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in the trailer for Rope (1948)
April 29, 1896
Tacoma, Washington, U.S.
|Died||November 29, 1980
Riverside County, California, U.S.
|Spouse(s)||Morris Otto Evanson (1923-1975; his death)|
Life and career
She was born Edith Carlson in Tacoma, Washington, where her father was a Protestant church clergyman (a religion to which she adhered throughout her life). She was of Swedish, German and English descent. Her first job was as a court reporter in Bellingham.
Her first film role came in The Man Who Wouldn't Talk (1940) in an uncredited role. In the 1940s she was in supporting roles mostly as a maid, a busybody, landladies, or middle-aged secretaries. Some of her other film roles include parts in Citizen Kane (1941), Blossoms in the Dust (1941), Woman of the Year (1942), Reunion in France (1942), The Strange Woman (1947), I Remember Mama (1948), Rope (1948), The Damned Don't Cry (1950), The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) and Disney's Toby Tyler (1960). During her time in Hollywood, she co-starred opposite some of its greatest legends, including Greer Garson, Walter Pidgeon, Orson Welles, Joan Crawford, Michael Rennie, Glenn Ford, Patricia Neal, James Stewart, Irene Dunne, Spencer Tracy, Katharine Hepburn, and Hedy Lamarr.
With the coming of television in the late 1940s she expanded in her career appearing on such shows as You Are There, The Loretta Young Show, Chevron Hall of Stars, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, The Millionaire, Zane Grey Theater, Alfred Hitchcock Presents, The Frank Sinatra Show, Bachelor Father, Alcoa Presents: One Step Beyond, and Lassie.
A stage actress as well as film star, Evanson often appeared in productions which were staged in the Los Angeles area. She played a Swedish mother reminiscing about the births, deaths, and lives of her children in DeWitt Bodeen's play, Harvest of Years in 1946 (Evanson's performance was called "poignant" by the Los Angeles Times). Although Evanson had played one of the aunts in the 1948 film I Remember Mama, she portrayed Mama herself on stage just a year later.
Director George Cukor, a friend of hers, asked Evanson to coach Marilyn Monroe on a Swedish accent for her role in the unfinished film Something's Got to Give (from which Monroe was eventually fired). Evanson spent several months with the actress, and spoke to Monroe just days before the troubled actress's death.
In the late 1960s and early 1970s Evanson found herself getting little work in Hollywood due to her advancing age; in 1974 she made her last appearance in an episode of Apple's Way.
Evanson was a lifelong member of the Democratic party. Following her retirement, she lived in Riverside County, California, until her death from heart failure on November 29, 1980. Her ashes were scattered into the Pacific Ocean.
- I Remember Mama (1948)
- Rope (1948) - Mrs. Wilson
- The Magnificent Yankee (1950)
- It Happens Every Thursday (1953)
- Toby Tyler (1960)
- Nissen, Axel (2016). "I Remember Edith: Edith Evanson (1896-1980)". Accustomed to Her Face: Thirty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. pp. 43–48. ISBN 1476626065.
- "California Death Index, 1940-1997". FamilySearch. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
Edith A Evanson, 29 Nov 1980; Department of Public Health Services, Sacramento
- "United States Social Security Death Index". FamilySearch. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
Edith Evanson, Nov 1980; citing U.S. Social Security Administration, Death Master File
- "Coincidence." Pittsburgh Post-Gazette. November 3, 1949.
- "Washington, County Marriages, 1855-2008". FamilySearch. Retrieved 15 December 2016.
Morris O Evanson and Edith A Carlson, 1923.
- Von Blon, Katherine. "Family Play Compelling." Los Angeles Times. August 27, 1946.
- Von Blon, Katherine. "Playhouse Cast Scores in 'Mama'." Los Angeles Times. May 14, 1949.
- Bacon, James. "Actress Recalls Miss Monroe as Little Girl or Mature Adult." The Milwaukee Journal. November 17, 1962.
- Wilson, Scott (2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons (3rd ed.). Jefferson, NC: McFarland & Co. p. 231. ISBN 9781476625997.