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Evelyn Knapp Biography

  • Profession: Actor
  • Born: Jun 17, 1906
  • Died: Jun 10, 1981

A graduate of the American Academy of Dramatic Arts, blonde Evelyn Knapp made her Broadway debut in [[Performer~P57257~Channing Pollock~channingpollock]]'s Mr. Moneypenny (1928). With a proven track record of more than 20 Vitaphone short subjects and a series of comedy two-reelers with George LeMaire, she was awarded a contract with Warner Bros. and made an auspicious screen debut opposite [[Performer~P117136~Grant Withers~grantwithers]] in [[Feature~V110354~Sinner's Holiday~sinnersholiday]] (1930). The secondary team of [[Performer~P10165~James Cagney~jamescagney]] and [[Performer~P6812~Joan Blondell~joanblondell]] ran away with most of the notices but at least one critic thought Knapp gave a "credible performance" as a naive girl caught between rum runners and a young carnival barker.
In typical Warner fashion, Knapp was hurried from one project to another with very little thought to the appropriateness of the vehicles. From a muscular Northwest adventure with [[Performer~P6091~Charles Bickford~charlesbickford]], [[Feature~V108086~River's End~riversend]] (1931), she was rushed into playing [[Performer~P2237~George Arliss~georgearliss]]' refined daughter in [[Feature~V127460~The Millionaire~themillionaire]] (1931) with barely a chance to shift gears. In all her films, Knapp was pleasant and unobtrusive and in 1932, motion picture advertisers voted her a WAMPAS Baby Star. Being inconspicuous, however, was not exactly a star-making trait and Warners dropped her option, despite a starring role opposite John Wayne in the 1933 . Freelancing, she reportedly beat 50 actresses for the title role in Universal's remake of The Perils of Pauline (1934) and although Knapp was hardly in a league with the original Pauline, silent serial queen [[Performer~P75916~Pearl White~pearlwhite]], the chapterplay has proven the production for which she is best remembered. It was downhill from there, alas, and Knapp spent her remaining years in films in low-budget fare. ~ Hans J. Wollstein, Rovi


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