Reference Entry

Arden, Eve

in American National Biography Online


Published online February 2000 | e-ISBN: 9780198606697

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stage, film, radio, and television actress, was born Eunice Quedens in Mill Valley, California, the daughter of Lucille Frank. Her parents divorced when she was two because of her father’s inveterate gambling. As a single parent, her mother made a living as a milliner, work that accounts in part for the headpieces Arden was noted for in her Hollywood days. She was raised by her mother in San Francisco and by her aunt in Mill Valley, inland from Sausalito. Success in a high school play led her to begin acting professionally at age sixteen with the Henry Duffy company in San Francisco. Soon after, she toured West Coast resorts and hotels (“the citrus circuit”) with the Bandbox Repertory Theater, a “superstock” company. Both allowed her to develop her acting skills. An appearance in a Leonard Silman revue, Lo and Behold, at the Pasadena Playhouse led to Lee Shubert hiring her for the Ziegfeld Follies of 1934, supporting Fanny Brice. The next year she appeared successfully in a revue, Parade, singing “Send for the Militia,” leading to a return engagement with the Follies in 1936, again with Fanny Brice and with Bob Hope. According to Arden, when Shubert asked her to shorten and simplify her name, she chose the heroine of the current book she was reading, Eve, and the manufacturer of the cosmetics she was using, Elizabeth Arden.

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