Born in Manhattan as Margherita Evans, Madge Evans was featured in print ads as the ‘Fairy Soap girl’ as an infant. She made her professional debut at the age of six months, posing for artist’s models. As a youth, her playmates included Robert Warwick, Holbrook Blinn, and Henry Hull. When she was four years old, Evans was featured in a series of child plays produced by William A. Brady. She worked at the old Long Island, New York movie studio. Her success was immediate, so much so that her mother loaned her daughter’s name to a hat company. Evans posed in a mother and child tableau with Anita Stewart, then 16, for an Anheuser-Busch Brewing Company calendar, and as the little mountain girl in Heidi of the Alps. At the age of 8 in 1917, Evans appeared in the Broadway production of Peter Ibbetson with John Barrymore, Constance Collier and Laura Hope Crews. At 17, she returned to the stage and appeared as the ingenue (stock character) in Daisy Mayme. Some of her best work in plays came in productions of Dread, The Marquis, and The Conquering Male. Her last appearance was in Philip Goes Forth produced by George Kelley. Evans’ mother took her to England and Europe when she was 15.
As a child film actress, Evans had quite a prolific career appearing in dozens of films, including with Marguerite Clark in The Seven Sisters (1915), a film with a large female ensemble that had been played on stage with Clark’s rival Mary Pickford and Laurette Taylor in the cast. She was featured with Robert Warwick in Alias Jimmy Valentine (1915), a still extant film that has seen release on home video/DVD. At 14, she was the star of J. Stuart Blackton’s rural melodrama On the Banks of the Wabash (1923). She co-starred with Richard Barthelmess in Classmates (1924). She was working on stage when she signed with Metro Goldwyn Mayer in 1927. As with theater, she continued to play ingenue parts, often as the fiancé of the leading man. She played the love interest to both Al Jolson and Henry Morgan in the 1933 film Hallelujah, I’m a Bum. Working for MGM in the 1930s, she appeared in Dinner at Eight (1933), Broadway to Hollywood (1933), Hell Below (1933), and David Copperfield (1935). In 1933, she starred with James Cagney in a melodrama entitled The Mayor of Hell, playing a pretty nurse who solicits the aid of a tough politician, played by Cagney. Other notable movies in which she appeared are Beauty for Sale (1933), Grand Canary (1934), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Pennies From Heaven (1936).
In York Village, Maine, on July 25, 1939, she married playwright Sidney Kingsley, best known for his plays Dead End and Detective Story which were later turned into popular films. The couple owned a 250-acre (1,000,000 m2) estate in Oakland, New Jersey. Following her marriage to Kingsley, Evans left Hollywood and moved to the New Jersey home. Later, she worked in radio and television in New York City. Evans performed on the Philco Television Playhouse (1949–1950), Studio One (1954), Matinee Theater (1955), and The Alcoa Hour (1956). She refused repeated offers to return to Hollywood. She retired in 1971. Madge Evans died at her home in Oakland, New Jersey from cancer in 1981, aged 71.
- July, 01, 1909
- New York, New York
- April, 26, 1981
- Oakland, New Jersey
Cause of Death