– April 26
) was an American film actress
who began her career as a child performer and model
. She possessed classical features and reddish-yellow hair.
Child model and stage actress
Evans was featured in print ads as the "Fairy Soap girl" as an infant. She made her professional debut at the age of six months, posing for artist's models. As a youth, her playmates included Robert Warwick
, Holbrook Blinn
, and Henry Hull
. When she was four years old, Evans was featured in a series of child plays produced by William A. Brady
. She worked at the old Long Island, New York
movie studio. Her success was immediate, so much so that her mother loaned her daughter's name to a hat company. Evans posed in a mother and child tableau with Anita Stewart
, then 16, for an Anheuser-Busch
Brewing Company calendar, and as the little mountain girl in Heidi of the Alps
At the age of 13, Evans was paired with John Barrymore in the first screen version of Peter Ibbetson. She costarred with Richard Barthelmess in Classmates (1924). At 17, she returned to the stage and appeared as the ingenue (stock character) in Daisy Mayme. Some of her best work in plays came in productions of Dread, The Marquis, and The Conquering Male. Her last appearance was in Philip Goes Forth produced by George Kelley. Evans' mother took her to England and Europe when she was 15.
She was working on stage when she signed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1927. As with theater, she continued to play ingenue parts, often as the fiancée of the leading man.
Working for MGM in the 1930s, she appeared in Dinner at Eight (1933), Hell Below (1933), and David Copperfield (1935). In 1933, she starred with James Cagney in a melodrama entitled The Mayor of Hell, playing a pretty nurse who solicits the aid of a tough politician, played by Cagney. Other notable movies in which she appeared are Beauty for Sale (1933), Grand Canary (1934), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Pennies From Heaven (1936).
In 1939, she married playwright Sidney Kingsley
. Kingsley is best known for his plays, later turned into popular films, Dead End
and Detective Story
. The two owned a fifty-acre estate two miles (3 km) from Oakland, New Jersey
. Following her marriage to Kinsley, Evans left Hollywood
and moved to the New Jersey home.
Radio and television
Later, she worked in radio and television in New York City
. Evans performed on the Philco Television Playhouse
(1949-1950), Studio One
(1954), Matinee Theater
(1955), and The Alcoa Hour
(1956). She refused repeated offers to return to Hollywood. She retired in 1971.
Madge Evans died at her home in Oakland, New Jersey of cancer in 1981.
- Los Angeles Times, Marriages In Hollywood Exceed Divorces In 1939, January 2, 1940, Page A1.
- Los Angeles Times, Child Film Star, Ingenue Madge Evans Dies at 71, April 27, 1981, Page A1.
- Oakland, California Tribune, Two Wise Young Maidens, January 10, 1937, Page 80.
- San Mateo Times, A Defence of Youth, January 18, 1936, Page 15.
- Syracuse Herald, Madge Evans, Joan Marsh, and Jackie Coogan head Sextet Surviving, Sunday Morning, July 19, 1931, Section 3, Page 11.
- Zanesville, Ohio Signal, Madge Evans Has Role With James Cagney, July 16, 1933, Page 12.