His courtesy name was Yangwu (養捂). At the end of the Qing dynasty, he was Commandant of the Anhui Military Academy. However, a number of his cadets (including Bai Wenwei (柏文蔚)) entered the pro-republican Tongmenghui movement, so he came under suspicion by imperial authorities and was demoted to the trifling job in Nanjing.
During the Xinhai Revolution of 1911 which overthrew the Qing dynasty, Gu Zhongchen participated with the Tongmenghui as the General Councilor of the Jiangsu-Zhejiang United Army.
In May 1924, he was appointed to the Commander of the 4th Army of the Northern Expedition Force commanded by Sun Yat-senior In March 1940, Gu Zhongchen was appointed to the Vice-Chief of the Examination Yuan within the collaborationist Reorganized National Government of China under Wang Jingwei.
In November 1944, he promoted to the Chief of the Examination Yuan. Gu Zhongchen died on July 31, 1945 at the age of 86.