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  • Sold Date: Mar 08, 2007
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Eve Arden ( April 30 , 1908 ) was an Academy Award -nominated and Emmy --winning American actress, who established a lengthy career as a supporting and character actor but was best remembered for playing a sardonically engaging high school teacher in the radio and television classic Our Miss Brooks .

Arden was born Eunice Quedens in Mill Valley, California to Lucille and Charles Peter Quedens. Her parents divorced when she was a child. Arden was an insecure child, declaring later in life that she needed therapy because her mother was so much more beautiful than she was.

At 16, Arden left Tamalpais High School [1] and joined a stock theater company. She appeared in a few minor film roles under her real name. Her Broadway debut came in 1934 , when she was cast in the stage play Ziegfeld Follies .

Her film career began in earnest in 1937 when she appeared in the films Oh Doctor and Stage Door . Her performance in Stage Door , w she portrayed 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 pal in 1945's Mildred Pierce (for which she received an Academy Award nomination as Best Supporting Actress), and James Stewart 's wistful secretary in 1959's then-explicit murder mystery, Anatomy of a Murder . (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 .

Arden's quick wit made her a natural talent for radio; she became a regular on Danny Kaye 's short-lived but memorably zany comedy-variety show in 1946 , which also featured swing bandleader Harry James and gravel-voiced character actor-comedian Lionel Stander .

Kaye's show lasted one season, but Arden's display of comic talent and timing set the stage for her to be cast in the role for which she is best known, as Madison High School English teacher Connie Brooks in Our Miss Brooks . Arden portrayed the character on radio from 1948 to 1957 , as well as in a television version of the program, which ran from 1952 to 1956 . (She would also portray the character in a feature film.) Arden's character clashed with the school's principal, Osgood Conklin (played by Gale Gordon ), and nursed an unrequited crush on fellow teacher Philip Boynton.

Arden's portrayal of the character was so popular that she was made an honorary member of the National Education Association , received a 1952 award from the Teachers College of Connecticut's Alumni Association "for humanizing the American teacher," and even received teaching job offers.

Arden won a radio listeners' poll by Radio Mirror magazine as the top ranking comedienne of 1948-1949, receiving her award at the end of an Our Miss Brooks broadcast that March. "I'm certainly going to try in the coming months to merit the honor you've bestowed upon me, because I understand that if I win this (award) two years in a row, I get to keep Mr. Boynton," she joked. But she was also a hit with the critics; a winter 1949 poll of newspaper and magazine radio editors taken by Motion Picture Daily named her the year's best radio comedienne.

Arden tried another series in 1957 with the eponymous The Eve Arden Show , but it was cancelled after only a few episodes.

Arden also co-starred with Kaye Ballard in the 1967-1969 situation comedy The Mothers-in-Law , which was produced by her old friend Desi Arnaz after the dissolution of Desilu .

She was one of many stars to take on the title roles in Hello, Dolly! and Auntie Mame in the 1960s; in 1967, she won the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre .

She became familiar to a new generation of film-goers when she played harassed Principal McGee in both 1978's Grease and 1982's Grease 2 , as well as ma...