Saint, Eva Marie (1924—)

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Saint, Eva Marie (1924—)

American actress who won an Academy Award for her performance in On the Waterfront. Born on July 4, 1924, in Newark, New Jersey; younger daughter of John Saint (a businessman) and Eva Saint; Bowling Green State University, Bowling Green, Ohio, B.A., 1946; married Jeffrey Hayden (a producer-director), on October 27, 1951; children: two.

Selected filmography:

On the Waterfront (1954); That Certain Feeling (1956); A Hatful of Rain (1957); Raintree County (1957); North by Northwest (1959); Exodus (1960); All Fall Down (1962); 36 Hours (1964); The Sandpiper (1965); The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1966); Grand Prix (1966); The Stalking Moon (1969); Loving (1970); Cancel My Reservation (1972); Nothing in Common (1986).

Eva Marie Saint's "essential characteristic is serenity," noted Mademoiselle, following her Oscar-winning movie debut as the convent-reared girl in On the Waterfront. Over the course of her career, Saint has also been cited for the sensitivity and compassion she brings to the craft of acting. Reviewing her portrayal of the traveling companion in the Broadway play A Trip to Bountiful (1953), for which she received the Drama Critics Award, Walter Kerr observed: "She just nudges the role into existence, working softly, placidly, and with infinite attractiveness."

Saint was born in 1924 in Newark, New Jersey, but grew up in Delmar, New York, near Albany. Originally planning to become a teacher, she attended Bowling Green State University, where she soon discovered that her talents lay elsewhere. After acting in several college plays and spending two summers as a guide at a NBC radio station in New York, Saint graduated in 1946 and left for New York, to launch her career in radio. "With me," she later told Oscar Godbout of The New York Times, "there were years of doing small things, soap operas, ads, modeling, then the snowball just seemed to grow." In 1948, certain that she wanted to be an actress, Saint enrolled at the Actors Studio.

From radio, Saint moved gracefully into television, playing dramatic roles on such shows as "Robert Montgomery Presents," "Studio One," and "Philco Playhouse," and winning the 1954 Sylvania award as "the best dramatic actress in television." The Trip to Bountiful, which provided Saint with her first major role on Broadway, was actually adapted from the television play in which she also appeared. Saint's Broadway run was followed by the female lead in the film On the Waterfront, starring Marlon Brando and directed by the legendary Elia Kazan. Saint's delicate persona added a decidedly romantic note to the otherwise gritty film, which was adapted from the exposé of racketeering on the New York docks by Malcolm Johnson. A.H. Weiler of The New York Times found Kazan's choice of Saint inspired. "She is sweet, intelligent, and appealing in the role … poignant, tender, and moving." The Christian Science Monitor concurred, calling Saint "a compassionate actress who possesses beauty and something much more."

Saint appeared in a smattering of films throughout the next two decades, although her unique personality and talent made it increasingly difficult for her to find appropriate vehicles. Notable among her later roles was the long-suffering wife in A Hatful of Rain (1957) and the cool-headed spy in the Hitchcock comedy-thriller North by Northwest (1959). Her last film appearance was in Nothing in Common (1986).


Candee, Marjorie Dent, ed. Current Biography Yearbook 1955. NY: H.W. Wilson, 1955.

Scott, Walter. "Personality Parade," in Boston Sunday Globe Parade. February 4, 2001.

Barbara Morgan , Melrose, Massachusetts

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Saint, Eva Marie (1924—)

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Saint, Eva Marie (1924—)