Dame Edith Mary Evans DBE (8 February 1888–14 October 1976) was an actress who had a long and distinguished career on the British stage. Later in her career, she appeared in a number of films, for which she received three Academy Award nominations, plus a BAFTA and a Golden Globe award.
She was particularly effective at portraying haughty aristocratic ladies, as in two of her most famous roles: Lady Bracknell in The Importance of Being Earnest (both on stage and in the 1952 film), and Miss Western in the 1963 film of Tom Jones. By contrast, she played a poverty-striken old woman in one of her most acclaimed film roles, in The Whisperers (1967).
Edith Evans was born in London, the daughter of Edward Evans, a civil servant, and his wife, Caroline Ellen Foster. She was educated at St Michael's Church of England School, Pimlico, before being apprenticed at the age of 15 in 1903 as a milliner.