TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-Nine — Eva Marie Saint

A treasure.

Eva Marie Saint is one of four stars being feted in this year’s Summer Under the Stars celebration who is still with us – she turned 96 this year.

She’s also the only one of this year’s stars that I’ve had the pleasure of seeing in person. Is it any wonder that Eva Marie Saint Day is one of my personal favorites?


Eva Marie Saint was born on July 4, 1924 in Newark, New Jersey, one of two daughters of Quaker parents John Merle and Eva Marie. After high school, she attended Bowling Green State University. She was studying to follow in her mother’s footsteps to become a teacher when a member of the school’s drama department invited her to appear in a school production. Saint never looked back; after graduation, she moved to New York City, where she found work as a radio actress. She also took classes at the famed Actors Studio and the Stella Adler School of Acting.

Saint began her career as a page for NBC, then appeared on the NBC television show Campus Hoopla. She was also one of the original singing “Bonnie Maids” used in live commercials for the Bonnie Maid Versatile Varieties, a variety show on NBC. (The other “Bonnie Maids were Edie Adams, Anne Francis, and Janis Paige.)

Young Eva.

Beginning in 1949, she could be seen regularly on a variety of television shows, including Actor’s Studio and Prudential Family Playhouse. She played with Lillian Gish in a live TV performance of The Trip to Bountiful and in 1953, she made her Broadway debut in the same role. The following year, she won the role of Edie Doyle (beating out close contender Elizabeth Montgomery) in her big screen debut, On the Waterfront. For her performance, she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress.


  • Saint was a cheerleader at Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, located near Albany. She was inducted into the school’s Hall of Fame in 2006.
  • There is a theater named after Saint on the campus of Bowling Green University.
  • In September 1949, Saint was featured in a Life magazine article about her struggles to make it as an actress in New York. The article stated that “the mathematical odds against Miss Saint . . . are terribly large.”
  • The actress was nominated for five Emmys for various roles; she won in 1990 for People Like Us, a miniseries based on the novel by Dominic Dunne.
  • Saint was married for 65 years to director-producer Jeffrey Hayden, until his death at the age of 90 in 2016.


Don’t miss it.

I considered choosing On the Waterfront (1954) or A Hatful of Rain (1957) – Saint is simply outstanding in both. But for sheer joy, I’m going to go with North by Northwest (1959). This Alfred Hitchcock-directed feature involves a lot of things – mistaken identity, spies, and various and sundry other bits of business – but it’s riveting from start to finish and Eva Marie Saint is luminous throughout.

Also, treat yourself and check out Eva Marie Saint’s interview with Robert Osborne from the 2014 TCM Classic Film Festival. She’s an absolute delight.

And join me for Day 30 of Summer Under the Stars!

~ by shadowsandsatin on August 28, 2020.

3 Responses to “TCM Summer Under the Stars: Day Twenty-Nine — Eva Marie Saint”

  1. […] Day 29: Eva Marie Saint […]

  2. Am I the only person who finds North by Northwest wildly overrated? A pretty good, overlong picture that would be excessive yet still gripping at 1hr45, for insufficient reasons gets stretched to an astonishing and completely unnecessary 2hr16?

    In the 1950s thrillers were sensibly limited, for the most part, to 90 minutes. The superior The Narrow Margin (1952), for example, clocks in at a frugal 71 minutes, telling a story no less complex than Hitchcock’s, and even something like the more layered Last Train from Gun Hill, released the same year as N by NW, comes in at 95 minutes.

    Hitchcock’s self-indulgence was rarely on display to the extent it is here, and in spite of Cary Grant and Eva-Marie Saint his picture just drags on and on.

  3. Btw, not sure where else this might go, but I wanted to ask if it’s the best idea to have people reply to a post of yours, then click “Notify me of new comments via email,” then have to click on additional emails to be sure to get those comments. Perhaps simplifying the process as is the case with nearly every other website might be preferable? Thanks, Blair

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