Evelyn Varden (June 12, 1893, Adair, Oklahoma – July 11, 1958, New York) was an American character actress. She began her career as a teenager in the first decade of the 20th century and was on Broadway by age sixteen in 1910. It was not until the 1930s and into her forties that her stage career took off in the theater, notably playing Mrs. Gibbs, the small town matron who dreams of Paris, in the original production of Our Town. The role was played by Fay Bainter in the 1940 motion picture.
Varden's stage work mainly consisted of showy supporting roles although she did star in the ill-fated Return Engagement by Lawrence Riley. The 1950 melodrama Hilda Crane was a personal success for Varden although the play itself ran only two months. The following year she played the Nurse in a production of Romeo and Juliet toplining Olivia De Havilland. Her final Broadway appearance in The Bad Seed was one of her acclaimed performances. She occasionally appeared on radio from the early 1940s and well into the 1950s. She starred in radio productions of Hay Fever, The Silver Cord, and The Glass Menagerie among several other programs. She would later appear in a number of television productions during the 1950s, including an adaptation of Cradle Song, opposite Judith Anderson.
Varden did not make her first film appearance until 1949 at age 56 with the film Pinky. She then went on to make over a dozen more films, including recreating her stage roles in the motion picture adaptations of "Hilda Crane" and "The Bad Seed". Her best known motion picture performance was as the gregarious storekeeper Icy Spoon in the 1955 film Night of the Hunter. She was still going strong in her career at the time of her sudden death in 1958 at age 65.