From an early age Eve Arden evinced brilliant comic timing and an almost masculine delivery that set her apart from the rank and file of pretty young Hollywood hopefuls. A seasoned stock player out of high school, she made her film debut in an early talkie, but it was on Broadway and radio that she cultivated her brand as a tart-tonged comedienne. Given a small role in RKO's "Stage Door" (1937), Arden so impressed director Gregory La Cava that he ordered her part expanded to give her equal time alongside stars Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball. Better roles followed, supporting the Marx Brothers in "At the Circus" (1939) and playing the first of many independent professional women in "Comrade X" (1940) opposite Clark Gable. Her height and age typing her out of leading lady assignments, Arden flourished as a second female lead and was nominated for an Academy Award for playing the best friend of Joan Crawford's anguished "Mildred Pierce" (1945). In 1948, she created the role of spinster schoolteacher "Our Miss Brooks" for CBS radio and brought the character to television four years later. Moving effortlessly between the stage and screens big and small, Arden remained a viable character player well past retirement age, upstaging film newcomers John Travolta and Olivia Newton John in "Grease" (1978). Ill health forced Arden's retirement in 1987 while her death from cancer in 1990 dropped the curtain on the brilliant career of a unique and irreplaceable comic talent.