Colleen Townsend

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Colleen Townsend
Colleen Townsend in When Willie Comes Marching Home trailer.jpg
from the trailer for When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
Born (1928-12-21) December 21, 1928 (age 89)
Glendale, California, U.S.
Other names

Colleen Townsend Evans

Colleen Evans
Occupation Actress, writer and humanitarian
Spouse(s) Louis H. Evans, Jr.

Colleen Townsend (born December 21, 1928) is an American actress, author and humanitarian.

Early years[edit]

Townsend was born in Glendale, California, and gained her higher education in Utah.[1]

Life and career[edit]

Townsend began a film career in 1944, appearing in minor roles in several films. By 1946, she was appearing on the cover of magazines, and in 1947 was signed to a contract by 20th Century Fox. She was the subject of a cover story for Life in 1948, which discussed the way in which major studios groomed and manufactured their stars, using Townsend's story as an example.[1] The studio created a photographic calendar for her, to "put [her] face in every home, office and barracks in America all year around."[2] Hedda Hopper was also quoted as saying that Townsend was "going places."[2]

She played a featured role in the film The Walls of Jericho (1948), and was billed third behind Dan Dailey and Celeste Holm in Chicken Every Sunday (1949). Her biggest success was in the 1950 film When Willie Comes Marching Home, in which she was paired with Dan Dailey. Again... Pioneers (1950) provided her with her first lead role.

She grew up attending the LDS Church and in 1948 committed her life to Christ and became active in the Hollywood Presbyterian Church. In 1950, Townsend left her acting career and married long-time friend Louis H. Evans, Jr. who was a seminary student at the time at San Francisco Theologic Seminary. Rev. Louis H. Evans, Jr. was the founding pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church,[3] which began in the Evans home. Bel Air Presbyterian Church exists today as the largest Presbyterian congregation in the Los Angeles area and has a beautiful and welcoming location on Mulholland Drive. Colleen was part of the groundbreaking on that location.[4]

Later, the couple met and became friends with Billy and Ruth Graham. Townsend, now billed as "Colleen Evans", returned to films briefly, starring in two films produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Oiltown, U.S.A. (1950) and Souls in Conflict (1955).[5]

Colleen and Louie relocated to Washington, DC when Louie accepted a call to serve at National Presbyterian Church. Thereafter she dedicated herself to humanitarian work, specifically in relation to racial or religious discrimination, human rights, and in furthering the role of women in society. She partnered with her husband in ministry and served on the board of World Vision. She served as the first female chair of the Billy Graham Crusade in 1986.[5]

As "Colleen Townsend Evans" she is the author of several books.

Colleen and Louie had four children. She now has twelve grandchildren and two great-grandchildren. Colleen and Louie retired to Bass Lake, California. After 58 1/2 years of marriage, Louie died in 2008 of ALS. Colleen now resides in Fresno, California.


Year Title Role
1944 Janie Hortense Bennett
The Very Thought of You Young bride
Hollywood Canteen Junior hostess
1945 Pillow to Post WAC's daughter
Sing Your Way Home Girl
1948 Scudda Hoo! Scudda Hay! Girl leaving church service
The Walls of Jericho Marjorie Ransome
1949 Chicken Every Sunday Rosemary Hefferan
1950 When Willie Comes Marching Home Marjorie Fettles
1953 Oiltown, U.S.A. Christine Manning


  1. ^ a b "The Big Build-Up". Life. Time Inc. 30 August 1948. pp. 77–81. Retrieved 7 January 2018.
  2. ^ a b Life Goes to the Movies. Simon and Schuster. 1977. pp. 98–99. ISBN 0-671-79000-5.
  3. ^ "The Rev. Louis H. Evans, organizing pastor of Bel Air Presbyterian Church, dies at 82". 2 November 2008 – via LA Times.
  4. ^ "Home - Bel Air Church".
  5. ^ a b "A Renaissance Woman for Christ". Wheaton College. 2005. Retrieved 2018-01-31.

External links[edit]