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Eva Marie Saint

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Eva Marie Saint
Studio publicity Eva Marie Saint.jpg
Saint in a 1950s promotional photograph
Born (1924-07-04) July 4, 1924 (age 97)
Alma materBowling Green State University
Years active1944–present
(m. 1951; died 2016)

Eva Marie Saint (born July 4, 1924) is an American actress of film, theatre and television. In a career spanning over 75 years, she has received an Academy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award, as well as nominations for a Golden Globe Award and two British Academy Film Awards. She became one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood, upon the death of Olivia de Havilland in 2020, and currently stands as both the oldest living and earliest surviving Academy Award winner.

Born in New Jersey and raised in New York, Saint attended Bowling Green State University and began her career as a television and radio actress in the late 1940s. Among her notable early credits, she originated the role of Thelma in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful (1953), originally an NBC telecast before being adapted into the Tony Award-winning play of the same name. For her performance in the stage version, she won an Outer Critics Circle Award. She made her film debut in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), opposite Marlon Brando. The film, which received eight Oscars, including Best Picture, earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Establishing her as an immediate star, it is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.

From then on, she appeared in a variety of roles, including That Certain Feeling (1956), opposite Bob Hope; Raintree Country (1957), opposite Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor; and Fred Zinnemann's A Hatful of Rain (1957), opposite Don Murray and Anthony Franciosa, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. One of her most notable roles came playing Eve Kendall opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). Widely considered one of the director's best works, it was ranked No. 40 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies, and No. 55 in AFI's 100 Years...100 Movies (10th Anniversary Edition). Throughout the 1960s, Saint sustained a film presence with appearances in Exodus (1960), alongside Paul Newman; The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1965), alongside Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin; The Sandpiper (1965), which reunited her with Elizabeth Taylor and featured Richard Burton; and John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix (1966).

Saint gained consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Single Performance for her appearances in the anthology series The Philco Television Playhouse (1954) and Producers' Showcase (1955). Beginning in the 1970s, her film career began to decline, though she garnered praise for her role opposite George Segal in Loving (1970). She gained additional consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for How the West Was Won (1977) and Taxi!!! (1978), and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for the miniseries People Like Us (1990). Saint returned to film with Nothing in Common (1986), opposite Tom Hanks, and continues to act occasionally, notably in Superman Returns (2006), and voicing Katara in Avatar: The Legend of Korra (2012-14).

Early life

Saint in her cheerleader uniform in high school, 1942
Saint in her cheerleader uniform in high school, 1942

Saint was born in Newark, New Jersey, to Quaker parents:[1] Eva Marie (née Rice) and John Merle Saint.[citation needed] She attended Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, near Albany, graduating in 1942. She was inducted into the high school's hall of fame in 2006. She studied acting at Bowling Green State University and joined Delta Gamma Sorority. During this time she played the lead role in a production of Personal Appearance.[2] A theater on Bowling Green's campus is named after her.[3] She was an active member in the theater honorary fraternity, Theta Alpha Phi,[4] and served as record keeper of the student council in 1944.[5]


Early television career

Saint's introduction to television began as an NBC page.[6] She appeared in the live NBC-TV show Campus Hoopla in 1946–47. Her performances on this program are recorded on rare kinescope, and audio recordings of these telecasts are preserved in the Library of Congress. She also appeared in the Bonnie Maid's Versa-Tile Varieties on NBC in 1949 as one of the original singing "Bonnie Maids" used in the live commercials.

She appeared in a 1947 Life Magazine special about television, and also in a 1949 feature Life article about her as a struggling actress earning minimum amounts from early TV while trying to make ends meet in New York City. In the late 1940s, Saint continued to make her living by extensive work in radio and television. In 1953, she won the Drama Critics Award for her Broadway stage role in the Horton Foote play, The Trip to Bountiful (1953), in which she co-starred with such formidable actors as Lillian Gish and Jo Van Fleet.

In 1955, Saint was nominated for her first Emmy for "Best Actress In A Single Performance" on The Philco Television Playhouse, for playing the young mistress of middle-aged E. G. Marshall in Middle of the Night by Paddy Chayefsky. She won another Emmy nomination for the 1955 television musical version of Our Town, adapted from the Thornton Wilder play of the same name. Co-stars were Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra. Her success and acclaim in TV productions were of such a high level that "One slightly hyperbolic primordial TV critic dubbed her 'the Helen Hayes of television.'"[7]

On the Waterfront

Saint made her feature film debut in On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando and directed by Elia Kazan—a performance for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance in the role of Edie Doyle (whose brother's death sets the film's drama in motion), which she won over such leading contenders as Claire Trevor, Nina Foch, Katy Jurado and Jan Sterling, also earned her a British Academy of Film and Television Award nomination for "Most Promising Newcomer". In his review for The New York Times, film critic A. H. Weiler wrote, "In casting Eva Marie Saint—a newcomer to movies from TV and Broadway—Mr. Kazan has come up with a pretty and blond artisan who does not have to depend on these attributes. Her parochial school training is no bar to love with the proper stranger. Amid scenes of carnage, she gives tenderness and sensitivity to genuine romance."[8] The film was a major success and launched Saint's movie career. She received $7,500 for the role.[9]

In a 2000 interview in Premiere magazine, Saint recalled making the film, which has been highly influential, saying, "[Elia] Kazan put me in a room with Marlon Brando. He said 'Brando is the boyfriend of your sister. You're not used to being with a young man. Don't let him in the door under any circumstances.' I don't know what he told Marlon; you'll have to ask him—good luck! [Brando] came in and started teasing me. He put me off balance. And I remained off balance for the whole shoot." She repeated the anecdote in a 2010 interview.[10]

She appeared alongside Bob Hope in That Certain Feeling (1956) for which she received $50,000.[9] She was then offered $100,000 to star in the lavish Civil War epic Raintree County (1957) with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift.[9] After that, she starred with Don Murray in A Hatful of Rain, the pioneering drug-addiction drama, which although made later than Raintree Country was released earlier in 1957. She received a nomination for the "Best Foreign Actress" award from the British Academy of Film and Television for her performance.[11]

North by Northwest

Saint in North by Northwest, 1959
Saint in North by Northwest, 1959

Director Alfred Hitchcock surprised many by choosing Saint over dozens of other candidates for the femme fatale role in what was to become a suspense classic North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and James Mason. Written by Ernest Lehman, the film updated and expanded upon the director's early "wrong man" spy adventures of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, including The 39 Steps, Young and Innocent, and Saboteur. North by Northwest became a box-office hit and an influence on spy films for decades.[12] The film ranks number forty on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time.[13]

At the time of the film's production, much publicity was gained by Hitchcock's decision to cut Saint's waist-length blonde hair for the first time in her career. Hitchcock explained at the time, "Short hair gives Eva a more exotic look, in keeping with her role of the glamorous woman of my story. I wanted her dressed like a kept woman—smart, simple, subtle and quiet. In other words, anything but the bangles and beads type."[citation needed] The director also worked with Saint to make her voice lower and huskier, and personally chose costumes for her during a shopping trip to Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

The change in Saint's screen persona, coupled with her adroit performance as a seductive woman of mystery who keeps Cary Grant (and the audience) off balance, was widely heralded. In his review of August 7, 1959, The New York Times critic Abe H. Weiler wrote, "In casting Eva Marie Saint as [Cary Grant's] romantic vis-a-vis, Mr. Hitchcock has plumbed some talents not shown by the actress heretofore. Although she is seemingly a hard, designing type, she also emerges both the sweet heroine and a glamorous charmer."[14]

In 2000, recalling her experience making the picture with Cary Grant and Hitchcock, Saint said, "[Grant] would say, 'See, Eva Marie, you don't have to cry in a movie to have a good time. Just kick up your heels and have fun.' Hitchcock said, 'I don't want you to do a sink-to-sink movie again, ever. You've done these black-and-white movies like On the Waterfront. It's drab in that tenement house. Women go to the movies, and they've just left the sink at home. They don't want to see you at the sink.' In a 2010 interview she stated: "I said, 'I can't promise you that, Hitch, because I love those dramas.'"[10]


Saint with Don Murray in A Hatful of Rain (1957)

Although North by Northwest might have propelled her to the top ranks of stardom, Saint chose to limit her film work in order to spend time with her husband since 1951, director Jeffrey Hayden, and their two children. In the 1960s, Saint continued to distinguish herself in both high-profile and offbeat pictures. She co-starred with Paul Newman in Exodus (1960), a historical drama about the founding of the state of Israel adapted from the novel of the same name by Leon Uris. It was directed by Otto Preminger. She also co-starred with Warren Beatty, Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury as a tragic beauty in the drama All Fall Down (1962). Based upon a novel by James Leo Herlihy and a screenplay by William Inge, the film was directed by John Frankenheimer.

She appeared with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the melodrama The Sandpiper for Vincente Minnelli, and with James Garner in the World War II thriller 36 Hours (1965), directed by George Seaton. Saint joined an all-star cast in the comedic satire, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming, directed by Norman Jewison, and the international racing drama, Grand Prix (1966) directed by Frankenheimer and presented in Cinerama.

Saint received some of her best reviews for her performance in Loving (1970), co-starring as the wife of George Segal. The movie was about a commercial artist's relationship with his wife and other women; it was critically acclaimed but did not have wide viewership.

Because of the mostly second-rate film roles that came her way in the 1970s, Saint returned to television and the stage in the 1980s. She appeared in a number of made-for-television films; she played the mother of Cybill Shepherd on the television series Moonlighting, which lasted three years. She received an Emmy nomination for the 1977 miniseries How The West Was Won and a 1978 Emmy nomination for Taxi!!!. She was reunited with On the Waterfront co-star Karl Malden in the television film Fatal Vision, this time as the wife of his character, as he investigated the murder of his daughter and granddaughters.

Later career

Saint returned to the big screen for the first time in over a decade in Nothing in Common (1986), in which she played the mother of Tom Hanks's character; it was directed by Garry Marshall. Critics applauded her return to features.

Saint was soon back on the small screen in numerous projects. After receiving five nominations, she won her first Emmy Award for the 1990 miniseries People Like Us. She appeared in a number of television productions in the 1990s and was cast as the mother of radio producer, Roz Doyle, in a 1999 episode of the comedy series Frasier.

In 2000, Saint returned to feature films in I Dreamed of Africa with Kim Basinger. In 2005, she co-starred with Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard in Don't Come Knocking. Also in 2005, she appeared in the family film Because of Winn-Dixie, co-starring AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, and Cicely Tyson.

In 2006, Saint appeared in Superman Returns as Martha Kent, the adoptive mother of Superman, alongside Brandon Routh and a computer-generated performance from her On the Waterfront co-star Marlon Brando.

She was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards in 2007 for her contributions to western cinema.

Saint has appeared in a number of television specials and documentaries, particularly since 2000. These include The Making of North by Northwest, which she narrated and hosted. In 2009, she made a rare public appearance at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony as a Best Supporting Actress presenter. In 2011, Saint participated in two screenings of North by Northwest with Robert Osborne. The films were shown in Seattle and Cleveland. Saint and Osborne participated in meet-and-greet sessions as well as a pre-movie question and answer session.[citation needed]

Saint has lent her voice to the 2012 Nickelodeon animated series The Legend of Korra, a sequel to the hit TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, playing the now-elderly Katara, a main character from the original series.

In September 2012, she was cast as the adult version of Willa in the film adaptation of the novel Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin.[15] The film was released on Valentine's Day 2014.

Most recently at the age of 93, Saint appeared at the 2018 Academy Award ceremonies to present the award for Costume Design. She received a standing ovation upon entering the stage.

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6624 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television at 6730 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

The duo smiling in formal wear
Saint and her husband, Jeffrey Hayden, at the 1990 Emmy Awards

Saint married producer and director Jeffrey Hayden on October 28, 1951. They had two children together: son Darrell Hayden (born 1955) and daughter Laurette Hayden (born 1958).[16] Their first child, Darrell, was born two days after she won an Academy Award for On the Waterfront.[17] They were married for 65 years until Hayden's death on December 24, 2016, at the age of 90.[18]



Year Title Role Co-star(s) Notes
1954 On the Waterfront Edie Doyle Marlon Brando
1956 That Certain Feeling Dunreath Henry Bob Hope
1957 A Hatful of Rain Celia Pope Don Murray, Anthony Franciosa
Raintree County Nell Gaither Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor
1959 North by Northwest Eve Kendall Cary Grant, James Mason
1960 Exodus Kitty Fremont Paul Newman
1962 All Fall Down Echo O'Brien Warren Beatty, Karl Malden
1965 36 Hours Anna Hedler James Garner
The Sandpiper Claire Hewitt Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton
1966 The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Elspeth Whittaker Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin
Grand Prix Louise Frederickson James Garner, Yves Montand
1968 The Stalking Moon Sarah Carver Gregory Peck
1970 Loving Selma Wilson George Segal
1972 Cancel My Reservation Sheila Bartlett Bob Hope
1986 Nothing in Common Lorraine Basner Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason
1996 Mariette in Ecstasy Mother Saint-Raphael Geraldine O'Rawe Unreleased
2000 I Dreamed of Africa Franca Vincent Perez, Kim Basinger
2005 Don't Come Knocking Howard's mother Sam Shepard
Because of Winn-Dixie Miss Franny Jeff Daniels
2006 Superman Returns Martha Kent Brandon Routh
2014 Winter's Tale Adult Willa Colin Farrell Final role


Year Title Role Notes
1946 Campus Hoopla Commercial spokeswoman TV series
1947 A Christmas Carol N/A Television film
1949 Suspense Francie Episode: "The Comic Strip Murder"
1949 Studio One Edna Baker Episode: "June Moon"
1950–1952 One Man's Family Claudia Barbour Roberts TV series
1950 Prudential Family Playhouse Edith Cortwright / Mabel Episodes: "Dodsworth", "Three Men on a Horse"
1953 The Trip to Bountiful Thelma Television film
1953 Plymouth Playhouse Cousin Lizz Episode: "Jamie"
1953 Martin Kane, Private Eye Sheila Dixon Episode: "Trip to Bermuda"
1953 Goodyear Television Playhouse Frances Barclay Episode: "Wish on the Moon"
1954 Pond's Theater Tina Episode: "The Old Maid"
1954 The Philco Television Playhouse Dorie Wilson / Betty 2 episodes
1954 GE True Theater Maudle Applegate Episode: "The Rider on the Pale Horse"
1955 Producers' Showcase Miss Blake / Emily Webb 2 episodes
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Diane Wescott Episode: "Her School for Bachelors"
1964 A Carol for Another Christmas WAVE Lt. Gibson Television film
1976 The Macahans Kate Macahan Television film
1977 How the West Was Won Kate Macahan 4 episodes
1978 Taxi!!! The Passenger Television film
1978 A Christmas to Remember Emma Larson Television film
1979 When Hell Was in Session Jane Denton Television film
1980 The Curse of King Tut's Tomb Sarah Morrissey Television film
1981 The Best Little Girl in the World Joanne Powell Television film
1981 Splendor in the Grass Mrs. Loomis Television film
1983 Malibu Mary Wharton Television film
1983 Jane Doe Dr. Addie Coleman Television film
1983 The Love Boat Aunt Helena Georgelos 2 episodes
1984 Fatal Vision Mildred Kassab Television miniseries
1984 Love Leads the Way: A True Story Mrs. Eustes Television film
1986 The Last Days of Patton Beatrice Ayer Patton Television film
1986 A Year in the Life Ruth Gardner Television miniseries
1987 Breaking Home Ties Emma Television film
1986–1988 Moonlighting Virginia Hayes 6 episodes
1988 I'll Be Home for Christmas Martha Bundy Television film
1990 Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair Marilyn Klinghoffer Television film
1990 People Like Us Lil Van Degan Altemus Television film
1991 Danielle Steel's 'Palomino' Caroline Lord Television film
1993 Kiss of a Killer Mrs. Wilson Television film
1995 My Antonia Emmaline Burden Television film
1996 After Jimmy Liz Television film
1996 Titanic Hazel Foley Television miniseries
1997 Time to Say Goodbye? Ruth Klooster Television film
1999 Frasier Joanna Doyle Episode: "Our Parents, Ourselves"
2000 Papa's Angels Dori "Grammy" Jenkins Television film
2003 Open House Veronica Reynolds Television film
2012–2014 The Legend of Korra Katara (voice) 6 episodes
2013 Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival Herself Documentary film

Awards and nominations

Year Group Award Film or series Result
1955 Academy Award Best Actress in a Supporting Role On the Waterfront Won
BAFTA Award Most Promising Newcomer to Film On the Waterfront Nominated
Emmy Award Best Actress in a Single Performance The Philco Television Playhouse (Episode: "Middle of the Night") Nominated
1956 Emmy Award Best Actress - Single Performance Producers' Showcase (Episode: "Our Town") Nominated
1958 BAFTA Award Best Foreign Actress A Hatful of Rain Nominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama A Hatful of Rain Nominated
Laurel Awards Top Female Dramatic Performance A Hatful of Rain 3rd Place
1977 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Limited Series How the West Was Won Nominated
1978 Emmy Award Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special Taxi!!! Nominated
1990 Emmy Award Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special People Like Us Won
1999 Ft. Lauderdale International Film Festival Lifetime Achievement Award
2000 Savannah Film and Video Festival Lifetime Achievement Award
2004 San Luis Obispo International Film Festival King Vidor Memorial Award
2007 Golden Boot Awards
2012 2nd Annual Behind the Voice Actors Voice Acting Awards[19] Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role The Legend of Korra (Episodes: "Welcome to Republic City"; "Endgame") Won
2018 Bowling Green State University[3] Lifetime Achievement Award

See also


  1. ^ Shindler, Merrill (May 13, 1990). "Eva Marie Saint Finds TV Full of Contradictions". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  2. ^ "The Key 1944". BGSU Key Yearbooks. January 1, 1944. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Eva Marie Saint receives Lifetime Achievement Award from alma mater". Bowling Green State University. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  4. ^ "Bee Gee News May 30, 1945". BG News (Student Newspaper). May 30, 1945. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  5. ^ "The Key 1944". BGSU Key Yearbooks. January 1, 1944. Retrieved July 24, 2020.
  6. ^ Buckley, Cara (October 14, 2008). "For NBC Pages, 'Please Follow Me' Is a Fervent Wish". The New York Times. p. A23. Retrieved March 26, 2009.
  7. ^ Shindler, Merrill (May 13, 1990). "Eva Marie Saint Finds TV Full of Contradictions". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  8. ^ Weiler, A. H. (July 29, 1954). "Review: On the Waterfront". The New York Times.
  9. ^ a b c "Salary Going Up". Variety. January 11, 1956. p. 4. Retrieved August 25, 2019.
  10. ^ a b Jan 01, Tyler Hayden Fri; 2010 | 6:00am (January 1, 2010). "Talking with Eva Marie Saint, Part II". The Santa Barbara Independent. Retrieved December 29, 2019.
  11. ^ "1958 Film Foreign Actress | BAFTA Awards". Bafta. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  12. ^ Willmetts, Simon (2016). In Secrecy's Shadow: The OSS and CIA in Hollywood Cinema 1941-1979. Edinburgh University Press. p. 192. ISBN 9780748693009.
  13. ^ "AFI's 100 YEARS…100 MOVIES". American Film Institute. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  14. ^ Weiler, Abe H. (August 7, 1959). "Hitchcock Takes Suspenseful Cook's Tour; ' North by Northwest' Opens at Music Hall". The New York Times. Retrieved December 28, 2019.
  15. ^ Fleming, Mike (September 21, 2012). "Akiva Goldsman's 'Winter's Tale' Sets Matt Bomer, Lucy Griffiths, Eva Marie Saint". Deadline Hollywood. Retrieved January 28, 2013.
  16. ^ "Eva Marie Saint biography". TV Guide.
  17. ^ Tyler Hayden (January 1, 2010). "Talking with Eva Marie Saint, Part II". Santa Barbara Independent.
  18. ^ Barnes, Mike (January 3, 2017). "Jeffrey Hayden, TV Director and Husband of Eva Marie Saint, Dies at 90". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved July 23, 2017.
  19. ^ "2nd Annual BTVA Voice Acting Awards 2012". BTVA. Retrieved July 28, 2013.

External links

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