Eva Marie Saint

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Eva Marie Saint
Eva Marie Saint 1990.jpg
Saint at the 1990 Emmy Awards
Born (1924-07-04) July 4, 1924 (age 96)
Years active1944–present
(m. 1951;died 2016)

Eva Marie Saint (born July 4, 1924) is an American actress. In a career spanning over 75 years, she is best known for starring in Elia Kazan's On the Waterfront (1954) and in Alfred Hitchcock's North by Northwest (1959). The former won her the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress. Upon the death of Olivia de Havilland in 2020, she became the oldest living and earliest surviving Academy Award winner and one of the last surviving stars from the Golden Age of Hollywood cinema.


She received Golden Globe and BAFTA Award nominations for A Hatful of Rain (1957) and won a Primetime Emmy Award for the television miniseries People Like Us (1990). Her film career also includes roles in Raintree County (1957), Exodus (1960), The Russians Are Coming, the Russians Are Coming (1965), Grand Prix (1966), Nothing in Common (1986), Because of Winn-Dixie (2005), Superman Returns (2006), and Winter's Tale (2014).

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 in Newark, New Jersey, to Quaker parents: [1] Eva Marie (née Rice) and John Merle Saint. [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 the Bonnie Maid's Versa-Tile Varieties on NBC in 1949 as one of the original singing "Bonnie Maids" used in the live commercials.

She 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, for 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.'" [8]

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." [9] The film was a major success and launched Saint's movie career. She received $7,500 for the role. [10]

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. [11]

She appeared alongside Bob Hope in That Certain Feeling (1956) for which she received $50,000. [10] She was then offered $100,000 to star in the lavish Civil War epic Raintree County (1957) with Elizabeth Taylor and Montgomery Clift. [10] 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. [12]

North by Northwest

Saint in North by Northwest, 1959 North by Northwest movie trailer screenshot (23).jpg
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. [13] The film ranks number forty on the American Film Institute's list of the 100 Greatest American Movies of All Time. [14]

At the time of the film's production, much publicity was gained by Hitchcock's decision to cut Saint's waist-length blonde hair for the first time in her career. Hitchcock explained at the time, "Short hair gives Eva a more exotic look, in keeping with her role of the glamorous woman of my story. I wanted her dressed like a kept woman—smart, simple, subtle and quiet. In other words, anything but the bangles and beads type."[ citation needed ] The director also 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." [15]

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.'" [11]


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 appeared in a number of made-for-television films; she played the mother of Cybill Shepherd on the television series Moonlighting , which lasted three years. 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.

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 appeared in a number of television specials and documentaries, particularly since 2000. These include The Making of North by Northwest, which she narrated and hosted. In 2009, she made a rare public appearance at the 81st Academy Awards ceremony as a Best Supporting Actress presenter. In 2011, Saint participated in two screenings of North by Northwest with Robert Osborne. The films were shown in Seattle and Cleveland. Saint and Osborne participated in meet-and-greet sessions as well as a pre-movie question and answer session.[ citation needed ]

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. [16] The film was released on Valentine's Day 2014.

Most recently, Saint appeared at the 2018 Academy Award ceremonies to present the award for Costume Design. She received a standing ovation upon entering the stage.

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 of 65 years, Jeffrey Hayden, at the 1990 Emmy Awards Eva Marie Saint with husband Jeffrey Hayden (2082307214).jpg
Saint and her husband of 65 years, 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 (born 1955) and daughter Laurette Hayden (born 1958). [17] Their first child, Darrell, was born two days after she won an Academy Award for On the Waterfront. [18] They 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
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 Unreleased
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

Awards and nominations

YearGroupAwardFilm or seriesResult
1955 Academy Award Best Actress in a Supporting RoleOn the WaterfrontWon
BAFTA Award Most Promising Newcomer to FilmOn the WaterfrontNominated
Emmy Award Best Actress in a Single PerformanceThe Philco Television Playhouse (Episode: "Middle of the Night")Nominated
1956Emmy AwardBest Actress - Single Performance Producers' Showcase (Episode: "Our Town")Nominated
1958BAFTA AwardBest Foreign Actress A Hatful of RainNominated
Golden Globe Award Best Motion Picture Actress - DramaA Hatful of RainNominated
Laurel AwardsTop Female Dramatic PerformanceA Hatful of Rain3rd Place
1977Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actress in a Limited SeriesHow the West Was WonNominated
1978Emmy AwardOutstanding Lead Actress in a Drama or Comedy Special Taxi!!! Nominated
1990Emmy AwardOutstanding Supporting Actress in a Miniseries or a SpecialPeople Like UsWon
1999Ft. Lauderdale International Film FestivalLifetime Achievement Award
2000Savannah Film and Video FestivalLifetime Achievement Award
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

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