) returned to GH, their appearances were reduced. Brown, however, continued to be seen on occasion for special events on both shows. Along with Peter Hansen, she made her final appearance in 2004 in an episode honoring the late Anna Lee, who played Lila Quartermaine, whose character was also killed off.
Along with her soap career, Brown performed on Broadway, primetime television, and films. She guest starred on Death Valley Days, Kojak, Marcus Welby, M.D., Barney Miller, Hotel, Beverly Hills, 90210, and Frasier. She was a regular cast member on the short-lived ABC legal drama, Mariah in 1987.