Evelyn Keyes

Evelyn Keyes

Born Evelyn Louise Keyes
(1916-11-20)November 20, 1916[1]
Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.
Died July 4, 2008(2008-07-04) (aged 91)
Peppers Estate Care Home
Montecito, California, U.S.
Cause of death uterine cancer and Alzheimer's disease
Occupation Actress
Years active 1938–1993
Spouse(s) Barton Bainbridge (m.1938–1940; his death)
Charles Vidor (m.1944–1945; divorced)
John Huston (m.1946–1950; divorced)
Artie Shaw (m.1957–1985; divorced)
Partner(s) Michael Todd (1953–1956)
Children Pablo (adopted)

Evelyn Louise Keyes (November 20, 1916 – July 4, 2008) was an American film actress. She is best known for her role as Suellen O'Hara in the 1939 film Gone with the Wind.

Early life

Evelyn Keyes was born in Port Arthur, Texas,[2] to Omar Dow Keyes and Maude Ollive Keyes, the daughter of a Methodist minister. After Omar Keyes died when she was three years old, 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.

Film career

A chorus girl by age 18, Keyes was put under contract by Cecil B. DeMille. 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.[3]

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.[4] 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.

Personal life

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),[5][6][7] and bandleader Artie Shaw (1957–1985).[8] Keyes said of her many relationships, "I always took up with the man of the moment and there were many such moments."[9] While married to Huston, the couple adopted a Mexican child, Pablo, who 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.[3] 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,[10] 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 was a registered Democrat who supported the presidency of Franklin D. Roosevelt.[11]


Evelyn Keyes in The Seven Year Itch (1955)


  1. Her birth date is often incorrectly given as 1919, but census records list 1916.
  2. imdb.com
  3. 1 2 Thomas, Bob (2008-07-12). "Actress Evelyn Keyes dies at 91 in California". Associated Press.
  4. 1 2 Hopper, Hedda (1949-10-02). "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."
  5. Hopper, Hedda (1946-07-24). "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...
  6. "Evelyn Keyes Separates From Director-Husband; Actress Cites Incompatibility as Cause of Split With Third Spouse, John Huston". Los Angeles Times. 1949-05-24. p. 2. Evelyn Keyes has separated from her third husband, Director John Huston, the blond actress said yesterday.
  7. "Mexican Divorce Ends Evelyn Keyes' Marriage". Los Angeles Times. 1950-02-11. p. 2.
  8. "Artie Shaw Plans to Wed Evelyn Keyes". Los Angeles Times. 1957-03-06. p. 2.
  9. Evelyn Keyes, 91, Whose Film Roles Included ‘Gone With the Wind,’ Is Dead
  10. Harmetz, Aljean (1977-07-28). "'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.
  11. https://books.google.com/books?id=Qz6vYqLoJGgC&pg=PA44&lpg=PA44&dq=rita+hayworth+democrat&source=bl&ots=VKR2lUSzw0&sig=awKg6WaxSumCvWpRrudi1a-yXUY&hl=en&sa=X&ei=1QEoVcG6FtDisATOn4KQBg&ved=0CGAQ6AEwDQ#v=onepage&q=rita%20hayworth%20democrat&f=false
  12. "Cornel Wilde, Evelyn Keyes In New Technicolor Arabia". Christian Science Monitor. 1945-07-13. p. 4. A traditional Arabian Nights romance, some modern spoofing comedy, and a bit of trick photography have been put together in a lavish Technicolor production to make "A Thousand and One Nights," the new feature at the State and Orpheum.
  13. "SCREEN NEWS; Evelyn Keyes to Co-Star in Columbia's 'Kansan'". The New York Times. 1945-05-19. p. 15.
  14. "Keenan Wynn, Evelyn Keyes In 'The Thrill of Brazil'". Christian Science Monitor. 1946-09-27. p. 4. For those who like South American rhythms, enjoy vigorous Brazilian dancing, and the singing of Tito Guizar, "The Thrill of Brazil," a Columbia musical starring Keenan Wynn and Evelyn Keyes, at the State and Orpheum, is a fiesta.
  15. "EVELYN KEYES SET FOR JOLSON FILM; Named for Ruby Keeler Role After Score Are Tested". The New York Times. 1945-11-19. p. 17. Columbia has confirmed the choice of Evelyn Keyes for the part of Ruby Keeler in "The Al Jolson Story," after having tested more than a score of candidates for the role.
  16. Crowther, Bosley (1951-01-05). "'Killer That Stalked New York,' About a Diamond Smuggler, Opens at Palace Theatre". The New York Times.
  17. "The Screen: Three Movies Arrive; 'Iron Man,' With Jeff Chandler at Loew's State--'This Is Korea' Also on Bill". The New York Times. 1951-08-20.
  18. Schallert, Edwin (1953-06-27). "McCrea, Evelyn Keyes Assist Spy Feature". Los Angeles Times. p. A6. "Shoot First," starring Joel McCrea and Evelyn Keyes at Globe, Uptown and Loyola Theaters, poses as a cloak and dagger picture, and was shot mostly in the countryside of England.
  19. Lane, Lydia (1953-08-30). "Evelyn Keyes Tells Secrets of Beauty Learned in Paris". Los Angeles Times. p. C9. After two years in Europe Evelyn Keyes has been lured back to Hollywood to make "Cross-Town" for United Artists.
  20. Hopper, Hedda (1953-07-21). "Evelyn Keyes Costars With Wendell Corey". Los Angeles Times. p. A6. Evelyn Keyes' vacation is over. She's heading for Honolulu to costar with Wendell Corey in "Hell's Half Acre" for Republic.
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