Eve Arden (April 30, 1908 – November 12, 1990) was an American actress. Her almost 60-year career crossed most media frontiers with supporting and leading roles, but she is perhaps best remembered for playing the sardonic but engaging high school teacher in the classic Our Miss Brooks (radio and television), and as the Rydell High School principal in the films Grease and Grease 2.
Arden was born Eunice M. Quedens in Mill Valley, California, to Lucille and Charles Peter Quedens. Her parents divorced when she was a child. She was raised Catholic. Arden said she was an insecure child, declaring later in life that she needed therapy because her mother was so much more beautiful than she.
At 16, Arden left Tamalpais High School and joined a stock theater company. She made her film debut, under her real name, in the backstage musical Song of Love (1929). She played a wisecracking showgirl who becomes a rival to the film's star, singer Belle Baker. The film was one of Columbia Pictures' earliest successes.
Eve Arden's Broadway debut came in 1934, when she was cast in that year's Ziegfeld Follies revue.
Her film career began in earnest in 1937 when she appeared in the films Oh Doctor and Stage Door. Her Stage Door portrayal of a fast-talking, witty supporting character, gained Arden considerable notice and was to be a template for many of Arden's future roles.
Her many memorable screen roles include a supporting role as Joan Crawford's wise-cracking friend, Ida, in 1945's Mildred Pierce (for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress), and James Stewart's wistful secretary in Otto Preminger's then-explicit murder mystery, Anatomy of a Murder (1959). (One of her co-stars in that film was husband Brooks West.) She also performed some acrobatics while trying to steal a wallet from Groucho Marx in the Marx Brothers film At the Circus (1939).
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