Keyes c. 1940s
Evelyn Louise Keyes
November 20, 1916
Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.
|Died||July 4, 2008 (aged 91)|
Peppers Estate Care Home, Montecito, California, U.S.
(m. 1938; died 1940)
(m. 1944; div. 1945)
(m. 1946; div. 1950)
(m. 1957; div. 1985)
|Partner(s)||Michael Todd (1953–1956)|
Evelyn Keyes was born in Port Arthur, Texas, to Omar Dow Keyes and Maude Ollive Keyes, the daughter of a Methodist minister. After Omar Keyes died when she was three years old in 1919 , Keyes moved with her mother to Atlanta, Georgia, where they lived with her grandparents. As a teenager, Keyes took dancing lessons and performed for local clubs such as the Daughters of the Confederacy.
A chorus girl by age 18, Keyes came out to Hollywood and was introduced to Cecil B. DeMille who in her own words “signed me to a personal contract without even making a test”. After a handful of B movies at Paramount Pictures, she landed a minor role in Gone with the Wind (1939), that of Scarlett O'Hara's sister Suellen. (She was later interviewed for the 1988 documentary The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind.)
Columbia Pictures signed her to a contract. In 1941, she played an ingenue in Here Comes Mr. Jordan. She spent most of the early 1940s playing leads in many of Columbia's B dramas and mysteries. She appeared as the female lead opposite Larry Parks in Columbia's blockbuster hit The Jolson Story (1946). She followed this up with an enjoyable minor screwball comedy, The Mating of Millie, with Glenn Ford. She was then in a 1949 role as Kathy Flannigan in Mrs. Mike. Keyes' last major film role was a small part as Tom Ewell's vacationing wife in The Seven Year Itch (1955), which starred Marilyn Monroe. Keyes officially retired in 1956, but continued to act.
She was married to Barton Oliver Bainbridge Sr. from 1938 until his death from suicide in 1940. Later, she married and divorced director Charles Vidor (1943–1945), actor/director John Huston (23 July 1946 – February 1950), and bandleader Artie Shaw (1957–1985). Keyes said of her many relationships: "I always took up with the man of the moment and there were many such moments." While married to Huston, the couple adopted a Mexican child, Pablo, whom Huston had discovered while on the set of The Treasure of the Sierra Madre.
Her autobiography Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister: My Lively Life In and Out of Hollywood was published in 1977. Keyes expressed her opinion that Mrs. Mike was her best film. She also wrote of the personal cost she paid by having an abortion just before Gone with the Wind was to begin filming, as the experience left her unable to have children. Among the many Hollywood affairs she recounted in Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister were those with producer Michael Todd (who left Evelyn for Elizabeth Taylor), Glenn Ford, Sterling Hayden, Dick Powell, Anthony Quinn, David Niven and Kirk Douglas. She had to fend off Harry Cohn's advances during her career in Columbia.
Keyes died on July 4, 2008 from uterine cancer at the Pepper Estates in Montecito, California. She was cremated with her ashes being divided among her relatives with the remaining half sent to Lamar University in Port Arthur, Texas and the last of the cremated remains being buried with her relatives in the family plot at The Waco Baptist Church Cemetery, Waco, Georgia, with a small tombstone with the epitaph Gone with the Wind, where her ashes were buried in October 2008.
- Excluding appearances as herself.
|1938||Sons of the Legion||Linda Lee|
|1939||Sudden Money||Mary Patterson|
|1939||Union Pacific||Mrs. Calvin|
|1939||Gone with the Wind||Suellen O'Hara|
|1939||Slightly Honorable||Miss Vlissigen|
|1940||The Lady in Question||Francois Morestan|
|1940||Before I Hang||Martha Garth|
|1940||Beyond the Sacramento||Lynn Perry|
|1941||The Face Behind the Mask||Helen Williams|
|1941||Here Comes Mr. Jordan||Bette Logan|
|1941||Ladies in Retirement||Lucy|
|1942||The Adventures of Martin Eden||Ruth Morley|
|1942||Flight Lieutenant||Susie Thompson|
|1943||The Desperadoes||Allison McLeod|
|1943||Dangerous Blondes||Jane Craig|
|1943||There's Something About a Soldier||Carol Harkness|
|1944||Nine Girls||Mary O'Ryan|
|1944||Strange Affair||Jacqueline 'Jack' Harrison|
|1945||A Thousand and One Nights||Babs|
|1946||The Thrill of Brazil||Vicki Dean|
|1946||The Jolson Story||Julie Benson|
|1947||Johnny O'Clock||Nancy Hobson|
|1948||The Mating of Millie||Millie McGonigle|
|1949||Mr. Soft Touch||Jenny Jones|
|1949||Mrs. Mike||Kathy O'Fallon Flannigan|
|1950||The Killer That Stalked New York||Sheila Bennet|
|1951||Smuggler's Island||Vivian Craig|
|1951||The Prowler||Susan Gilvray|
|1951||Iron Man||Rose Warren Mason|
|1952||One Big Affair||Jean Harper|
|1952||It Happened in Paris||Patricia Moran|
|1953||Rough Shoot||Cecily Paine|
|1953||99 River Street||Linda James|
|1954||Hell's Half Acre||Donna Williams|
|1955||Top of the World||Virgie Rayne|
|1955||The Seven Year Itch||Helen Sherman|
|1956||Around the World in 80 Days||Cameo appearance|
|1987||A Return to Salem's Lot||Mrs. Axel|
|1951||Lux Video Theatre||Jane||Episode: "Wild Geese"|
|1955||Climax!||Drusilla Cayley||Episode: "Wild Stallion"|
|1968||Playhouse||Mrs. Panzack||Episode: "A Matter of Diamonds"|
|1968||The Ugliest Girl in Town||Mrs. Blair||Episode: "Visitors from a Strange Planet"|
|1971||From a Bird's Eye View||Mrs. Beal||Episode: "The Matchmakers"|
|1983||The Love Boat||Mrs. Parker||Episode: "Bricker's Boy/Lotions of Love/The Hustlers"|
|1985, 1987, 1993||Murder, She Wrote||Edna, Sister Emily, Wanda Polaski||Episodes: "Sticks & Stones", "Old Habits Die Hard", "Dead to Rights"|
|1986||Amazing Stories||Evelyn Chumsky||Episode: "Boo!"|
- Her birth date is often incorrectly given as 1919, but census records list 1916.
- Hollywood Remembered
- Interview with Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, July 28, 1977
- Thomas, Bob (July 12, 2008). "Actress Evelyn Keyes dies at 91 in California". Associated Press.
- Hopper, Hedda (October 2, 1949). "Evelyn Keyes Finally Elevated to Stardom; Leading Lady Bridges Gap Between 'Good' and 'Great' by Her 'Mrs. Mike'". Los Angeles Times. p. D1.
Until "Mrs. Mike," Evelyn Keyes had always been considered a fine leading lady rather than a star in the true sense of the word. She seemed to have lacked that final push that bridges the gap between "good" and "great."
- Hopper, Hedda (July 24, 1946). "Evelyn Keyes married to film director John Huston". Los Angeles Times. p. 2.
An impulsive proposal in a Beverly Hills cafe, a midnight airplane ride to Las Vegas and a 3:30 a.m. appearance before the parson provided the "shooting script" for the surprise marriage yesterday of Evelyn Keyes, film star, and John Huston...
- "Evelyn Keyes Separates From Director-Husband; Actress Cites Incompatibility as Cause of Split with Third Spouse, John Huston". Los Angeles Times. May 24, 1949. p. 2.
Evelyn Keyes has separated from her third husband, Director John Huston, the blond actress said yesterday.
- "Mexican Divorce Ends Evelyn Keyes' Marriage". Los Angeles Times. February 11, 1950. p. 2.
- "Artie Shaw Plans to Wed Evelyn Keyes". Los Angeles Times. March 6, 1957. p. 2.
- Gates, Anita. "Evelyn Keyes, 91, Whose Film Roles Included 'Gone with the Wind,' Is Dead". The New York Times.
- Harmetz, Aljean (July 28, 1977). "'Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister'". The New York Times. p. 57.
Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister is a strange sort of autobiography for a prim Southern girl to have written a sexual odyssey up and down the decades, in which Evelyn Keyes pauses only occasionally to mention a movie she has just started or just finished.
- Wilson, Scott (September 16, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.
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