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Eve Arden (American actress) Bio, Facts 

Eve Arden

Born Name: Eunice Mary Quedens
Date of Birth: April 30, 1908
Place of Birth: Mill Valley, California, United States
Died: November 12, 1990 (aged 82), Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Resting place: Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery
Occupation: Actress
Height: 1.71 m
Spouse(s): Ned Bergen(m. 1939; div. 1947), Brooks West(m. 1952; died 1984)
Children: 4 (Douglas Brooks West)
Website: eve-arden.com

Eve Arden (born Eunice Mary Quedens, April 30, 1908 – November 12, 1990) was an American film, radio, stage, and television actress, and comedienne. 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 the Marx Brothers' At the Circus (1939). Arden would go on to earn an Academy Award nomination for Best Supporting Actress for her role in Mildred Pierce (1945).

In the latter part of her career, she played the sardonic but engaging title character of a high school teacher in Our Miss Brooks, winning the first Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama Series, and as the school principal in the musicals Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982).

Early life
Eunice Mary Quedens was born in Mill Valley, California, on April 30, 1908 to Charles Peter Quedens, son of Charles Henry Augustus and Meta (née Dierks) Quedens, and Lucille (née Frank) Quedens, daughter of Bernard and Louisa (née Mertens) Frank, both of German descent. Lucille, a milliner, divorced Charles over his gambling, and went into business for herself.

Although not Roman Catholic, young Eunice was sent to a Dominican convent school in San Rafael, California, and later 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.

Career
Film
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. The film was one of Columbia Pictures' earliest successes. In 1933, she relocated to New York City, where she appeared in multiple Broadway stage productions in supporting parts. In 1934, she was cast in that year's Ziegfeld Follies revue. This was the first role in which she was credited as Eve Arden. Told to change her name for the show, she looked at her cosmetics and "stole my first name from Evening in Paris and the second from Elizabeth Arden". Between 1934 and 1941, she would appear in Broadway productions of Parade, Very Warm for May, Two for the Show, and Let's Face It!.

Her film career began in earnest in 1937 when she signed a contract with RKO Radio Pictures, 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 to be a template for many of Arden's future roles. In 1938, she appeared in a supporting part in the comedy Having Wonderful Time, starring Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball. This was followed by roles in the crime film The Forgotten Woman (1939), and the comedy At the Circus (1939), opposite Groucho Marx, a role that would require her to perform acrobatics.

In 1940, she appeared opposite Clark Gable in Comrade X, followed by the drama Manpower (1941), opposite Marlene Dietrich. She also appeared in a supporting part in the Red Skelton comedy Whistling in the Dark (1941), and the romantic comedy Obliging Young Lady (1942).

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, and James Stewart's wistful secretary in Otto Preminger's murder mystery, Anatomy of a Murder (1959). (One of her co-stars in that film was husband Brooks West.) In 1946, exhibitors voted her the sixth-most promising "star of tomorrow".

She became familiar to a new generation of film-goers when she played Principal McGee in both 1978's Grease and 1982's Grease 2. She was known for her deadpan delivery of jokes in films.

Radio and television
Arden's ability with witty scripts made her a natural talent for radio; she became 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.

Kaye's show lasted one season, but Arden's display of comic talent and timing set the stage for her to be cast in her best-known role, 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. Arden's 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, then on television, 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 television.

Arden's portrayal of the character 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. Her wisecracking, deadpan attitude as the character ultimately became her public persona as a comedienne as well.

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. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.

Arden had a very brief guest appearance in a 1955 I Love Lucy episode titled "L.A. at Last" in which 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." Ethel suddenly realizes she was just talking to Arden in person, who soon passes Lucy and Ethel's table to leave the restaurant while the pair gawk.

Desilu Productions, jointly owned by Desi Arnaz and Ball during their marriage, was the production company for the Our Miss Brooks television show, which filmed during the same years as I Love Lucy. Ball and Arden became acquainted when they co-starred together 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.

Arden tried another series in the fall of 1957, The Eve Arden Show, but it was canceled in spring of 1958 after 26 episodes. In 1966, Arden played Nurse Kelton in an episode of Bewitched. She later co-starred with Kaye Ballard as her neighbor and in-law, Eve Hubbard, in the 1967–1969 situation comedy The Mothers-in-Law, which was produced by Arnaz after the dissolution of Desilu Productions. 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.

Stage
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 theatre. Arden was cast in 1983 as the leading lady in what was to be her Broadway comeback in Moose Murders, but she wisely 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 as one of the most legendary flops in Broadway history.

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.

Personal life
Arden was married to Ned Bergen from 1939 to 1947, and to actor Brooks West (1916-1984), from 1952 until his death in 1984 from a heart ailment, aged 67. West and she had four children; all but the youngest were adopted. All four survived their parents.

Death
On November 12, 1990, Arden died from cardiac arrest and arteriosclerotic heart disease, aged 82, at her home, according to her death certificate. She is interred in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.

Tags: 1908 births 1990 deaths 20th-century American actresses American film actresses American radio actresses American stage actresses American television actresses American women comedians

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