Saturday, February 25, 2012

Saturday Scream Queen: Evelyn Ankers

After getting her start playing uncredited bit-parts in British pictures, actress Evelyn Ankers emigrated to the United States in the late 1930s, and she signed a contract with Universal Pictures as World War 2 was about to erupt.

At Universal, Ankers was the queen of the studio's B-movie line-up, appearing in landmark pictures like Abbott and Costello's first horror comedy "Hold That Ghost", the horror-genre shaping picture "The Wolf Man", the quirky Southern Gothic vampire flick "Son of Dracula", and two of the Basil Rathbone-starring "Sherlock Holmes" movies. She also has the distinction of co-starred with Lon Chaney Jr. more than any other of Universal's leading ladies, including appearances in two of the "Inner Sanctum" movies. Interestingly, Ankers and Chaney had a strong dislike for each other, despite their frequent pairing on screen.

Between the years of 1941 and 1945, Ankers made 29 films for Universal. Her ability to scream was a trademark during these years, as was the way form-hugging and elegant gowns showed off her body. In 1946, she went freelance and made films for Republic Pictures and Columbia Studios, but by 1950, the sort of thrillers and horror films she had built her career on were no longer popular and she entered semi-retirement at the age of 32. The 1950s saw her do occasional guest shots on television series, and she retired permanently from acting in 1960 after co-starring in the religious drama "No Greater Love" with her husband Richard Denning.

Ankers passed away in 1985 at the age of 67.

1 comment:

Craig Edwards said...

Oh she is gorgeous - and the legs! I was really struck when I read she and Chaney disliked each other - they had chemistry onscreen, and managed to hide their ill feelings while the cameras rolled. I like seeing her in the Universal movies - I wish she would have done more. Terrific choice, Steve!