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Creator / Eve Arden

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"Leave something on me; I'll catch cold."

"I once appeared as a mystery guest on a programme...and disguised my voice, raised it a few octaves and used an accent. Sixty-five people phoned in and asked if it was Eve Arden. And at that time I didn't think sixty-five people knew me."

One of the greatest comedic actresses of The Golden Age of Hollywood, Eve Arden (April 30, 1908 – November 12, 1990) had a career that spanned more than half a century and encompassed stage, film, radio, and television.

Arden was born Eunice Quedens in Mill Valley, California. Interested in show business from an early age, she quit school and joined the stage. She had a few bit parts here and there, and even appeared in two films under her real name. Success came in the mid-1930s after she changed her name to "Eve Arden" and secured several One-Scene Wonder roles in such films as Oh, Doctor and Stage Door. The success meant that she was eternally typecast as the Deadpan Snarker for the rest of her career, and she was too funny and snarky to be a leading lady. However, she was still a very in-demand actress, and appeared in several famous films. She even earned a Best Supporting Actress Academy Award nomination for her role as Ida in Mildred Pierce.

Eve's best-known project was Our Miss Brooks. It initially aired as a radio show, before getting moved to television. It received four seasons and a feature film. Her next series, The Eve Arden Show, wasn't as successful, but she still made appearances here and there over the next three decades – still as a snarky one-scene wonder. (That's her as the principal in Grease.) She died in 1990 of heart problems. Having concealed her age for most of her career, Arden's tombstone confirms that she was eighty-two when she died.

Selected Filmography:

This actress provides examples of:

  • Billing Displacement: In One Touch of Venus she's billed before Olga San Juan and Tom Conway, who play more significant roles. This was apparently because filmmakers found her stealing the show.
  • …But I Play One on TV: After the popularity of Our Miss Brooks, she received several offers from high school students to become their English teacher.
  • Creator Couple: She and her husband, Brooks West, appeared together in Anatomy of a Murder.
  • The Danza:
    • She plays an Eve in Stage Door and The Mothers In Law.
    • Curious variety in Our Miss Brooks. Brooks was her husband's first name.
  • Dyeing for Your Art: For the film The Hour of Enchantment her blonde hair was dyed red, so as not to compete with Doris Day.
  • Lying Creator: She lied about her age constantly during her life. According to her tombstone, she was eighty-two when she died.
  • Reality Subtext: Her line in The Unfaithful - "Every morning you open up the paper, there's another body in a weed-covered lot," - is referring to the Black Dahlia case.
  • Those Two Actors: Made three films with Zachary Scott - The Unfaithful, Mildred Pierce and Whiplash (no, not that one).
  • Throw It In: During one performance on the stage, someone attempted to prank her by interrupting a monologue by making the prop telephone ring on stage. Eve apparently picked up the phone, improvised a conversation, handed the phone over to the actor playing her husband (who was in on the joke), said "it's for you" and went on with the scene after he had ad-libbed a conversation.
  • Typecasting: She was always the Deadpan Snarker and a sensible career-woman, usually in the best friend role and unlucky in love.
  • What Could Have Been:
    • She starred in several preview performances of Broadway's Moose Murders but got fired after disagreements with the director, and replaced with Holland Taylor. The show ended up as one of Broadway's biggest flops, closing after only one performance.
    • Her part in Stage Door was very small originally. But it was expanded during filming and became something of a Star-Making Role for her.