Eve Arden

Active - 1929 - 1991  |   Born - Apr 30, 1908 in Mill Valley, California, United States  |   Died - Nov 12, 1990   |   Genres - Comedy, Drama, Romance, Musical

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Biography by Hal Erickson

Little Eunice Quedens' first brush with the performing arts came at age seven, when she won a WCTU medal for her recital of the pro-temperance poem "No Kicka My Dog." After graduating from high school, she became a professional actress on the California stock company circuit. Still using her given name, she played a blonde seductress in the 1929 Columbia talkie Song of Love then joined a touring repertory theater. After another brief film appearance in 1933's Dancing Lady, she was urged by a producer to change her name for professional purposes. Allegedly inspired by a container of Elizabeth Arden cold cream, Eunice Quedens reinvented herself as Eve Arden. Several successful appearances in the annual Ziegfeld Follies followed, and in 1937 Arden returned to films as a young character actress. From Stage Door (1937) onward, she was effectively typecast as the all-knowing witheringly sarcastic "best friend" who seldom got the leading man but always got the best lines. Her film roles in the 1940s ranged from such typical assignments as sophisticated magazine editor "Stonewall" Jackson in Cover Girl (1944) to such hilariously atypical performances as athletic Russian sniper Natalia Moskoroff in The Doughgirls (1944). In 1945, she earned an Oscar nomination for her portrayal of Joan Crawford's sardonic but sympathetic business partner in Mildred Pierce. In July of 1948, she launched the popular radio situation comedy Our Miss Brooks, earning a place in the hearts of schoolteachers (and sitcom fans) everywhere with her award-winning portrayal of long-suffering but ebullient high school teacher Connie Brooks. Our Miss Brooks was transferred to television in 1952, running five successful seasons. Less successful was the 1957 TVer The Eve Arden Show, in which the star played authoress Liza Hammond. This failure was neutralized by her subsequent stage tours in such plays as Auntie Mame and Hello, Dolly! and her well-received film appearances in Anatomy of a Murder (1959) and Dark at the Top of the Stairs (1960). In 1967, she returned to TV to co-star with Kaye Ballard on the chucklesome The Mothers-in-Law which lasted two years. And in 1978, she became a favorite of a new generation with her performance as Principal McGee in the phenomenally successful film version of Broadway's Grease. In 1985, Eve Arden came out with her autobiography, The Three Phases of Eve.

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  • Was an only child who was raised by her mother and an aunt.
  • Kicked off her acting career at age 16 when she left high school to perform with a stock theater company, which appeared at locations such as hotel lobbies, barns and street corners.
  • Was inspired by Evening in Paris perfume and Elizabeth Arden cosmetics when creating her stage name.
  • Was inducted into the Radio Hall of Fame in 1995.
  • Has two stars on the Hollywood Star Walk, one for her work in television, and one for her work in radio.