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Evelyn Keyes

Evelyn Keyes

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Also Known As: Died: July 4, 2008
Born: November 20, 1919 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: Port Arthur, Texas Profession: Cast ... actor writer chorus girl
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BIOGRAPHY

An attractive former chorine, Evelyn Keyes entered films in the late 1930s under contract to Cecil B DeMille. She debuted in the director's swashbuckling "The Buccaneer" (1938) and followed with DeMille's "Union Pacific" (1939). For many film buffs, she is best remembered as Scarlett's younger sister Suellen O'Hara in "Gone With the Wind" (also 1939). Keyes went on to distinguish such efforts as the farcical "The Lady in Question" (1940, directed by her second husband Charles Vidor) and was especially fine as the young woman who becomes involved with the re-incarnated Robert Montgomery in the charming fantasy "Here Comes Mr. Jordan" (1941). After playing an innocent in Vidor's "The Desperadoes" (1943), she portrayed an impish genie in "A Thousand and One Nights" (1945) before reaching her peak as the lead of the immensely popular biopic "The Jolson Story" (1946). (Although based on her, Keyes' character was not named Ruby Keeler, then the ex-Mrs. Al Jolson). She continued to appear in a number of mostly forgotten films, often delivering performances better than the material. Keyes was fine as David Niven's niece in the romance "Enchantment" (1948) and was particularly effective as Van Heflin's married lover in Joseph Losey's fine thriller "The Prowler" (1951). She proved to be an effective foil for Tom Ewell in "The Seven Year Itch" (1955), although most viewers only recall Marilyn Monroe standing over a subway grate. After an appearance in the all-star, Oscar-winning "Around the World in 80 Days" (1956), Keyes retired from Hollywood. After fifteen years, the actress re-emerged as a writer with the novel "I Am a Billboard" in 1971 before making a one-shot return to films with an uncredited cameo in "Across 110th Street" (1972). She published a spicy memoir "Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister" in 1977 which detailed her many romantic entanglements and her relationships with her husbands Charles Vidor, John Huston and Artie Shaw. Ten years later, Keyes was seen in a featured role in the horror sequel "A Return to Salem's Lot" (1987) and delivered her last big screen performance playing a witch in "Wicked Stepmother" (1989).

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