Evelyn Keyes

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Evelyn Keyes
Keyes c. 1940s
Evelyn Louise Keyes

(1916-11-20)November 20, 1916[1]
DiedJuly 4, 2008(2008-07-04) (aged 91)
Years active1938–1993
Barton Bainbridge
(m. 1938; died 1940)
(m. 1944; div. 1945)
(m. 1946; div. 1950)
(m. 1957; div. 1985)
PartnerMichael Todd (1953–1956)

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[edit]

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[edit]

A chorus girl by age 18, Keyes came out to Hollywood and was introduced to Cecil B. DeMille who in her own words “signed me to a personal contract without even making a test”.[3] After a handful of B movies at Paramount Pictures, she landed a minor role in Gone with the Wind (1939) as Scarlett O'Hara's sister Suellen.[4]

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.[5] Keyes' last role in a major film was a small part as Tom Ewell's vacationing wife in The Seven Year Itch (1955). Keyes officially retired in 1956, but continued to act.

Personal life[edit]

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),[6][7][8] and bandleader Artie Shaw (1957–1985).[9] Keyes said of her many love affairs: "I always took up with the man of the moment and there were many such moments."[10] While married to Huston, the couple adopted a Mexican child, Pablo, whom Huston had discovered while filming on location in Mexico for 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.[4] 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,[11] as the experience left her unable to have children. Among her many love affairs in Hollywood she recounted in Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister, were those with film producer Michael Todd (who left Evelyn for Elizabeth Taylor), actors Glenn Ford, Sterling Hayden, Dick Powell, Anthony Quinn, David Niven and Kirk Douglas. She had to regularly fend off Columbia Pictures studio head Harry Cohn's advances during her career at the studio.

Keyes died on July 4, 2008, from uterine cancer at the Pepper Estates in Montecito, California.[12] She was cremated with her ashes being divided among her relatives with the remaining half sent to Lamar University in Port Arthur, Texas and the last of the cremated remains being buried with her relatives in the family plot at The Waco Baptist Church Cemetery, Waco, Georgia, with a small tombstone with the epitaph Gone with the Wind, where her ashes were buried in October 2008.[12]


Evelyn Keyes in The Seven Year Itch (1955)
Excluding appearances as herself.


Year Title Role Notes
1938 The Buccaneer Madeleine
Sons of the Legion Linda Lee
1939 Sudden Money Mary Patterson
Union Pacific Mrs. Calvin
Gone with the Wind Suellen O'Hara
Slightly Honorable Miss Vlissigen
1940 The Lady in Question Francois Morestan
Before I Hang Martha Garth
Beyond the Sacramento Lynn Perry
1941 The Face Behind the Mask Helen Williams
Here Comes Mr. Jordan Bette Logan
Ladies in Retirement Lucy
1942 The Adventures of Martin Eden Ruth Morley
Flight Lieutenant Susie Thompson
1943 The Desperadoes Allison McLeod
Dangerous Blondes Jane Craig
There's Something About a Soldier Carol Harkness
1944 Nine Girls Mary O'Ryan
Strange Affair Jacqueline 'Jack' Harrison
1945 A Thousand and One Nights Babs
1946 Renegades Hannah Brockway
The Thrill of Brazil Vicki Dean
The Jolson Story Julie Benson
1947 Johnny O'Clock Nancy Hobson
1948 The Mating of Millie Millie McGonigle
Enchantment Grizel Dane
1949 Mr. Soft Touch Jenny Jones
Mrs. Mike Kathy O'Fallon Flannigan
1950 The Killer That Stalked New York Sheila Bennet
1951 Smuggler's Island Vivian Craig
The Prowler Susan Gilvray
Iron Man Rose Warren Mason
1952 One Big Affair Jean Harper
It Happened in Paris Patricia Moran
1953 Rough Shoot Cecily Paine
99 River Street Linda James
1954 Hell's Half Acre Donna Williams
1955 Top of the World Virgie Rayne
The Seven Year Itch Helen Sherman
1956 Around the World in 80 Days Cameo appearance
1987 A Return to Salem's Lot Mrs. Axel


Year Title Role Notes
1951 Lux Video Theatre Jane Episode: "Wild Geese"
1955 Climax! Drusilla Cayley Episode: "Wild Stallion"
1968 Playhouse Mrs. Panzack Episode: "A Matter of Diamonds"
1968 The Ugliest Girl in Town Mrs. Blair Episode: "Visitors from a Strange Planet"
1971 From a Bird's Eye View Mrs. Beal Episode: "The Matchmakers"
1983 The Love Boat Mrs. Parker Episode: "Bricker's Boy/Lotions of Love/The Hustlers"
1985, 1987, 1993 Murder, She Wrote Edna, Sister Emily, Wanda Polaski Episodes: "Sticks & Stones", "Old Habits Die Hard", "Dead to Rights"
1986 Amazing Stories Evelyn Chumsky Episode: "Boo!"


  • Keyes, Evelyn (1971). I Am a Billboard. Lyle Stuart. ISBN 978-0818401077.
  • Keyes, Evelyn (1977). Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister. Lyle Stuart. ISBN 978-0818402432.
  • Keyes, Evelyn (1991). I'll Think about That Tomorrow. Dutton. ISBN 978-0525249696.


  1. ^ Her birth date is often incorrectly given as 1919, but census records list 1916.
  2. ^ Hollywood Remembered
  3. ^ Interview with Johnny Carson, The Tonight Show, July 28, 1977
  4. ^ a b Thomas, Bob (July 12, 2008). "Actress Evelyn Keyes dies at 91 in California". Associated Press.
  5. ^ Hopper, Hedda (October 2, 1949). "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."
  6. ^ Hopper, Hedda (July 24, 1946). "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...
  7. ^ "Evelyn Keyes Separates From Director-Husband; Actress Cites Incompatibility as Cause of Split with Third Spouse, John Huston". Los Angeles Times. May 24, 1949. p. 2. Evelyn Keyes has separated from her third husband, Director John Huston, the blond actress said yesterday.
  8. ^ "Mexican Divorce Ends Evelyn Keyes' Marriage". Los Angeles Times. February 11, 1950. p. 2.
  9. ^ "Artie Shaw Plans to Wed Evelyn Keyes". Los Angeles Times. March 6, 1957. p. 2.
  10. ^ Gates, Anita (July 12, 2008). "Evelyn Keyes, 91, Whose Film Roles Included 'Gone with the Wind,' Is Dead". The New York Times.
  11. ^ Harmetz, Aljean (July 28, 1977). "'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.
  12. ^ a b Wilson, Scott (September 16, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. ISBN 9781476625997 – via Google Books.

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