Evelyn Ankers

From Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia
Evelyn Ankers
Ankers in 1941
Evelyn Felisa Ankers

(1918-08-17)August 17, 1918
DiedAugust 29, 1985(1985-08-29) (aged 67)
Maui, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting placeMaui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii
Years active1936–1960
(m. 1942)

Evelyn Felisa Ankers (August 17, 1918 – August 29, 1985) was a British-American actress who often played variations on the role of the cultured young leading lady in many American horror films during the 1940s, most notably The Wolf Man (1941) opposite Lon Chaney Jr., a frequent screen partner.

Early years[edit]

Ankers was born to British parents[1]: 53  in Valparaíso, Chile.[2] She was educated at The Latymer School, the Godolphin School, the Tacchomo School of Music and Dramatic Art, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art in London.[1]: 54 


Ankers' stage debut came in Colombia at age 10 when she had the title role in The Daughter of Dolores.[1] On Broadway, she had the role of Lucy Gilham in Ladies in Retirement (1940).[3] In London, she acted in Bats in the Belfry.[1]: 54 


Nigel Bruce, Ankers and Basil Rathbone in Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror

Known as "the Queen of the Bs",[2] Ankers starred in films including The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Mad Ghoul (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), Weird Woman (1944), The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), and The Frozen Ghost (1945). She appeared in Hold That Ghost (1941), Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), His Butler's Sister (1943), The Pearl of Death (1944), Pardon My Rhythm (1944), Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949), and played Calamity Jane in The Texan Meets Calamity Jane (1950), one of many movies for which she received top billing. A frequent screen partner was Lon Chaney Jr., although they privately disliked each other.

Ankers made over fifty films between 1936 and 1950, then retired from movies at the age of 32 to be a housewife. She occasionally played television roles, such as that of saloon owner Robbie James in the 1958 episode "Gambler" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker in the title role.

Ten years later she made her last film, No Greater Love (1960),[1]: 72  with her husband Richard Denning.[citation needed]

Personal life[edit]

On September 6, 1942,[1]: 61  Ankers married Richard Denning, to whom she remained married until her death in 1985. The couple had one child, Diana Denning (later Dwyer).[2] Ankers moved to Hawaii when her husband accepted the role of the governor in Hawaii 5-0.[4] She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 67 on August 29, 1985, in Maui.[2] Ankers and Denning are buried at Makawao Veterans' Cemetery in Makawao, Hawaii.[5]

Ankers became an American citizen in August 1946.[1]: 71 

Selected filmography[edit]

Ankers and Lon Chaney Jr. in The Wolf Man (1941)
Lobby card with Lon Chaney Jr., Ankers and Bela Lugosi in The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942)
Ankers, Turhan Bey and David Bruce in The Mad Ghoul (1943)
Ankers in 1945 Yank Army magazine pin-up
Skip Homeier and Ankers in a General Electric Theatre television episode (1954)

See also[edit]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g Mank, Gregory William (2005). Women in Horror Films, 1940s. McFarland. p. 53. ISBN 9780786423354. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  2. ^ a b c d e Evelyn Ankers obituary, nytimes.com, August 31, 1985; accessed June 20, 2016.
  3. ^ "Evelyn Ankers". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on November 4, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. ^ Actress Evelyn Ankers, 67, Former `Queen` Of B Movies, August 31, 1985, Chicago Tribune; retrieved August 16, 2016.
  5. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 19, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.

External links[edit]