Dame Edith Evans, born in Pimlico, London on February 8, 1888, was nominated twice for a Golden Globe and won Best Actress – Motion Picture – Drama for The Whisperers (1968) as a deranged, impoverished old woman.
The daughter of junior civil servant Edward Evans and Caroline Ellen nee Foster, Evans was educated at St Michael’s Church of England School, Pimlico. While apprenticing at the age of 15 in 1903 as a milliner, she began attending drama classes in Victoria. The classes developed into an amateur performing group, the Streatham Shakespeare Players, with whom she first appeared in October 1910 as Viola in Twelfth Night.
While playing Beatrice in Much Ado About Nothing, she was spotted by producer William Poel. Evans made her first professional appearance for him in Cambridge in 1912.
She became known for portraying haughty aristocratic women like her role as Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest and Miss Western in the 1963 British comedy film, Tom Jones. She also received accolades for her performances in The Nun’s Story (1959) and The Chalk Garden (1964).
The actress was appointed Dame Commander of the Order of the British Empire (DBE) by King George VI in 1946. She died at her home in Cranbrook, Kent, on October 1976 at the age of 88.