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Varden in the mid 1950s.
June 12, 1893
Adair, Oklahoma, U.S.
|Died||July 11, 1958 (aged 65)|
Manhattan, New York City, U.S.
|Occupation||Stage, film, television actress|
|Spouse(s)||William J. Quinn (her death)[better source needed]|
Varden began her career as a teenager in the first decade of the 20th century, acting with her aunts in a troupe that toured the western United States. She was on Broadway by age sixteen in 1910. It was not until the 1930s and into her forties that her stage career took off in the theater, notably playing Mrs. Gibbs, the small town matron who dreams of Paris, in the original production of Our Town.
Varden's stage work mainly consisted of showy supporting roles although she did star in the ill-fated Return Engagement by Lawrence Riley. The 1950 melodrama Hilda Crane was a personal success for Varden although the play itself ran only two months. The following year she played the Nurse in a production of Romeo and Juliet toplining Olivia De Havilland. Her final Broadway appearance in The Bad Seed was one of her acclaimed performances.[according to whom?]
Radio and television
Varden occasionally appeared on radio from the early 1940s and well into the 1950s. She starred in radio productions of Hay Fever, The Silver Cord, and The Glass Menagerie among several other programs. She would later appear in a number of television productions during the 1950s, including an adaptation of Cradle Song, opposite Judith Anderson.
Varden did not make her first film appearance until 1949 at age 56 with the film Pinky. She then went on to make over a dozen more films, including recreating her stage roles in the motion picture adaptations of Hilda Crane (1956) and The Bad Seed (1956). Her best-known motion picture performance was as the gregarious storekeeper Icy Spoon in the 1955 film classic The Night of the Hunter starring Robert Mitchum. She was still going strong in her career at the time of her sudden death.
Varden was married to William J. Quinn, a hotel operator.
- Pinky (1949) as Melba Wooley
- When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950) as Mrs. Gertrude Kluggs
- Cheaper by the Dozen (1950) as School Principal (uncredited)
- Stella (1950) as Flora Stella's mother
- Elopement (1951) as Millie Reagan
- Finders Keepers (1952) as Ma Kipps
- Phone Call from a Stranger (1952) as Sally Carr
- The Student Prince (1954) as Queen
- Athena (1954) as Grandma Salome Mulvain
- Désirée (1954) as Marie
- The Night of the Hunter (1955) as Icey Spoon
- Hilda Crane (1956) as Mrs. Burns
- The Bad Seed (1956) as Monica Breedlove
- Ten Thousand Bedrooms (1957) as Countess Alzani
- Cradle Song (1960, TV movie) as The Vicaress (final film role)
- The Nest Egg (Nov 22, 1910 - Jan 1911)
- Seven Days' Leave (Jan 17, 1918 - Jun 1918)
- Allegiance (Aug 1, 1918 - Sep 1918)
- The Honor of the Family (Mar 17, 1919 - May 1919)
- Alley Cat (Sep 17, 1934 - Sep 1934)
- A Woman of the Soil (Mar 25, 1935 - Apr 1935)
- Life's Too Short (Sep 20, 1935 - Sep 1935)
- Weep for the Virgins (Nov 30, 1935 - Dec 1935)
- Russet Mantle (Jan 16, 1936 - Apr 1936)
- Prelude to Exile (Nov 30, 1936 - Jan 1937)
- Now You've Done It (Mar 5, 1937 - Apr 1937)
- To Quito and Back (Oct 6, 1937 - Dec 1937)
- Our Town (Feb 4, 1938 - Nov 19, 1938)
- Family Portrait (Mar 8, 1939 - Jun 1939)
- Ladies and Gentlemen (Oct 17, 1939 - Jan 13, 1940)
- Grey Farm (May 3, 1940 - Jun 1, 1940)
- Return Engagement (Nov 1, 1940 - Nov 7, 1940)
- The Lady Who Came to Stay (Jan 2, 1941 - Jan 4, 1941)
- Candle in the Wind (Oct 22, 1941 - Jan 10, 1942)
- The Family (Mar 30, 1943 - Apr 3, 1943)
- Our Town (revival) (Jan 10, 1944 - Jan 29, 1944)
- Dream Girl (Dec 14, 1945 - Dec 14, 1946)
- Present Laughter (Oct 29, 1946 - Mar 15, 1947)
- She Stoops to Conquer (Dec 28, 1949 - Jan 8, 1950)
- Hilda Crane (Nov 1, 1950 - Dec 31, 1950)
- Romeo and Juliet (Mar 10, 1951 - Apr 21, 1951)
- A Date With April (Apr 15, 1953 - Apr 25, 1953)
- The Bad Seed (Dec 8, 1954 - Sep 27, 1955)
- "Evelyn Varden". www.nndb.com.
- "Meet Evelyn Varden". Times Union. New York, Brooklyn. December 7, 1936. p. 7. Retrieved January 21, 2020 – via Newspapers.com.
- Nissen, Axel (2012). Mothers, Mammies and Old Maids: Twenty-Five Character Actresses of Golden Age Hollywood. McFarland. pp. 176–177. ISBN 9780786490455. Retrieved 6 December 2017.
- "Actress Evelyn Varden Dies". Detroit Free Press. Michigan, Detroit. July 14, 1958. p. 17. Retrieved December 7, 2017 – via Newspapers.com.