Tuesday, August 21, 2018


Ink-Slinger Profiles by Alex Jay: Phil Evans

Phil Evans was born Philip Carlos Miller on June 26, 1909, in Orange, Connecticut, according to his world War II draft card. Evans’ mother was a stage actress whose marriage was reported in the Morning Journal and Courier (New Haven, Connecticut), November 4, 1907.

Miss Beardsley Marries.
Well Known Actress Becomes Wife of Business Man.
Miss Stella Beardsley of this city, a well known actress, was married in New York the past week to Edward Miller, jr., a well known business man. The ceremony took place at the Little Church Around the Corner, and her New Haven relatives were among those present.

The bride is a daughter of Mr. and Mrs. William A. Beardsley of 399 Elm street. Miss Miller is a graduate of the New Haven high school and soon after graduation she went on the stage. She has played the leading part in the play “In a Chinese Honeymoon," and was seen in that play at the Hyperion two years ago. She has also played in “The Bell of Mayfair,” “Babes in Toyland,” and of late has been the leading lady in the farce comedy “The Taming of the Beast.” She has Just left the stage, playing last at Lawrence, Mass.
In the 1910 U.S. Federal Census, Evans was ten months old and living with his mother, a stage actress, and maternal grandparents, William, a mechanic, and Nellie Beardsley. The status of his father is not known. The family lived in Manhattan, New York City at 527 West 124th Street.

Evans’ mother appeared on the cover of Variety, October 17, 1913. Less than a month later, Variety reported her retirement and marriage in its November 14, 1913 issue on page ten, column one. According to the New York, County Marriage Records at Ancestry.com, she and Willis J. Evans married on November 11, 1913 in Westchester, New York.

The 1915 New York state census recorded Evans, his mother, step-father (a physician) and servant in the Bronx at 1036 Simpson Street.

The 1920 census listed “Carlos P Evans”, a public school student, and his parents in Manhattan at 360 Wadsworth Avenue.

In the 1925 New York state census, the Evans household included Willis Jr. and Nelllie Beardsley. The family of of five were Manhattan residents at 564 West 188th Street. At some point the entire family moved to the west coast.

Evans was a motion picture writer in the 1930 census. His father was a short story writer. It’s not known how Evans got into the film industry. The family lived at 1412 Gordon Street in Los Angeles, California.

The 1940 census said Evans was married to Nadine. The couple made their home at 6111 Romaine Street in Los Angeles. They also had a lodger, “Murry Hudson”, a motion picture cartoonist. Evans was doing studio picture advertising. Screen World 1969 had this entry:

Riga, Nadine, 59, former film actress, died of cerebral hemorrhage in Hollywood on Dec. 31, 1968. Her best known roles were in “Ramona,” “Anthony Adverse,” and “For Whom the Bells Toll.” She retired in 1940. Surviving is her widower, Phil Evans, a syndicated comic strip writer.
Evans’ World War II draft card said his employer was RKO Studio. He was described as five feet eleven inches, 131 pounds with brown eyes and hair.

American Newspaper Comics (2012) said Evans was the writer of Gene Autry; he used the pseudonym Bert Laws. The artist, Bob Stevens, was also a pseudonym. Alberto Becattini said Pete Alvarado did art in early strips and Tom Massey did Sunday. Tom Cooke assisted with the art. However, an advertisement for the strip named Evans and Cooke as the creative team. The General Features’ series ran from September 8, 1952 to November 5, 1955. Evans also worked on the Roy Rogers strip from 1954 to 1961, and on Bugs Bunny in the 1950s. General Features distributed the series Drift Marlo which was written by Evans. Tom Cooke drew it from May 29, 1961 to July 15, 1965. He was followed by Mike Arens during its final six months, July 17, 1965 to January 1, 1966. I. M. Levitt was the technical consultant who also wrote the General Features column, Wonders of the Universe, which was illustrated by Arthur Radebaugh.

An article about Drift Marlo in the Tonawanda News, May 31, 1961, said:

Phil Evans for 10 years wrote the continuity for the daily and Sunday Roy Rogers strips. He has written the continuity for several other successful comic strips and has produced a number of science booklets. He has also written stories for Mr. District Attorney, Gangbusters, Rex Allen, Annie Oakley, Red Ryder and has done considerable radio writing throughout his career.
On November 20, 1969, Evans married Suzanne Meiphaeghe, in Los Angeles.

Evans passed away in July 1989. He was laid to rest at Holyrood Catholic Cemetery

—Alex Jay


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