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Eve Arden
Arden in 1972, by Allan Warren
Eunice Mary Quedens

(1908-04-30)April 30, 1908
DiedNovember 12, 1990(1990-11-12) (aged 82)
Resting placeWestwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
  • Actress
  • comedian
Years active1929–1987
Edward Grinnell Bergen
(m. 1939; div. 1947)
Brooks West
(m. 1952; died 1984)
Anthony George and Arden in "Death by Design", Checkmate (1961)
Arden in Comrade X (1940)

Eve Arden (born Eunice Mary Quedens, April 30, 1908 – November 12, 1990) was an American film, radio, stage and television actress. She performed in leading and supporting roles for nearly six decades.

Beginning her film career in 1929 and on Broadway in the early 1930s, Arden's first major role was in the RKO Radio Pictures drama Stage Door (1937) opposite Katharine Hepburn, followed by roles in the comedies Having Wonderful Time (1938) and At the Circus (1939). She received an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945).

Somewhat surprisingly for an actress of Arden's refinement and wit, she appeared to good effect in a number of films noir, some exceptionally high-profile, including Mildred Pierce, The Unfaithful (1947), The Arnelo Affair (1947), Whiplash (1948), and Anatomy of a Murder (1959).

Later in her career, Arden moved to television, playing a sardonic but engaging high school teacher in Our Miss Brooks, for which she won the first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series. She also played the maternity ward nurse in Bewitched and the school principal in the film musicals Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982).

YouTube Encyclopedic

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  • THREE HUSBANDS (1951) | Eve Arden | Ruth Warrick | Full Length Comedy Movie | English
  • What's My Line - Eve Arden (1955)


Early life

Eve Arden was born Eunice Mary Quedens on April 30, 1908, in Mill Valley, California,[1][2][3] to Charles Peter Quedens, the son of Charles Henry Augustus Quedens and Eunice Meta Dierks, and Lucille Frank, the daughter of Bernard Frank and Louisa Mertens. Lucille, a milliner, divorced Charles over his gambling and went into business for herself.[4]

Although not Catholic, young Eunice was sent to a Dominican convent school in San Rafael, California. She then attended Tamalpais High School, a public high school in Mill Valley, until age 16. After leaving school, she joined the stock theater company of Henry "Terry" Duffy.[5]



She made her film debut under her real name in the backstage musical Song of Love (1929), as a wisecracking, homewrecking showgirl who becomes a rival to the film's star, singer Belle Baker.[6] The film was one of Columbia Pictures' earliest successes. In 1933, she relocated to New York City, where she had supporting parts in several Broadway stage productions.[6] In 1934, she was cast in the Ziegfeld Follies revue, the first role where she was credited as Eve Arden. When she was told to adopt a stage name for the show, Arden looked at her cosmetics and "stole my first name from Evening in Paris, and the second from Elizabeth Arden".[7] Between 1934 and 1941, she appeared in Broadway productions of Parade, Very Warm for May, Two for the Show, and Let's Face It!.[8]

Arden's film career began in earnest in 1937 when she signed a contract with RKO Radio Pictures[9] and appeared in the films Oh Doctor and Stage Door. Her Stage Door portrayal of a fast-talking, witty supporting character gained Arden considerable notice and was a template for many of Arden's future roles.[7][10]

In 1938, she played a supporting part in the comedy Having Wonderful Time, starring Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.[11] This was followed by roles in the crime film The Forgotten Woman (1939),[12] and the Marx Brothers comedy At the Circus (1939), a role that required her to perform acrobatics.[13]

In 1940, she appeared in support of Clark Gable and Hedy Lamarr in Comrade X, followed by support in the drama Manpower (1941) opposite Marlene Dietrich, Edward G. Robinson and George Raft.[6] She also had a supporting part in the Red Skelton comedy Whistling in the Dark (1941)[14] and the romantic comedy Obliging Young Lady (1942).[15]

Her many memorable screen roles include a supporting role as Joan Crawford's wise-cracking friend in Mildred Pierce (1945), for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress; as a catty cousin turned peacemaker in The Unfaithful (1947); and as James Stewart's wistful but wry secretary in Otto Preminger's mystery Anatomy of a Murder (1959) (which also featured her husband, Brooks West). In 1946, exhibitors voted her the sixth-most promising "star of tomorrow".[16]

Arden became familiar to a new generation of filmgoers when she played Principal McGee in Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982). Arden was known for her deadpan comedic delivery.[17]

Radio and television

Groucho Marx and Eve Arden in a scene from At the Circus (1939)

Arden's ability with witty scripts made her a natural talent for radio. She was a regular on Danny Kaye's short-lived but memorably zany comedy-variety show in 1946, which also featured swing bandleader Harry James and gravel-voiced character actor-comedian Lionel Stander.[18]

The additional exposure of Arden's comic talent on Kaye's show led to her best-known role, that of Madison High School English teacher Connie Brooks in Our Miss Brooks. Arden portrayed the character on radio from 1948 to 1957, in a television version of the program from 1952 to 1956, and in a 1956 feature film. Her character clashed with the school's principal, Osgood Conklin (played by Gale Gordon) and nursed an unrequited crush on fellow teacher Philip Boynton (played originally by future film star Jeff Chandler; and later on radio and TV by Robert Rockwell). Except for Chandler, the entire radio cast of Arden, Gordon, Richard Crenna (Walter Denton), Robert Rockwell (Mr. Philip Boynton), Gloria McMillan (Harriet Conklin) and Jane Morgan (landlady Margaret Davis) played the same roles on TV.[citation needed]

Arden's portrayal of Miss Brooks was so popular that she was made an honorary member of the National Education Association, received a 1952 award from the Teachers College of Connecticut's Alumni Association "for humanizing the American teacher", and even received teaching job offers.[17] Her well-established wisecracking, deadpan character ultimately became her public persona as a comedienne.[17]

With the Armed Forces Radio Service, 1940s

She won a listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top-ranking comedienne of 1948–1949, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this (award) two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. She was also a hit with the critics: A winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.[19]

Arden had a very brief guest appearance in a 1955 I Love Lucy episode titled "L.A. at Last", where she played herself. While awaiting their food at the Brown Derby, Lucy Ricardo (Lucille Ball) and Ethel Mertz (Vivian Vance) argue over whether a certain portrait on a nearby wall is Shelley Winters or Judy Holliday. Lucy urges Ethel to ask a lady occupying the next booth, who turns and replies, "Neither. That's Eve Arden." As Ethel realizes she just spoke to Arden herself, Arden passes Lucy and Ethel's table to leave the restaurant while the pair gawk.[citation needed]

Arden with her Emmy Award for Our Miss Brooks, February 11, 1954

Desilu Productions, jointly owned by Desi Arnaz and Ball during their marriage, was the production company for the Our Miss Brooks television show, filmed during the same years as I Love Lucy. Ball and Arden met when they costarred in the film Stage Door in 1937. Ball, according to numerous radio historians, suggested Arden for Our Miss Brooks after Shirley Booth auditioned for but failed to land the role and Ball—committed at the time to My Favorite Husband—could not.[20]

Arden tried another series for CBS in the fall of 1957, The Eve Arden Show, but it was canceled in spring of 1958 after 26 episodes. In 1966, she played Nurse Kelton in an episode of Bewitched. She later costarred with Kaye Ballard as her neighbor and in-law, Eve Hubbard, in the 1967–1969 NBC situation comedy The Mothers-in-Law, produced by Arnaz after the dissolution of Desilu Productions.[21] In her later career, Arden made appearances on such television shows as Bewitched, Alice, Maude, Hart to Hart, and Falcon Crest. In 1985, she appeared as the wicked stepmother in the Faerie Tale Theatre production of Cinderella.[citation needed]


Arden was one of many actresses to take on the title roles in Hello, Dolly! and Auntie Mame in the 1960s; in 1967, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theater.[22] In 1983, Arden was cast as the leading lady in what was to be her Broadway comeback, Moose Murders, but she withdrew and was replaced with the much younger Holland Taylor after one preview performance, citing "artistic differences". The show went on to open and close on the same night, becoming known a legendary flop in Broadway history.[23]

Personal life

Arden was married to Edward Grinnell "Ned" Bergen 1939–47[24] and reportedly had a long relationship with Danny Kaye through the 1940s (likely starting from their Broadway work on Let's Face It! in 1941).[25][26] Arden was married to actor Brooks West from 1952 until his death in 1984 from a brain hemorrhage at age 67. She adopted her first child with Bergen and a second child as a single mother after her divorce from him; she adopted her third child with West and gave birth to her youngest (with West) at age 46 in 1954. All four children survived their parents.[7]


On November 12, 1990, Arden died at home at age 82. According to her death certificate, she died of cardiac arrest and arteriosclerotic heart disease.[27] She is buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.[28]


Arden published an autobiography, The Three Phases of Eve, in 1985. In addition to her Academy Award nomination, Arden has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: Radio and Television (see List of stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for addresses). She was inducted into the National Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.[29]



Year Title Role Notes
1929 Song of Love Maisie LeRoy
1933 Dancing Lady Marcia Uncredited
1937 Oh, Doctor Shirley Truman
1937 Stage Door Eve
1938 Cocoanut Grove Sophie De Lemma
1938 Having Wonderful Time Henrietta
1938 Letter of Introduction Cora Phelps
1939 Women in the Wind Kit Campbell
1939 Big Town Czar Susan Warren
1939 The Forgotten Woman Carrie Ashburn
1939 Eternally Yours Gloria
1939 At the Circus Peerless Pauline
1939 A Child Is Born Miss Pinty
1939 Slightly Honorable Miss Ater
1940 She Couldn't Say No Alice Hinsdale
1940 Comrade X Jane Wilson
1940 No, No, Nanette Kitty
1941 That Uncertain Feeling Sally Aikens
1941 Ziegfeld Girl Patsy Dixon
1941 She Knew All the Answers Sally Long
1941 San Antonio Rose Gabby Trent
1941 Whistling in the Dark 'Buzz' Baker
1941 Manpower Dolly
1941 Last of the Duanes Kate
1941 Sing for Your Supper Barbara Stevens
1941 Bedtime Story Virginia Cole
1942 Obliging Young Lady 'Space' O'Shea - AKA Suwanee Rivers
1943 Hit Parade of 1943 Belinda Wright Alternative title: Change of Heart
1943 Let's Face It Maggie Watson
1944 Cover Girl Cornelia Jackson
1944 The Doughgirls Sgt. Natalia Moskoroff
1945 Pan-Americana Helen 'Hoppy' Hopkins
1945 Earl Carroll Vanities 'Tex' Donnelly
1945 Patrick the Great Jean Matthews
1945 Mildred Pierce Ida Corwin
1946 My Reputation Ginna Abbott
1946 The Kid from Brooklyn Ann Westley
1946 Night and Day Gabrielle
1947 The Unfaithful Paula
1947 The Arnelo Affair Vivian Delwyn
1947 Song of Scheherazade Madame de Talavera
1947 The Voice of the Turtle Olive Lashbrooke
1948 One Touch of Venus Molly Stewart
1948 Whiplash Chris Sherwood
1949 My Dream Is Yours Vivian Martin
1949 The Lady Takes a Sailor Susan Wayne
1950 Paid in Full Tommy Thompson
1950 Curtain Call at Cactus Creek Lily Martin
1950 Tea for Two Pauline Hastings
1950 Three Husbands Lucille McCabe
1951 Goodbye, My Fancy Miss 'Woody' Woods
1951 Two Tickets to Broadway Showgirl
1952 We're Not Married! Katie Woodruff
1953 The Lady Wants Mink Gladys Jones
1956 Our Miss Brooks Connie Brooks
1959 Anatomy of a Murder Maida Rutledge
1960 The Dark at the Top of the Stairs Lottie Lacey
1965 Sergeant Deadhead Lt. Charlotte Kinsey
1975 The Strongest Man in the World Harriet Crumply
1978 Grease Principal McGee
1981 Under the Rainbow The Duchess
1982 Pandemonium Warden June
1982 Grease 2 Principal McGee (final film appearance)


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Starlight Theatre Julie Todd "Julie"
1952–1956 Our Miss Brooks Connie Brooks Main role (130 episodes)
1955 I Love Lucy Herself (cameo) "Hollywood at Last"
1957–1958 The Eve Arden Show Liza Hammond Main role (26 episodes)
1959–1967 The Red Skelton Show Clara Appleby Recurring role (6 episodes)
1961 Checkmate Georgia Golden "Death by Design"
1962 My Three Sons Marisa Montaine "A Holiday for Tramp"
1964 Vacation Playhouse Claudia Cooper "He's All Yours"
1965 Laredo Emma Bristow "Which Way Did They Go?"
1966 Bewitched Nurse Kelton "And Then There Were Three"
1966 Run for Your Life Mame Huston "Who's Watching the Fleshpot?"
1966 The Man from U.N.C.L.E. Prof. Lillian Stemmler "The Minus-X Affair"
1967 The Danny Thomas Hour Thelda Cunningham "The Royal Follies of 1933"
1967–1969 The Mothers-in-Law Eve Hubbard Main role (56 episodes)
1969 In Name Only Aunt Theda Reeson TV film
1972 A Very Missing Person Hildegarde Withers TV film
1972 All My Darling Daughters Miss Freeling TV film
1974 The ABC Afternoon Playbreak Mrs. Owens "Mother of the Bride"
1974 The Girl with Something Extra Aunt Fran "The Greening of Aunt Fran"
1974 Owen Marshall, Counselor at Law Dr. Lucille Barras "Subject: The Sterilization of Judy Simpson"
1975 Harry and Maggie Maggie Sturdivant TV pilot
1975 Ellery Queen Vera Bethune / Miss Aggie "The Adventure of Miss Aggie's Farewell Performance"
1977 Maude Lola Ashburn "Maude's Aunt"
1978 A Guide for the Married Woman Employment lady TV film
1978 Flying High Clarissa 'Wedgie' Wedge "It Was Just One of Those Days"
1979 Vega$ Sarah Bancroft "Design for Death"
1980 The Dream Merchants Coralee TV miniseries
1980 Alice Martha MacIntire "Alice in TV Land"
1980 The Love Boat Ms. Brenda Watts "The Affair: Parts 1 & 2"
1980 B. J. and the Bear Mrs. Jarvis "The Girls of Hollywood High"
1980 Hart to Hart Sophie Green "Does She or Doesn't She?"
1981 Nuts and Bolts Martha Fenton TV film
1983 Great Performances Queen of Hearts "Alice in Wonderland"
1983 Masquerade Mrs. Woodman "Diamonds"
1985 Faerie Tale Theatre The Stepmother "Cinderella"
1986 Amazing Stories Jane's Mother "Secret Cinema"
1987 Falcon Crest Lillian Nash "Manhunt" (final TV appearance)

Select stage credits


  1. ^ Census records from 1910 and 1920 (the earliest records found on Arden) as well as the Social Security Death Index (568-03-2856 Archived 2016-06-02 at the Wayback Machine) support 1909 as her year of birth, as does a travel manifest from 1953, giving her age as 44. However, her death certificate (#39019050699, County of Los Angeles Registrar-Recorder/County Clerk in the name of Eve Arden West) Archived 2021-01-28 at the Wayback Machine, the California Death Registry(subscription required) and her family crypt at Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery cite 1908
  2. ^ Obituary (with 1908 year of birth proffered by Arden's daughter, Liza),, November 13, 1990; accessed January 1, 2017.
  3. ^ After her death, some sources initially cited 1907, giving her age as 83, but this is groundless. Arden gave her own year of birth as 1912 for many years.
  4. ^ Lauerman, Connie (June 28, 1985). "All About Wisecracking Eve -- The Joy and the Pain". Chicago Tribune. Retrieved January 21, 2022.
  5. ^ Three Phases of Eve (1985). St Martin's Press
  6. ^ a b c Ware & Braukman 2005, p. 27.
  7. ^ a b c Krebs, Albin (November 13, 1990). "Eve Arden, Actress, Is Dead... TV's 'Our Miss Brooks'". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  8. ^ "Eve Arden". Playbill. Playbill, Inc. Retrieved December 29, 2016.
  9. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 77.
  10. ^ "Eve Arden". Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  11. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 47.
  12. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 53.
  13. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 55.
  14. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 71.
  15. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 69.
  16. ^ "The Stars of To-morrow". Sydney Morning Morning Herald (NSW: 1842-1954). NSW: National Library of Australia. September 10, 1946. p. 11 Supplement: The Sydney Morning Herald Magazine. Retrieved April 24, 2012.
  17. ^ a b c Burt A. Folkart (November 13, 1990). "Eve Arden, 82; Portrayed TV's Beloved 'Our Miss Brooks'". Los Angeles Times. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  18. ^ "The Danny Kaye Show". The Digital Deli Too. Archived from the original on January 6, 2012. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  19. ^ "Eve Arden, 82, dies; best known as 'Our Miss Brooks'". The Oregonian. Worthpoint. November 13, 1990. Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  20. ^ "Eve Arden as Connie Brooks". Retrieved December 5, 2011.
  21. ^ "Eve Arden profile (1908-1990)". Brian's Drive-in Theatre. February 15, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  22. ^ "The Sarah Siddons Society Awardees". Sarah Siddons Society. 2010. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  23. ^ Campbell Robertson (April 21, 2008). "A Broadway Flop Again Raises Its Antlers". The New York Times. Retrieved June 13, 2011.
  24. ^ U.S., World War II Draft Cards Young Men, 1940–1947 for Eunice Quedens Bergen,; accessed December 12, 2021.
  25. ^ Martin Gottfried, Nobody's Fool (NY: Simon & Schuster, 1994), pp. 80–124; ISBN 9780743244763
  26. ^ "Danny Kaye". Masterworks Broadway. Retrieved August 23, 2021.
  27. ^ Copy of death certificate; accessed October 21, 2016.
  28. ^ Tucker 2011, p. 37.
  29. ^ "Comedy: Eve Arden". Radio Hall of Fame. Archived from the original on May 26, 2011. Retrieved June 13, 2011.


Further reading

  • Alistair, Rupert (2018). "Eve Arden". The Name Below the Title : 65 Classic Movie Character Actors from Hollywood's Golden Age (softcover) (First ed.). Great Britain: Independently published. pp. 15–17. ISBN 978-1720038375.
  • Tucker, David C. (2007). The Women Who Made Television Funny: Ten Stars of 1950s Sitcoms. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. ISBN 978-0786429004.
  • Karol, Michael (2005). Sitcom Queens: Divas of the Small Screen. iUniverse. ISBN 0595402518.
  • Herbert, Ian, ed. (1981). "Arden, Eve". Who's Who in the Theatre. Vol. 1. Gale Research Company. p. 21. ISSN 0083-9833.

External links

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