Eva Marie Saint

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Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint Promo Portrait, c. 1951.jpg
Saint c.1951
Born (1924-07-04) July 4, 1924 (age 98)
Alma mater Bowling Green State University
Years active1945–2021
(m. 1951;died 2016)

Eva Marie Saint (born July 4, 1924) is an American actress of film, theatre and television. In a career spanning over 70 years, she has won an Academy Award and a Primetime Emmy Award, alongside nominations for a Golden Globe Award and two British Academy Film Awards. Upon the deaths of Olivia de Havilland in 2020 and Angela Lansbury in 2022, Saint became the oldest living and later earliest surviving winner of an Academy Award, and one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.


Born in New Jersey and raised in New York, Saint attended Bowling Green State University and began her career as a television and radio actress in the late 1940s. Among her notable early credits, she originated the role of Thelma in Horton Foote's The Trip to Bountiful (1953), originally an NBC telecast before being adapted into the Tony Award-winning play of the same name. For her performance in the stage version, she won an Outer Critics Circle Award. She made her film debut in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954), opposite Marlon Brando. The film, which received eight Academy Awards, including Best Picture, earned her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress and a nomination for the BAFTA Award for Most Promising Newcomer. Establishing her as an immediate star, it is widely considered to be one of the greatest and most influential films ever made.

From then on, Saint appeared in a variety of roles, including That Certain Feeling (1956), opposite Bob Hope; Raintree County (1957), opposite Montgomery Clift and Elizabeth Taylor; and Fred Zinnemann's A Hatful of Rain (1957), opposite Don Murray and Anthony Franciosa, for which she was nominated for the Golden Globe Award for Best Performance by an Actress in a Motion Picture - Drama. One of her most notable roles came playing Eve Kendall opposite Cary Grant in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). Throughout the 1960s, Saint sustained a film presence with appearances in Exodus (1960), alongside Paul Newman; The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1965), alongside Carl Reiner and Alan Arkin; The Sandpiper (1965), which reunited her with Elizabeth Taylor and featured Richard Burton; and John Frankenheimer's Grand Prix (1966).

Saint gained consecutive nominations for the Primetime Emmy Award for Best Actress in a Single Performance for her appearances in the anthology series The Philco Television Playhouse (1954) and Producers' Showcase (1955). Beginning in the 1970s, her film career began to decline, though she garnered praise for her role opposite George Segal in Loving (1970). She gained additional consecutive Primetime Emmy Award nominations for How the West Was Won (1977) and Taxi!!! (1978), and won the Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a Special for the miniseries People Like Us (1990). Saint returned to film with Nothing in Common (1986), opposite Tom Hanks, and continued to act occasionally, notably in Superman Returns (2006), voicing Katara in The Legend of Korra (2012–2014) and Winter's Tale (2014) with Colin Farrell.

Early life

Saint in her cheerleader uniform in high school, 1942 Eva Marie Saint in her cheerleader uniform in Bethlehem Central High School, 1942.jpg
Saint in her cheerleader uniform in high school, 1942

Saint was born on July 4, 1924, [1] in Newark, New Jersey, to Quaker parents. [2] She attended Bethlehem Central High School in Delmar, New York, near Albany, graduating in 1942. She was inducted into the high school's hall of fame in 2006. She studied acting at Bowling Green State University and joined Delta Gamma Sorority. During this time she played the lead role in a production of Personal Appearance . [3] A theater on Bowling Green's campus is named after her. [4] She was an active member in the theater honorary fraternity, Theta Alpha Phi, [5] and served as record keeper of the student council in 1944. [6]


Early television career

Saint's introduction to television began as an NBC page. [7] She appeared in the live NBC-TV show Campus Hoopla in 194647. Her performances on this program are recorded on rare kinescope, and audio recordings of these telecasts are preserved in the Library of Congress. She also appeared in Bonnie Maid's Versa-Tile Varieties on NBC in 1949 as one of the original singing "Bonnie Maids" used in the live commercials.

Saint appeared in a 1947 Life Magazine special about television, and also in a 1949 feature Life article about her as a struggling actress earning minimum amounts from early TV while trying to make ends meet in New York City. In the late 1940s, Saint continued to make her living by extensive work in radio and television. In 1953, she won the Drama Critics Award for her Broadway stage role in the Horton Foote play The Trip to Bountiful (1953), in which she co-starred with such formidable actors as Lillian Gish and Jo Van Fleet.

In 1955, Saint was nominated for her first Emmy for "Best Actress In A Single Performance" on The Philco Television Playhouse, playing the young mistress of middle-aged E. G. Marshall in Middle of the Night by Paddy Chayefsky. She won another Emmy nomination for the 1955 television musical version of Our Town, adapted from the Thornton Wilder play of the same name. Co-stars were Paul Newman and Frank Sinatra. Her success and acclaim in TV productions were of such a high level that "one slightly hyperbolic primordial TV critic dubbed her 'the Helen Hayes of television.'" [2]

On the Waterfront

Saint and Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront, 1954 Eva marie saint marlon brando waterfront 14 (edit).jpg
Saint and Marlon Brando in On the Waterfront , 1954

Saint made her feature film debut in On the Waterfront (1954), starring Marlon Brando and directed by Elia Kazan—a performance for which she won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Her performance in the role of Edie Doyle (whose brother's death sets the film's drama in motion), which she won over such leading contenders as Claire Trevor, Nina Foch, Katy Jurado and Jan Sterling, also earned her a British Academy of Film and Television Award nomination for "Most Promising Newcomer". In his review for The New York Times , film critic A. H. Weiler wrote, "In casting Eva Marie Saint—a newcomer to movies from TV and Broadway—Mr. Kazan has come up with a pretty and blond artisan who does not have to depend on these attributes. Her parochial school training is no bar to love with the proper stranger. Amid scenes of carnage, she gives tenderness and sensitivity to genuine romance." [8] The film was a major success and launched Saint's movie career. She received $7,500 for the role. [9]

In a 2000 interview in Premiere magazine, Saint recalled making the film, which has been highly influential, saying, "[Elia] Kazan put me in a room with Marlon Brando. He said 'Brando is the boyfriend of your sister. You're not used to being with a young man. Don't let him in the door under any circumstances.' I don't know what he told Marlon; you'll have to ask him—good luck! [Brando] came in and started teasing me. He put me off balance. And I remained off balance for the whole shoot." She repeated the anecdote in a 2010 interview. [10]

She appeared alongside Bob Hope in That Certain Feeling (1956) for which she received $50,000. [9] She was then offered $100,000 to star in the lavish Civil War epic Raintree County (1957) with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. [9] After that, she starred with Don Murray in A Hatful of Rain , the pioneering drug-addiction drama, which although made later than Raintree Country was released earlier in 1957. She received a nomination for the "Best Foreign Actress" award from the British Academy of Film and Television for her performance. [11]

North by Northwest

Cary Grant and Saint in North by Northwest, 1959 North by Northwest movie trailer screenshot (23).jpg
Cary Grant and Saint in North by Northwest , 1959

Director Alfred Hitchcock surprised many by choosing Saint over dozens of other candidates for the femme fatale role in what was to become a suspense classic North by Northwest (1959) with Cary Grant and James Mason. Written by Ernest Lehman, the film updated and expanded upon the director's early "wrong man" spy adventures of the 1930s, 1940s, and 1950s, including The 39 Steps , Young and Innocent , and Saboteur . North by Northwest became a box-office hit and an influence on spy films for decades. [12] The film ranks number forty on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time. [13]

Hitchcock worked with Saint to make her voice lower and huskier, and personally chose costumes for her during a shopping trip to Bergdorf Goodman in New York City.

The change in Saint's screen persona, coupled with her adroit performance as a seductive woman of mystery who keeps Cary Grant (and the audience) off balance, was widely heralded. In his review of August 7, 1959, The New York Times critic Abe H. Weiler wrote, "In casting Eva Marie Saint as [Cary Grant's] romantic vis-a-vis, Mr. Hitchcock has plumbed some talents not shown by the actress heretofore. Although she is seemingly a hard, designing type, she also emerges both the sweet heroine and a glamorous charmer." [14]

In 2000, recalling her experience making the picture with Cary Grant and Hitchcock, Saint said, "[Grant] would say, 'See, Eva Marie, you don't have to cry in a movie to have a good time. Just kick up your heels and have fun.' Hitchcock said, 'I don't want you to do a sink-to-sink movie again, ever. You've done these black-and-white movies like On the Waterfront . It's drab in that tenement house. Women go to the movies, and they've just left the sink at home. They don't want to see you at the sink.' In a 2010 interview she stated: "I said, 'I can't promise you that, Hitch, because I love those dramas.'" [10]


Saint with Don Murray in A Hatful of Rain (1957) Don Murray - Eva Marie Saint - 1957.jpg
Saint with Don Murray in A Hatful of Rain (1957)

Although North by Northwest might have propelled her to the top ranks of stardom, Saint chose to limit her film work in order to spend time with her husband since 1951, director Jeffrey Hayden, and their two children. In the 1960s, Saint continued to distinguish herself in both high-profile and offbeat pictures. She co-starred with Paul Newman in Exodus (1960), a historical drama about the founding of the state of Israel adapted from the novel of the same name by Leon Uris. It was directed by Otto Preminger. She also co-starred with Warren Beatty, Karl Malden and Angela Lansbury as a tragic beauty in the drama All Fall Down (1962). Based upon a novel by James Leo Herlihy and a screenplay by William Inge, the film was directed by John Frankenheimer.

She appeared with Elizabeth Taylor and Richard Burton in the melodrama The Sandpiper for Vincente Minnelli, and with James Garner in the World War II thriller 36 Hours (1965), directed by George Seaton. Saint joined an all-star cast in the comedic satire, The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming , directed by Norman Jewison, and the international racing drama, Grand Prix (1966) directed by Frankenheimer and presented in Cinerama.

Saint received some of her best reviews for her performance in Loving (1970), co-starring as the wife of George Segal. The movie was about a commercial artist's relationship with his wife and other women; it was critically acclaimed but did not have wide viewership.

Because of the mostly second-rate film roles that came her way in the 1970s, Saint returned to television and the stage in the 1980s. She received an Emmy nomination for the 1977 miniseries How The West Was Won and a 1978 Emmy nomination for Taxi!!! . She was reunited with On the Waterfront co-star Karl Malden in the television film Fatal Vision, this time as the wife of his character, as he investigated the murder of his daughter and granddaughters. She played the mother of Cybill Shepherd in the television series Moonlighting , a role which spanned episodes over three years.

Later career

Saint returned to the big screen for the first time in over a decade in Nothing in Common (1986), in which she played the mother of Tom Hanks's character; it was directed by Garry Marshall. Critics applauded her return to features.

Saint was soon back on the small screen in numerous projects. After receiving five nominations, she won her first Emmy Award for the 1990 miniseries People Like Us. She appeared in a number of television productions in the 1990s and was cast as the mother of radio producer, Roz Doyle, in a 1999 episode of the comedy series Frasier .

In 2000, Saint returned to feature films in I Dreamed of Africa with Kim Basinger. In 2005, she co-starred with Jessica Lange and Sam Shepard in Don't Come Knocking . Also in 2005, she appeared in the family film Because of Winn-Dixie , co-starring AnnaSophia Robb, Jeff Daniels, and Cicely Tyson.

In 2006, Saint appeared in Superman Returns as Martha Kent, the adoptive mother of Superman, alongside Brandon Routh and a computer-generated performance from her On the Waterfront co-star Marlon Brando.

She was presented one of the Golden Boot Awards in 2007 for her contributions to western cinema.

Saint has lent her voice to the 2012 Nickelodeon animated series The Legend of Korra , a sequel to the hit TV show Avatar: The Last Airbender, playing the now-elderly Katara, a main character from the original series.

In September 2012, she was cast as the adult version of Willa in the film adaptation of the novel Winter's Tale by Mark Helprin. [15] The film was released on Valentine's Day 2014.

At the age of 93, Saint appeared at the 2018 Academy Award ceremony to present the award for Costume Design. She received a standing ovation upon entering the stage.

In 2021, Saint appeared alongside Marisa Tomei in the podcast play series "The Pack Podcast" as part of the segment "The Bus Ride". [16]

She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame, one for motion pictures at 6624 Hollywood Boulevard, and one for television at 6730 Hollywood Boulevard.

Personal life

Saint and her husband, Jeffrey Hayden, at the 1990 Emmy Awards Eva Marie Saint with husband Jeffrey Hayden (2082307214).jpg
Saint and her husband, Jeffrey Hayden, at the 1990 Emmy Awards

Saint married producer and director Jeffrey Hayden on October 28, 1951. They had two children together: son Darrell Hayden and daughter Laurette Hayden. [17] Their first child, Darrell, was born two days after she won an Academy Award for On the Waterfront. [18] Saint and Hayden also have four grandchildren and were married for 65 years, until Hayden's death on December 24, 2016, at the age of 90. [19]



1954 On the Waterfront Edie Doyle Marlon Brando
1956 That Certain Feeling Dunreath Henry Bob Hope
1957 A Hatful of Rain Celia Pope Don Murray, Anthony Franciosa
Raintree County Nell Gaither Montgomery Clift, Elizabeth Taylor
1959 North by Northwest Eve Kendall Cary Grant, James Mason
1960 Exodus Kitty Fremont Paul Newman
1962 All Fall Down Echo O'Brien Warren Beatty, Karl Malden
1965 36 Hours Anna Hedler James Garner
The Sandpiper Claire Hewitt Elizabeth Taylor, Richard Burton
1966 The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming Elspeth Whittaker Carl Reiner, Alan Arkin
Grand Prix Louise Frederickson James Garner, Yves Montand
1968 The Stalking Moon Sarah Carver Gregory Peck
1970 Loving Selma Wilson George Segal
1972 Cancel My Reservation Sheila Bartlett Bob Hope
1986 Nothing in Common Lorraine Basner Tom Hanks, Jackie Gleason
1996 Mariette in Ecstasy Mother Saint-Raphael Geraldine O'Rawe First shown 2019
2000 I Dreamed of Africa Franca Vincent Perez, Kim Basinger
2005 Don't Come Knocking Howard's mother Sam Shepard
Because of Winn-Dixie Miss Franny Jeff Daniels
2006 Superman Returns Martha Kent Brandon Routh
2014 Winter's Tale Adult Willa Colin Farrell


1946 Campus Hoopla Commercial spokeswomanTV series
1947 A Christmas Carol N/ATelevision film
1949 Suspense FrancieEpisode: "The Comic Strip Murder"
1949 Studio One Edna BakerEpisode: "June Moon"
1950–1952 One Man's Family Claudia Barbour RobertsTV series
1950 Prudential Family Playhouse Edith Cortwright / MabelEpisodes: "Dodsworth", "Three Men on a Horse"
1953 The Trip to Bountiful ThelmaTelevision film
1953 Plymouth Playhouse Cousin LizzEpisode: "Jamie"
1953 Martin Kane, Private Eye Sheila DixonEpisode: "Trip to Bermuda"
1953 Goodyear Television Playhouse Frances BarclayEpisode: "Wish on the Moon"
1954 Pond's Theater TinaEpisode: "The Old Maid"
1954 The Philco Television Playhouse Dorie Wilson / Betty2 episodes
1954 GE True Theater Maudle ApplegateEpisode: "The Rider on the Pale Horse"
1955 Producers' Showcase Miss Blake / Emily Webb2 episodes
1964 Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre Diane WescottEpisode: "Her School for Bachelors"
1964 A Carol for Another Christmas WAVE Lt. GibsonTelevision film
1976 The Macahans Kate MacahanTelevision film
1977 How the West Was Won Kate Macahan4 episodes
1978 Taxi!!! The PassengerTelevision film
1978 A Christmas to Remember Emma LarsonTelevision film
1979 When Hell Was in Session Jane DentonTelevision film
1980 The Curse of King Tut's Tomb Sarah MorrisseyTelevision film
1981 The Best Little Girl in the World Joanne PowellTelevision film
1981 Splendor in the Grass Mrs. LoomisTelevision film
1983 Malibu Mary WhartonTelevision film
1983Jane DoeDr. Addie ColemanTelevision film
1983 The Love Boat Aunt Helena Georgelos2 episodes
1984 Fatal Vision Mildred KassabTelevision miniseries
1984Love Leads the Way: A True StoryMrs. EustesTelevision film
1986 The Last Days of Patton Beatrice Ayer PattonTelevision film
1986 A Year in the Life Ruth GardnerTelevision miniseries
1987Breaking Home TiesEmmaTelevision film
1986–1988 Moonlighting Virginia Hayes6 episodes
1988 I'll Be Home for Christmas Martha BundyTelevision film
1990 Voyage of Terror: The Achille Lauro Affair Marilyn KlinghofferTelevision film
1990People Like UsLil Van Degan AltemusTelevision film
1991 Danielle Steel's 'Palomino' Caroline LordTelevision film
1993 Kiss of a Killer Mrs. WilsonTelevision film
1995 My Antonia Emmaline BurdenTelevision film
1996 After Jimmy LizTelevision film
1996 Titanic Hazel FoleyTelevision miniseries
1997 Time to Say Goodbye? Ruth KloosterTelevision film
1999 Frasier Joanna DoyleEpisode: "Our Parents, Ourselves"
2000Papa's AngelsDori "Grammy" JenkinsTelevision film
2003Open HouseVeronica ReynoldsTelevision film
2012–2014 The Legend of Korra Katara (voice)6 episodes
2013 Eva Marie Saint: Live from the TCM Classic Film Festival HerselfDocumentary film
2018 90th Academy Awards Herself (presenter)Presenter for Costume Design
Stage credits
1953 The Trip to Bountiful Thelma Outer Circle Critics Award, Theatre World Award
1955 The Rainmaker Lizzie Curry
1971 Winesburg, Ohio Mrs Willard
1972The Lincoln MaskMary Todd
1973 Summer and Smoke Alma Winemiller
1974 Desire Under the Elms Abbie Putnam
1976-77The Fatal WeaknessMrs. Espenshade
1977 Candida Candida Morell
1978-79 First Monday in October Judge Ruth Loomis
1982-83Duet for OneStephanie Abrahams
1986The Country GirlGeorgie Elgin
1994 Death of a Salesman Linda Loman
2001Love LettersMelissa Gardner
2005Touch The Names

Awards and nominations

YearGroupAwardFilm or seriesResult
1955 Academy Award Best Actress in a Supporting RoleOn the WaterfrontWon
BAFTA Award Most Promising Newcomer to FilmNominated
Emmy Award Best Actress in a Single PerformanceThe Philco Television Playhouse (Episode: "Middle of the Night")Nominated
1956Best Actress - Single Performance Producers' Showcase (Episode: "Our Town")Nominated
1958BAFTA AwardBest Foreign Actress A Hatful of RainNominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture Actress - DramaNominated
Laurel AwardsTop Female Dramatic Performance3rd Place
1977Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actress in a Limited SeriesHow the West Was WonNominated
1978Outstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special Taxi!!! Nominated
1990Outstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a SpecialPeople Like UsWon
1999Ft. Lauderdale International Film FestivalLifetime Achievement Award
2000Savannah Film and Video Festival
2004San Luis Obispo International Film FestivalKing Vidor Memorial Award
2007 Golden Boot Awards
20122nd Annual Behind the Voice Actors Voice Acting Awards [20] Best Female Vocal Performance in a Television Series in a Guest Role The Legend of Korra (Episodes: "Welcome to Republic City"; "Endgame")Won
2018 Bowling Green State University [4] Lifetime Achievement Award

See also

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