Evans Evans Dies: ‘Bonnie And Clyde’ Actor, Widow Of Director John Frankenheimer Was 91

Evans Evans Dies: ‘Bonnie And Clyde’ Actor, Widow Of Director John Frankenheimer Was 91

Evans Evans, a character actor who’d made some minor forays into television when she was cast in what would become her most remembered role as a kidnap victim in 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde, died Sunday, June 16. She was 91.

Additional details were not available. Her death was announced in a public obituary.

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Born in Bluefield, West Virginia, on November 26, 1932, Evans was resident of Sherman Oaks, California, the widow of director John Frankenheimer. The two wed on December 13, 1963, and remained married until his death on July 6, 2002.

After a string of single appearances on such ’60s episodic TV programs as The Donna Reed Show, Wagon Train, Death Valley Days and Alfred Hitchcock Presents, Evans was cast in what would become her signature role for 1967’s Bonnie and Clyde: As Velma Davis, she and scene partner Gene Wilder, in his big screen debut, portrayed two young lovebirds who, while kissing on their front porch, notice that a group of hoodlums is stealing Eugene’s car.

Irate, Eugene and Velma take off after the thieves, then think better of it and turn back, at which point the thieves – who happen to be Bonnie (Faye Dunaway), Clyde (Warren Beatty) and the rest of the Barrow Gang, playfully turn and give pursuit. The outlaws kidnap the initially terrified couple, but soon all involved are having a good old time, driving, ordering take-out burgers, and laughing (or not) at the stale jokes of Buck Barrow (Gene Hackman).

At one point, Velma shocks Wilder’s Eugene Grizzard by blurting her true age – 33. The lark soon comes to an abrupt halt when Eugene mentions that he is an undertaker, a disclosure that upsets the death-obsessed Bonnie. The excursion, one of the film’s lighter and most genuinely comedic scenes, ends on a melancholy note as a panicked looking Bonnie demands that the young couple be kicked out of the car and left standing, with their burgers, on the side of some dark, distant road.

The film would be the high point for Evans’ career, as she appeared in small roles in a handful of projects through the ’70s and, in 1989, Dead Bang, a film directed by her husband Frankenheimer.

Evans appeared on Broadway three times in the late 1950s and early 1960s: First in 1957’s The Dark at the Top of the Stairs; then A Distant Bell (1960) and, that same year, The 49th Cousin.


Information on survivors was not immediately available.

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