Evelyn Laye

Active - 1927 - 1988  |   Born - Jun 10, 1900   |   Died - Feb 17, 1996   |   Genres - Musical, Romance, Drama, Comedy, Crime

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Biography by Hans J. Wollstein

Imported to Hollywood by producer Samuel Goldwyn in 1930, British operetta star Evelyn Laye immediately laid an egg. It wasn't her fault, though; she was extremely pretty and competently sang "Along the Road of Dreams" but One Heavenly Night's libretto was totally manufactured and leading man John Boles stiff as a board. As a consequence of the operetta failure, Goldwyn refused to ever cast Laye, Boles, Lilyan Tashman, and even comedian Leon Errol in any future ventures. On-stage from the age of 15, Laye became a major star in Noel Coward's Bitter Sweet, which she brought to Broadway in 1929. There would be several subsequent Hollywood films and she was back on Broadway in Sweet Aloes (1936) and Between the Devil but she was never as successful in America as in London's West End, where she continued to perform well into her late eighties. Laye was married to British comedian Sonnie Hale (who reportedly left her for musical comedy star Jessie Matthews) and actor Frank Lawton, who played the adult David in David O. Selznick's well-remembered version of David Copperfield (1935).

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