Evelyn Ankers

Evelyn Felisa Ankers (August 17, 1918 – August 29, 1985) was an American actress who often played variations on the role of the cultured young leading lady in the many American horror films during the 1940s, most notably The Wolf Man (1941) opposite Lon Chaney Jr., a frequent screen partner.

Evelyn Ankers
Evelyn Ankers pin-up from Yank, the Army Weekly, July 1945
Evelyn Felisa Ankers

(1918-08-17)August 17, 1918
DiedAugust 29, 1985(1985-08-29) (aged 67)
Maui, Hawaii, U.S.
Resting placeMaui Veterans Cemetery, Makawao, Hawaii
Years active1936–1960
Richard Denning
(m. 1942; her death 1985)

Early years

Ankers was born to English parents[1]:53 in Valparaíso, Chile.[2] She was educated at The Latymer School, the Golophyn School, the Tacchomo School of Music and Dramatic Art, and the Royal Academy of Dramatic Art.[1]:54


Ankers' stage debut came in Colombia at age 10 when she had the title role in The Daughter of Dolores.[1] On Broadway, she had the role of Lucy Gilham in Ladies in Retirement (1940).[3] In London, she acted in Bats in the Belfry.[1]:54


Known as "the Queen of the Bs",[2] films included, The Wolf Man (1941), The Ghost of Frankenstein (1942), Captive Wild Woman (1943), Son of Dracula (1943), The Mad Ghoul (1943), Jungle Woman (1944), Weird Woman (1944), The Invisible Man's Revenge (1944), and The Frozen Ghost (1945). She appeared in Hold That Ghost (1941), Sherlock Holmes and the Voice of Terror (1942), His Butler's Sister (1943), The Pearl of Death (1944), Pardon My Rhythm (1944), Tarzan's Magic Fountain (1949), and played Calamity Jane in The Texan Meets Calamity Jane (1950), one of many movies for which she received top billing. A frequent screen partner was Lon Chaney Jr., with whom she had little chemistry behind the scenes.

Ankers made over fifty films between 1936 and 1950, then retired from movies at the age of 32 to be a housewife. She occasionally played television roles, such as that of saloon owner Robbie James in the 1958 episode "Gambler" of the ABC/Warner Brothers western series Cheyenne, with Clint Walker in the title role.

Ten years later she made her last film, No Greater Love (1960),[1]:72 with her husband Richard Denning.


Ankers moved to Hawaii when her husband accepted the role of the governor in Hawaii 5-0.[4] She died of ovarian cancer at the age of 67 on August 29, 1985 in Maui.[2]

Personal life

On September 6, 1942,[1]:61 Ankers married Richard Denning, to whom she remained married until her death in 1985. The couple had one child, Diana Denning (later Dwyer).[2]

Ankers became an American citizen in August 1946.[1]:71

Selected filmography


  1. Mank, Gregory William (2005). Women in Horror Films, 1940s. McFarland. p. 53. ISBN 9780786423354. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  2. Evelyn Ankers obituary, nytimes.com, August 31, 1985; accessed June 20, 2016.
  3. "Evelyn Ankers". Playbill Vault. Playbill. Archived from the original on November 4, 2017. Retrieved November 4, 2017.
  4. Actress Evelyn Ankers, 67, Former `Queen` Of B Movies, August 31, 1985, Chicago Tribune; retrieved August 16, 2016.

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