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UC screen star, Columbia Pictures logo model

Evelyn Venable, A&S ’33 (1913-93)

by Deborah Rieselman

Known for being cast in wholesome roles, Evelyn Venable was the voice of the Blue Fairy in “Pinocchio” (1940), and some say she was the model for the art, as well. In the mid-1930s, she modeled for the Columbia Pictures logo, a corporate version of the Statue of Liberty. (See gallery at bottom of page.)

Colleagues say her all-American good looks caused her to be chosen for the statuesque job. Her image appeared for many years but was subsequently replaced with more contemporary models.

Born in Cincinnati, Evelyn was the daughter of Emerson Venable, a college professor and a noted Shakespearean authority. She began acting in high school plays, playing Juliet at 15 at the Cincinnati Civic Theater.

She attended Vassar College on a scholarship, but left after one year to return to her hometown, where she enrolled in the University of Cincinnati. She left school in 1933 to join a Shakespearean acting troupe -- a move that paid off in the long run. That same year, she was playing Ophelia in “Hamlet” at the Los Angeles' Biltmore Theater when a Paramount talent scout signed her to a film contract.

Soon she was starring with Will Rogers in “David Harum,” where she fell in love with the cinematographer, Hal Mohr, and they married later that year. Shortly, she landed parts with W.C. Fields, Fredric March, Shirley Temple and Katharine Hepburn. Playing Grazia, the character with whom Fredric March falls in love in “Death Takes A Holiday,” was her biggest role.

While a newcomer to Hollywood, she apparently modeled for the 1939 Columbia Pictures logo. Although others claimed to have done so, too, she is credited with the prestigious position on the Internet Movie Database. Furthermore, her daugher Rosalia Mohr Woodson says her mother claimed it was her face and figure.

In the early 1940s, she gave up her film career to raise her daughters, Dolores and Rosalia. When her children enrolled in UCLA, she did so, too, majoring in Greek and Latin. In 1967, she began a second career as a UCLA professor, lecturing in the classics and drama.

Atypical of Hollywood, Evelyn and Hal remained married for 40 years, until his death in 1974. She died of cancer in 1993.

Read more, see photos
Full-length magazine feature on Venable and gallery of 37 images.


See her movie listings.


Columbia Pictures logo gallery

Colombia Pictures logo from 1939

Colombia Pictures logo from 1939, probably featuring Evelyn Venable.

1934 Columbia Pictures logo

1934 Columbia Pictures logo

Evenlyn's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

Evenlyn's star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame

1961 Columbia Pictures logo

1961 Columbia Pictures logo

2000 Columbia Pictures logo

2000 Columbia Pictures logo