Keyes in 99 River Street (1953)
|Born||Evelyn Louise Keyes
November 20, 1916
Port Arthur, Texas, U.S.
|Died||July 4, 2008
Peppers Estate Care Home, Montecito, California, U.S.
|Cause of death||Uterine cancer and Alzheimer's disease|
(m. 1938; d. 1940)
(m. 1944; div. 1945)
(m. 1946; div. 1950)
(m. 1957; div. 1985)
|Michael Todd (1953-1956)|
Evelyn Keyes was born in Port Arthur, Texas, 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.
A chorus girl by age 18, Keyes was put under contract by Cecil B. DeMille. After a handful of B movies at Paramount Pictures, she landed a minor role in Gone with the Wind (1939), that of Scarlett O'Hara's sister Suellen. (She was later interviewed for the 1988 documentary The Making of a Legend: Gone with the Wind.)
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. Keyes' last major film role was a small part as Tom Ewell's vacationing wife in The Seven Year Itch (1955), which starred Marilyn Monroe. Keyes officially retired in 1956, but continued to act.
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), and bandleader Artie Shaw (1957-1985). Keyes said of her many relationships, "I always took up with the man of the moment and there were many such moments." While married to Huston, the couple adopted a Mexican child, Pablo, whom Huston had discovered while on the set of 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. 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, as the experience left her unable to have children. Among the many Hollywood affairs she recounted in Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister were those with producer Michael Todd (who left Evelyn for Elizabeth Taylor), Glenn Ford, Sterling Hayden, Dick Powell, Anthony Quinn, David Niven and Kirk Douglas. She had to fend off Harry Cohn's advances during her career in Columbia.
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."
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...
Evelyn Keyes has separated from her third husband, Director John Huston, the blond actress said yesterday.
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.
A traditional Arabian Nights romance, some modern spoofing comedy, and a bit of trick photography have been put together in a lavish Technicolor production to make "A Thousand and One Nights," the new feature at the State and Orpheum.
For those who like South American rhythms, enjoy vigorous Brazilian dancing, and the singing of Tito Guizar, "The Thrill of Brazil," a Columbia musical starring Keenan Wynn and Evelyn Keyes, at the State and Orpheum, is a fiesta.
Columbia has confirmed the choice of Evelyn Keyes for the part of Ruby Keeler in "The Al Jolson Story," after having tested more than a score of candidates for the role.
"Shoot First," starring Joel McCrea and Evelyn Keyes at Globe, Uptown and Loyola Theaters, poses as a cloak and dagger picture, and was shot mostly in the countryside of England.
After two years in Europe Evelyn Keyes has been lured back to Hollywood to make "Cross-Town" for United Artists.
Evelyn Keyes' vacation is over. She's heading for Honolulu to costar with Wendell Corey in "Hell's Half Acre" for Republic.