Evelyn Rudie (born Evelyn Rudie Bernauer, March 28, 1949) is an American playwright, director, songwriter, film and television actress, and teacher. Since 1973, she has been the co-artistic director of the Santa Monica Playhouse. As an award-winning costume designer, she uses the pseudonym Ashley Hayes.
Radio and television
Born in Los Angeles, California, Rudie became an overnight star, in 1956, with her performance in the title role in the episode "Eloise" on television's Playhouse 90. It brought her critical acclaim, much press coverage, and an Emmy nomination at age six—the first time a child actress was so honored. She returned to Playhouse 90 the following year, portraying the young Perle Mesta in The Hostess with the Mostest.
The television "Eloise" was an adaptation of the popular book by Kay Thompson, which owed much to the delicate line illustrations of Hilary Knight. The marketing of "Eloise" and the subsequent book sequels practically always featured the illustrations of Knight, and numerous photographs were published in the 1950s of Rudie in the role. However, Rudie's popularity as a child star led to the merchandising of at least one product which did not associate her with the character of Eloise, Evelyn Rudie Paper Dolls, published by Saalfield in 1958.
During the late 1950s, she acted on other leading television shows, including Alfred Hitchcock Presents, General Electric Theater, Lawman, The Red Skelton Show, and Wagon Train, along with seven appearances on The Tonight Show with Jack Paar. During this period, she also was an actress on radio programs, including Suspense.
Nine-year-old Evelyn Rudie appeared as a contestant on the October 29, 1959, episode of the TV quiz program You Bet Your Life, hosted by Groucho Marx. Miss Rudie danced a waltz with her fellow contestant and told a joke in the German language. The pair earned $500.
After appearing uncredited in director George Sidney's Bye Bye Birdie (1963), she focused on education. She graduated from Hollywood High with honors and then studied film production at UCLA. Over a 36-year span, she has given more than 10,000 stage performances in 350 plays.
Her movie appearances include:
- Daddy Long Legs (uncredited, 1955)
- The View from Pompey's Head (1955)
- Hot Shots (uncredited, 1956)
- Playhouse 90: Eloise (credited as "Eloise as Herself")
- The Wings of Eagles (uncredited, 1957)
- The Restless Breed (1957)
- The Gift of Love (1958)
- Bye Bye Birdie (uncredited, 1963)
- "Child Star Discovered on Airliner to East". The Deseret News. 3 November 1959. p. A3. Retrieved 26 March 2016.
- Arkatov, Janice (24 September 1989). "Theater Has Long Run as Family Affair: Couple Runs Playhouse as a Total Experience". Los Angeles Times. Archived from the original on 11 October 2016. Retrieved 11 October 2016.
- "Luncheon, Bridal Shower, Honors Former Child Star". Valley News. Van Nuys, California. 18 July 1968. p. 101. Retrieved 26 March 2016 – via Newspapers.com.