Madge Evans

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Madge Evans
Madge Evans - still.jpg
c. 1935
Born Margherita Evans
(1909-07-01)July 1, 1909
New York City, New York, U.S.
Died April 26, 1981(1981-04-26) (aged 71)
Oakland, New Jersey, U.S.
Occupation Actress
Years active 1914-1971
Spouse(s) Sidney Kingsley (1939-1981) (her death)

Madge Evans (July 1, 1909 – April 26, 1981) was an American stage and film actress.[1] She began her career as a child performer and model.

Biography[edit]

Child model and stage actress[edit]

Born as Margherita Evans, Madge Evans was featured in print ads as the 'Fairy Soap girl' as an infant. She made her professional debut at the age of six months, posing for artist's models. As a youth, her playmates included Robert Warwick, Holbrook Blinn, and Henry Hull. When she was four years old, Evans was featured in a series of child plays produced by William A. Brady. She worked at the old Long Island, New York movie studio. Her success was immediate, so much so that her mother loaned her daughter's name to a hat company. Evans posed in a mother and child tableau with Anita Stewart, then 16, for an Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company calendar, and as the little mountain girl in Heidi of the Alps.

At the age of 8 in 1917, Evans appeared in the Broadway production of Peter Ibbetson with John Barrymore, Constance Collier and Laura Hope Crews. At 17, she returned to the stage and appeared as the ingenue (stock character) in Daisy Mayme. Some of her best work in plays came in productions of Dread, The Marquis, and The Conquering Male. Her last appearance was in Philip Goes Forth produced by George Kelley. Evans' mother took her to England and Europe when she was 15.

Film career[edit]

As a child film actress, Evans had quite a prolific career appearing in dozens of films. She appeared with Marguerite Clark in The Seven Sisters (1915), a film with a large female ensemble that had been played on stage with Clark's rival Mary Pickford and Laurette Taylor in the cast. She was featured with Robert Warwick in Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915), a still extant film that has seen release on home video/DVD. At 14, she was the star of J. Stuart Blackton's rural melodrama On the Banks of the Wabash (1923). She co-starred with Richard Barthelmess in Classmates (1924).

She was working on stage when she signed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1927. As with theater, she continued to play ingenue parts, often as the fiancée of the leading man.

Working for MGM in the 1930s, she appeared in Dinner at Eight (1933), Broadway to Hollywood (1933), Hell Below (1933), and David Copperfield (1935). In 1933, she starred with James Cagney in a melodrama entitled The Mayor of Hell, playing a pretty nurse who solicits the aid of a tough politician, played by Cagney. Other notable movies in which she appeared are Beauty for Sale (1933), Grand Canary (1934), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Pennies From Heaven (1936).

Marriage[edit]

In 1939, she married playwright Sidney Kingsley, best known for his plays Dead End and Detective Story which were later turned into popular films. The couple owned a 50-acre (200,000 m2) estate two miles (3 km) from Oakland, New Jersey. Following her marriage to Kingsley, Evans left Hollywood and moved to the New Jersey home.

Radio and television[edit]

Later, she worked in radio and television in New York City. Evans performed on the Philco Television Playhouse (1949–1950), Studio One (1954), Matinee Theater (1955), and The Alcoa Hour (1956). She refused repeated offers to return to Hollywood. She retired in 1971.

Madge Evans died at her home in Oakland, New Jersey from cancer in 1981, aged 71.

Filmography[edit]

Year Film Role Notes
1914 Shore Acres Mildred
1915 Alias Jimmy Valentine Child locked in vault Uncredited
The Seven Sisters Clara
The Master Hand Jean as a child
Zaza Child Uncredited
The Little Church Around the Corner Child
1916 The Devil's Toy Betty
Sudden Riches Little Emily
Husband and Wife Bessie
The Revolt Nannie Stevens
The Hidden Scar Dot
Seventeen Jane Baxter
The New South Georgia Gwynne as a child
1917 The Web of Desire Marjorie
Maternity Constance
Beloved Adventuress Francine at age 7
The Little Duchess Geraldine Carmichael
The Burglar Editha
The Corner Grocer Mary Brian at age 8
Adventures of Carol Carol Montgomery
The Little Patriot Undetermined role Uncredited
1918 Woman and Wife
The Gates of Gladness Beth Leeds
Wanted: A Mother Eileen Homer
True Blue Girl child Uncredited
Vengeance Young Nan as a girl
Stolen Orders Ruth Le Page as a child
The Golden Wall Madge Lathroop
Neighbors Clarissa Leigh
Heredity Nedda Trevor as a child
The Power and the Glory Deanie Consadine
The Love Net Patty Barnes
1919 The Love Defender Dolly Meredith
Three Green Eyes Child
Home Wanted Madge Dow
1920 Heidi Heidi
1923 On the Banks of the Wabash Lisbeth
1924 Classmates Sylvia
1930 Envy Helen Short film
1931 Son of India Janice Darsey First film for MGM
Sporting Blood Miss 'Missy' Ruby
Guilty Hands Barbara 'Babs' Grant
Heartbreak Countess Vima Walden
West of Broadway Anne
1932 Lovers Courageous Mary Blayne
The Greeks Had a Word for Them Polaire
Are You Listening? Laura O'Neil
Huddle Rosalie Stone
Fast Life Shirley
1933 Hallelujah, I'm a Bum June Marcher
Hell Below Joan Standish
Made on Broadway Claire Bidwell
The Nuisance Dorothy Mason
The Mayor of Hell Dorothy Griffith
Dinner at Eight Paula Jordan
Broadway to Hollywood Anne Ainsley
Beauty for Sale Letty Lawson
Day of Reckoning Dorothy Day
1934 Fugitive Lovers Letty Morris
The Show-Off Amy Fisher Piper
Stand Up and Cheer! Mary Adams
Grand Canary Lady Mary Fielding
Paris Interlude Julia 'Julie' Bell
Death on the Diamond Frances Clark
What Every Woman Knows Lady Sybil Tenterden
1935 Helldorado Glenda Wynant
David Copperfield Agnes
Age of Indiscretion Maxine Bennett
Calm Yourself Rosalind Rockwell
Men Without Names Helen Sherwood
The Tunnel Ruth McAllan
1936 Exclusive Story Ann Devlin
Moonlight Murder Antonia 'Toni' Adams
Piccadilly Jim Ann Chester
Pennies from Heaven Susan Sprague
1937 Espionage Patricia Booth
The Thirteenth Chair Nell O'Neill
1938 Sinners in Paradise Anne Wesson
Army Girl Julie Armstrong

Articles[edit]

  • Los Angeles Times, Marriages In Hollywood Exceed Divorces In 1939, January 2, 1940, Page A1.
  • Los Angeles Times, Child Film Star, Ingenue Madge Evans Dies at 71, April 27, 1981, Page A1.
  • Oakland, California Tribune, Two Wise Young Maidens, January 10, 1937, Page 80.
  • San Mateo Times, A Defence of Youth, January 18, 1936, Page 15.
  • Syracuse Herald, Madge Evans, Joan Marsh, and Jackie Coogan head Sextet Surviving, Sunday Morning, July 19, 1931, Section 3, Page 11.
  • Zanesville, Ohio Signal, Madge Evans Has Role With James Cagney, July 16, 1933, Page 12.

References[edit]

  1. ^ Obituary Variety, April 29, 1981.

External links[edit]