Evelyn Keyes

Happy birthday to actress Evelyn Keyes, born Nov. 20, 1916 in Port Arthur, TX. Keyes took voice and dance lessons as a child, and by her late teens was working as a chorus girl. When she was 20, she moved to California where she was discovered by Cecil B. DeMille and signed to Paramount. Her film debut was in The Buccaneer (1938), EvelynKeyesthe first in a string of minor films in which she played small parts. In 1939, she landed the role of Scarlett O’Hara’s sister, Suellen, in Gone with the Wind, which elevated her status as an actress and enabled her to sign with Columbia, where she appeared in over two dozen films, including Here Comes Mr. Jordan (1941), The Jolson Story (1946), and The Seven Year Itch (1955). During this period she had top billing in seven classic noir films: Ladies in Retirement (1941), Johnny O’Clock (1947), The Killer That Stalked New York (1950) (aka Frightened City), The Prowler (1951), Iron Man (1951), 99 River Street (1953) (aka Crosstown), and Hell’s Half Acre (1954). Keyes officially retired from acting after making Around the World in Eighty Days (1956), but occasionally appeared on stage and television up until the late 1980s. Her last film role was in Wicked Stepmother (1989) with Bette Davis. After her first husband died in 1940, Keyes had several high-profile marriages. In 1943, she married director Charles Vidor, but divorced him two years later. In 1946, Keyes entered into a stormy marriage with director John Huston that generated plenty of fodder for the tabloids until their divorce in 1950. Seven years later, she married her final husband, bandleader Artie Shaw. She and Shaw stayed together until their separation in the 1970s, officially divorcing in 1985. Her last screen appearance was in a 1993 episode of Murder She Wrote. Keyes died of cancer in 2008 at age 91.


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