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Colleen Townsend

Colleen Townsend
from the trailer for When Willie Comes Marching Home (1950)
Personal information
Birth dateDecember 21, 1928(age 88)
Place of birthGlendale, California, U.S.
OccupationActress, writer
SpouseLouis H. Evans

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Colleen Townsend (born December 21, 1928 in Glendale, California) is an American actress, author and humanitarian.

Townsend began a film career in 1944, appearing in minor roles in several films. By 1946, she was appearing on the cover of magazines, and in 1947 was signed to a contract by 20th Century Fox. She was the subject of a cover story for Life in 1948, which discussed the way in which major studios groomed and manufactured their stars, using Townsend's story as an example. The studio created a photographic calendar for her, to "put [her] face in every home, office and barracks in America all year around." Hedda Hopper was also quoted as saying that Townsend was "going places."

She played a featured role in the film The Walls of Jericho (1948), and was billed third behind Dan Dailey and Celeste Holm in Chicken Every Sunday (1949). Her biggest success was in the 1950 film When Willie Comes Marching Home, in which she was paired with Dan Dailey. Again... Pioneers (1950) provided her with her first lead role.

A devout evangelical Christian (though raised Mormon), Townsend was a speaker at youth fellowships. While still in Hollywood, she met and married Louis H. Evans. She left Hollywood in 1950 and went to attend the San Francisco Theological Seminary, and was followed by Louis Evans. Evans became the pastor of the First Presbyterian Church in Hollywood, and the couple became associated with Billy Graham. Townsend, now billed as "Colleen Evans", returned to films briefly, starring in two films produced by the Billy Graham Evangelistic Association, Oiltown, U.S.A. (1950) and Souls in Conflict (1955).

Thereafter she dedicated herself to humanitarian works, specifically in relation to racial or religious discrimination, human rights, and in furthering the role of women in society. She and her family relocated to Washington to work on improving relationships with the African-American community. She served as the first female chair of the Billy Graham Crusade in 1986.

As "Colleen Townsend Evans" she is the author of several books.

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