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From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia

Evelyn Varden
EvelynVarden.jpg
Varden in the mid 1950s.
Born
Mae Evelyn Hall

(1893-06-12)June 12, 1893
DiedJuly 11, 1958(1958-07-11) (aged 65)
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
OccupationStage, film, television actress
Years active1900s-1958
Spouse(s)

Evelyn Varden (born Mae Evelyn Hall;[5][6][7] June 12, 1893 – July 11, 1958) was an American character actress.

Stage

Born in Adair, Oklahoma, Varden was Cherokee and is listed on the Dawes Rolls as 1/32nd Cherokee by Blood.[8] She began her career as a teenager in the first decade of the 20th century, acting with her aunts in a troupe that toured the western United States.[9] She was on Broadway by age sixteen in 1910. It was not until the 1930s and into her forties that her stage career took off in the theater, notably playing Mrs. Gibbs, the small town matron who dreams of Paris, in the original production of Our Town.

Varden's stage work mainly consisted of showy supporting roles although she did star in the ill-fated Return Engagement by Lawrence Riley. The 1950 melodrama Hilda Crane was a personal success for Varden although the play itself ran only two months.[10][11][12][13] The following year she played the Nurse in a production of Romeo and Juliet starring Olivia de Havilland. Her final Broadway appearance in The Bad Seed was one of her acclaimed performances.[14][15][16][17]

Radio and television

Varden occasionally appeared on radio from the early 1940s and well into the 1950s. She starred in radio productions of Hay Fever, The Silver Cord, and The Glass Menagerie among several other programs.[18][19][20] She would later appear in a number of television productions during the 1950s, including an adaptation of Cradle Song, opposite Judith Anderson.[21]

Film

Varden did not make her first film appearance until 1949 at age 56 with the film Pinky. She then went on to make over a dozen more films, including recreating her stage roles in the motion picture adaptations of Hilda Crane (1956) and The Bad Seed (1956).

Varden's best-known motion picture performance was as the gregarious storekeeper Icey Spoon in the 1955 film classic, The Night of the Hunter, based on the like-named novel. That performance garnered considerable acclaim,[22][23] not least from the book's author, Davis Grubb. "Varden is almost my favorite person in the whole film. [...] I thought she was perfect as Icey Spoon. She put things into that characterization that she should have gotten extra for. [...] Because she got across the very subtle way of middle-aged women who are promoting the marriage of a younger woman to an attractive male, they themselves are very sexually excited by the whole thing. It's a sixty-year-old yenta's way of getting off. She did more with a little sigh..."[24]

Varden's career was still going strong at the time of her death. Immediately prior to taking ill in January, Varden was appearing in London, earning kudos for her portrayal of an American mother in Lesley Storm's comedy, Roar Like a Dove.[25][26][27] Just weeks before her death, that turn earned Varden the award for Best Supporting Performance (in a Play or Musical) for 1957/1958, as judged by drama critics of the National British press.[28]

Personal life

Varden was married twice: first to fellow thespian Charles Pearce Coleman, from 1914 until their divorce in 1921,[2][3] and then, from 1921 until her death, to Baltimore-based hotel operator William J. Quinn.[9]

Death

Varden died on July 11, 1958 at 65 in Flower Fifth Avenue Hospital in Manhattan.[29]

Filmography

Broadway Appearances

  • The Nest Egg (Nov 22, 1910 - Jan 1911)
  • Seven Days' Leave (Jan 17, 1918 - Jun 1918)
  • Allegiance (Aug 1, 1918 - Sep 1918)
  • The Honor of the Family (Mar 17, 1919 - May 1919)
  • Alley Cat (Sep 17, 1934 - Sep 1934)
  • A Woman of the Soil (Mar 25, 1935 - Apr 1935)
  • Life's Too Short (Sep 20, 1935 - Sep 1935)
  • Weep for the Virgins (Nov 30, 1935 - Dec 1935)
  • Russet Mantle (Jan 16, 1936 - Apr 1936)
  • Prelude to Exile (Nov 30, 1936 - Jan 1937)
  • Now You've Done It (Mar 5, 1937 - Apr 1937)
  • To Quito and Back (Oct 6, 1937 - Dec 1937)
  • Our Town (Feb 4, 1938 - Nov 19, 1938)
  • Family Portrait (Mar 8, 1939 - Jun 1939)
  • Ladies and Gentlemen (Oct 17, 1939 - Jan 13, 1940)
  • Grey Farm (May 3, 1940 - Jun 1, 1940)
  • Return Engagement (Nov 1, 1940 - Nov 7, 1940)
  • The Lady Who Came to Stay (Jan 2, 1941 - Jan 4, 1941)
  • Candle in the Wind (Oct 22, 1941 - Jan 10, 1942)
  • The Family (Mar 30, 1943 - Apr 3, 1943)
  • Our Town (revival) (Jan 10, 1944 - Jan 29, 1944)
  • Dream Girl (Dec 14, 1945 - Dec 14, 1946)
  • Present Laughter (Oct 29, 1946 - Mar 15, 1947)
  • She Stoops to Conquer (Dec 28, 1949 - Jan 8, 1950)
  • Hilda Crane (Nov 1, 1950 - Dec 31, 1950)
  • Romeo and Juliet (Mar 10, 1951 - Apr 21, 1951)
  • A Date With April (Apr 15, 1953 - Apr 25, 1953)
  • The Bad Seed (Dec 8, 1954 - Sep 27, 1955)

References

  1. ^ "Other Woman Figures in Wife's Complaint". Los Angeles Herald. June 26, 1920. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  2. ^ a b "Wrote Wife to Tell Her of Infidelities; Evelyn Varden, Actress, Submits Husband's Frank Letters as Divorce Evidence". The Akron Sunday Times. July 25, 1920. p. 6. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  3. ^ a b "Husband Confesses to Morals of a Fox Terrier". The Minneapolis Star. January 29, 1921. Retrieved May 16, 2020
  4. ^ "Evelyn Varden, on Stage All Her Life, Dies at 65". New York Herald Tribune. July 13, 1958. p. 28. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  5. ^ "Girl Claims Oil Land; Cherokee Indian Maiden Sues to Enforce Allotment". The Washington Post. July 28, 1907. p. 59. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  6. ^ "Vinita Girls Making Good on Broadway. The Vinita Daily Chieftain. November 26, 1910. p. 1. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  7. ^ "Estate of Actress Goes to Relatives". The Los Angeles Times. October 10, 1931. p. 32. Retrieved May 15, 2020.
  8. ^ "Search the Dawes Rolls". Oklahoma Historical Society. Retrieved October 16, 2021.
  9. ^ a b Nissen, Axel (2012). Mothers, Mammies and Old Maids: Twenty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 176–177. ISBN 9780786490455. Retrieved December 6, 2017.
  10. ^ Martin, Linton (October 22, 1950). "The Call Boy's Chat: Jessica Tandy Impressive In New and Notable Drama". The Philadelphia Inquirer. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  11. ^ Sheaffer, Louis (November 2, 1950). "'Hilda Crane' Gripping Drama of a Confused Modern Woman". The Brooklyn Eagle. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  12. ^ Display ad for Hilda Crane. Daily News. November 14, 1950. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  13. ^ Killgallen, Dorothy (December 15, 1950). "Voice of Broadway: Christmas Shopping Early". Mansfield News-Journal. Retrieved May 18, 2020.
  14. ^ Atkinson, Brooks (December 9, 1954). "Theatre: 'The Bad Seed". The New York Times. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  15. ^ Barron, Mark (December 10, 1954). "'The Bad Seed' Seems Broadway Hit; Maxwell Anderson's Newest". The Charlotte Observer. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  16. ^ Wilson, Earl (December 14, 1954). "It Happened Last Night; The Midnight Earl". Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  17. ^ Winchell, Walter (December 11, 1954). "The White Light Night". The Glen Falls Post-Star. Retrieved May 13, 2020.
  18. ^ "The Day's Radio Highlights". The Louisville Courier-Journal. June 3, 1947. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  19. ^ "The Day's Radio Highlights". The Louisville Courier-Journal. April 18, 1948. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  20. ^ "Friday Radio Highlights". Detroit Free Press. February 13, 1953. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  21. ^ "'Cradle Song' Is Called 'Stirring'; Maurice Evans Show Is Praised". The Louisville Courier-Journal. May 7, 1956. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  22. ^ Adams, Marjory (October 20, 1955). "New Films: 'Night of the Hunter' at Astor". Boston Globe. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  23. ^ Lambert, Gavin (Winter 1955/1956). "The Night of the Hunter". Sight and Sound. pp. 147, [ 148]. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  24. ^ Jones, Preston Neal (2002). Heaven and Hell to Play With: The Filming of Night of the Hunter. New York: Proscenium Publishers. p. 170. ISBN 0879109742.
  25. ^ Myro. (October 2, 1957). "Shows Abroad: 'Roar Like a Dove'". Variety. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  26. ^ R.E.I. (October 3, 1957). "London Theatres: Brilliant Americans in Lesley Storm Comedy". The Stage. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  27. ^ Marriott, R. B. (January 16, 1958). "It Was Conventional Playgoing in 1957; Controversial; Evelyn Varden". The Stage. Retrieved May 14, 2020.
  28. ^ "London Critics' Poll Results". Variety. June 25, 1958.
  29. ^ "Actress Evelyn Varden Dies". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. July 14, 1958. p. 17. Retrieved December 7, 2017 – via Newspapers.com. open access
  30. ^ "Noel Coward, Edna Best Star Saturday; 'Cradle Song' Next". Green Bay Press-Gazette. May 4, 1956. Retrieved May 16, 2020.
  31. ^ Lowery, Raymond (April 10, 1960). "Goings On". The Raleigh News and Observer. Retrieved May 16, 2020.

Further reading

External links

This page was last edited on 8 January 2022, at 08:45
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