The Enduring Charm of Evelyn Keyes: Reflecting on Her Life and Memorable Performances with Fabulous Photos

Evelyn Keyes may not have claimed the marquee as often as some stars, but her contribution to Hollywood’s golden days was far from negligible. Her career, rich with varied roles across the silver screen, spanned a good part of the 20th century. It’s a narrative of raw talent and steadfast dedication, featuring a collection of performances in some of the most iconic films of the time.

The Early Stardom

Born on November 20, 1916, in Port Arthur, Texas, Evelyn Keyes’ ascent to Hollywood stardom began with her move to California. It was here that she landed her first significant role as Scarlett O’Hara’s younger sister in the 1939 classic “Gone with the Wind.” While the part was not a leading one, the film’s success ensured that she would be immortalized in one of the most enduring works of the period.

In the years that followed, Keyes worked diligently, building her portfolio with a variety of roles that showcased her versatility. She appeared in comedies, dramas, and musicals, working alongside some of the biggest names of the time, including Charles Chaplin in “Modern Times” and Cecil B. DeMille in “The Buccaneer.”

The Hollywood Journey

Keyes’s career reflected the changing tides of Hollywood. She transitioned from the dreamy ingénues of her early years to more substantial roles through the 1940s and 1950s. Films like “The Jolson Story” and its sequel “Jolson Sings Again” gave her the chance to illustrate her depth as an actress, earning her critical acclaim and the adoration of fans.

Despite the successes, Keyes often found herself battling for recognition in an industry that was crowded with stars. Her performances, while strong, were sometimes overshadowed by the era’s more prominent names. Yet, those who worked with her and those cinephiles who sought out her work recognized her contribution to the art of filmmaking.

Personal Life and Retirement

Off the screen, Evelyn Keyes led a life as colorful as any movie script. She was married several times, most notably to director John Huston. Her personal life was subject to the same peaks and valleys as her professional one, with passionate love affairs that mirrored the drama of the roles she played.

As the Golden Age of Hollywood began to dim, so did Keyes’s career in the limelight. She made the decision to step away from acting, choosing instead to focus on writing. Her autobiography, “Scarlett O’Hara’s Younger Sister: My Lively Life In and Out of Hollywood,” published in 1977, offers an intimate look at her life and the industry that defined her public persona.

In her later years, Keyes remained largely out of the spotlight, enjoying the tranquility away from the cameras. Keyes did not have any children and was survived by her nieces and nephews. She passed away on July 4, 2008, in Montecito, California, at the age of 91. The cause, as reported, was uterine cancer. Her passing marked the loss of one more connection to a bygone era of cinematic history.

#1 Evelyn Keyes as Julie Benson and Larry Parks as Al Jolson in ‘The Jolson Story’, 1946.

#5 Evelyn Keyes in a publicity portrait for ‘The Jolson Story’, 1946.

#9 Lee J Cobb and Evelyn Keyes in ‘Johnny O’Clock’, 1947.

#10 Evelyn Keyes and John Payne in ‘Taxi 539 antwortet nicht’, 1953.

#11 Evelyn Keyes as ‘Sheila Bennet’ in ‘The Killer That Stalked New York’, 1950.

#12 Aerial shot of Evelyn Keyes by a swimming pool, circa 1945.

#20 Evelyn Keyes in Columbia’s ‘The Jolson Story’.

#23 Evelyn Keyes posing for a portrait, date unspecified.

#24 Evelyn Keyes in an Army Air Force waterproof map swimsuit, date unspecified.

#25 Evelyn Keyes with Cecil B. DeMille, date unspecified.

#26 Evelyn Keyes and husband Artie Shaw at the Rivoli Theatre, date unspecified.

#27 Evelyn Keyes exercising with a gymnasium harness, 1943.

#35 Larry Parks and Evelyn Keyes in ‘The Jolson Story’, 1946.

#36 Evelyn Keyes in ‘A Thousand and One Nights’, 1945.

#37 Evelyn Keyes, 1940 pin-up portrait by A.L. ‘Whitey’ Schaffer for Columbia Pictures.

#39 Jeff Chandler and Evelyn Keyes on-set of ‘Smuggler’s Island’, 1951.

#40 Sonny Tufts and Evelyn Keyes on-set of ‘The Seven Year Itch’, 1955.

#41 Larry Parks and Evelyn Keyes in ‘The Jolson Story’, 1946.

#46 Jeff Chandler and Evelyn Keyes in ‘Iron Man’, 1951.

#47 Glenn Ford and Evelyn Keyes in ‘Mr. Soft Touch’, 1949.

#51 Van Heflin and Evelyn Keyes in ‘The Prowler’, 1951.

#54 Evelyn Keyes and John Payne in ‘Taxi 539 antwortet nicht’, 1953.

#57 Evelyn Keyes in a publicity still for ‘Rough Shoot’

#61 Evelyn Keyes and Ann Rutherford on-set of ‘Gone with the Wind’, 1939.

Written by Nova Roberts

Nova Roberts is a classic Hollywood fanatic and vintage fashion enthusiast.With a love for vintage actresses and actors and a passion for all things retro, Nova is always on the lookout for the next big find. Just don't be surprised if you catch her dancing down the street in a pair of vintage heels and a full-skirted dress, because for Nova, every day is a chance to channel her inner Audrey Hepburn.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

Pierce Brosnan First Wife Cassandra Harris

The Endearing Bond Between Pierce Brosnan and His First Wife, Cassandra Harris, Told Through Photos

Julie Christie 1960S

50 Captivating Photos of Julie Christie in the 1960s That Epitomize the Golden Age of Hollywood