Keyes, Evelyn 1916–2008

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Keyes, Evelyn 1916–2008

(Evelyn Louise Keyes, Goldie Keyes)


See index for CA sketch: Born November 20, 1916, in Port Arthur, TX; died of cancer, July 4, 2008, in Montecito, CA. Film star, dancer, columnist, novelist, and author. As a Hollywood movie star, Keyes played roles that were larger than life, both on and off the screen, but she is usually remembered for one of her earliest supporting roles: that of Scarlett O'Hara's younger sister in Gone with the Wind. She would later be linked in news stories with her legendary spouses, filmmaker John Huston, director Charles Vidor, and bandleader Artie Shaw. She was also credited with roles in nearly fifty films, from the biographical musical The Jolson Story to the dark thriller The Prowler to the romantic comedy The Seven Year Itch. Keyes retired from acting around 1955, blaming her retirement on a lack of suitable roles for aging women, though she had not yet reached the age of forty. Keyes was born in Texas and danced her way into Hollywood as "Goldie Keyes." She was "discovered" by filmmaker Cecil B. DeMille, reportedly in a restaurant, and spent several years on the film sets of Columbia Pictures. Keyes had at least four marriages and many more liaisons with screen legends and other celebrities. She dabbled in stage roles, including a touring production of No, No, Nanette in 1973, traveled the world, and collected primitive art. Finally, in her fifties, Keyes embarked on a career that she later commented should have been her first choice: she became a writer. Keyes published a (reportedly autobiographical) novel, I Am a Billboard (1971). For a few years, beginning in 1984, she contributed a film industry column "Keyes to the Town," to the Los Angeles Times. She also wrote two tell-all autobiographies that generated respectable sales: Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister: My Lively Life in and out of Hollywood and I'll Think about That Tomorrow.



Keyes, Eleanor, Scarlett O'Hara's Younger Sister: My Lively Life in and out of Hollywood, Lyle Stuart (Secaucus, NJ), 1977.

Keyes, Eleanor, I'll Think about That Tomorrow, E.P. Dutton (New York, NY), 1991.


Chicago Tribune, July 13, 2008, sec. 4, p. 6.

Los Angeles Times, July 12, 2008, p. B11.

New York Times, July 12, 2008, p. B10.

Washington Post, July 12, 2008, p. B6.