WYN RITCHIE EVANS
Wyn Ritchie Evans, writer, actress and playwright was born in Brighton,
England on December 23, 1900 to Winifred Monroe, an actress and Billie
Ritchie, a star on Britain's music hall circuit. The Ritchies toured with
London's Karno Fun Factory and Comedy Troupe. Upon their immigration
to the United States in the early 1900s, Billie Ritchie was replaced by then
little-known Charlie Chaplin.
In the U.S. Winifred and Billie Ritchie made the rounds of the top American vaudeville circuits, where Wyn followed her parents onto the stage. In 1913 at the age of ten, she got a part in the New York production of London's Drury Lane Theatre's show Hop O' My Thumb. The show starred DeWolf Hopper (father of Hedda) and Texas Guinan and spent a year at The Manhattan Opera House.
The Family eventually moved to California where Billie Ritchie became a silent film star at Universal Studios. Injured on set during his last picture, Billie was confined to his bed and died the following year at an early age. After his death, Winifred went to work as a wardrobe mistress at Charlie Chaplin Studios where Wyn was often included in crowd scenes in Chaplin's pictures.
Wyn continued to appear on stage in small Hollywood theatres. She was such an impressive Nora in Ibsen's A Doll House that pre-eminent agent Nat Goldstone signed her to a contract. She appeared in shows with Leila Rogers (mother of Ginger) and RKO Pictures star Betty Furness.
In 1944, Wyn spent a year in Costa Rica, working with the U.S. Army during the building of the Pan-American Highway. Upon her return to the U.S., Wyn married Oscar-winning songwriter Ray Evans on April 19, 1947. She was very active in the city's art scene, working with The Horton Dance Group, fashion designer Rudy Genreich, as well as many visual artists. She was very close to Romanian artist and designer Herman Sachs, founder of the Munich School of Expressionists and first Director of the Dayton Museum of Fine Arts (now the Dayton Art Institute). She was also very active in architectural circles, which included noted architects Richard Neutra, Rudolph Schindler, John Lautner and Gregory Ain.
Wyn remained in Los Angeles until her death on April 11, 2003 at the age of 102.
December 23, 1900
April 11, 2003
Ray Evans (1915-2007)