Eunice Mary Quedens
April 30, 1908
Mill Valley, California, U.S.
|Died||November 12, 1990 (aged 82)|
|Resting place||Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery|
Edward Grinnell Bergen
(m. 1939; div. 1947)
(m. 1952; died 1984)
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 the Marx Brothers' 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 school principal in the film musicals Grease (1978) and Grease 2 (1982).
Eve Arden was born Eunice Mary Quedens on April 30, 1908, in Mill Valley, California, 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.
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.
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 had supporting parts in multiple Broadway stage productions. 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". Between 1934 and 1941, she appeared in Broadway productions of Parade, Very Warm for May, Two for the Show, and Let's Face It!.
Arden's 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 a template for many of Arden's future roles.
In 1938, she played a supporting part in the comedy Having Wonderful Time, starring Ginger Rogers and Douglas Fairbanks, Jr.. This was followed by roles in the crime film The Forgotten Woman (1939), and the Marx Brothers comedy At the Circus (1939), a role that required her to perform acrobatics.
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. She also had 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; aas 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".
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.
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.
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.
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. Her well-established wisecracking, deadpan character ultimately became her public persona as a comedienne.
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.
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.
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.
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. 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.
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. 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.
Arden was married to Edward Grinnell "Ned" Bergen 1939–47; she reportedly had a long relationship with Danny Kaye through the 1940s (likely starting from their Broadway work on Let's Face It! (1941)). 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.
On November 12, 1990, Arden died at home at age 82. According to her death certificate, she died due to cardiac arrest and arteriosclerotic heart disease. She was cremated, with her ashes buried in the Westwood Village Memorial Park Cemetery, Westwood, Los Angeles, California.
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.
|1929||Song of Love||Maisie LeRoy|
|1937||Oh, Doctor||Shirley Truman|
|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||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||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 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|
|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|
|1981||Under the Rainbow||The Duchess|
|1982||Grease 2||Principal McGee||(final film appearance)|
|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"|
|1985||Faerie Tale Theatre||The Stepmother||"Cinderella"|
|1986||Amazing Stories||Jane's Mother||"Secret Cinema"|
|1987||Falcon Crest||Lillian Nash||"Manhunt" (final TV appearance)|