The Everett Collection

At first, Eve Arden didn't want to play the role of Miss Brooks

Eve Arden was America's favorite teacher while starring on her CBS series, Our Miss Brooks (1956). 

Arden became known as one of the best fictional teachers in any TV show, but she almost turned her back on the opportunity to play the role.

Miss Brooks would be a career defining role for Arden, yet, Arden originally had no interest in the role. According to a 1954 interview with Daily News, even when Arden was offered the role, she had her doubts.

Luckily for her, and us, Arden eventually changed her mind. As the smart and wisecracking schoolteacher, she gained a national reputation for her talents in both career fields: Acting and teaching.

Arden was both an icon and an inspiration for both those in the teaching profession and for kids attending school. 

According to the interview, Arden said she was initially very reluctant to take the role of Miss Brooks because she was worried about putting herself into a box and being typecasted for future roles. She was eventually able to be talked into doing the role, and we are glad she did.

"I wasn't interested and said no," Arden said. "But, finally, I was persuaded to make a half hour record for one episode. I thought it was horrible. But the people at the network liked it and our first show went on CBS July 19th, 1948, and was optioned immediately."

She said that although she and Miss Brooks had a few things in common, they were very different women. Arden also admitted that Miss Brooks was also a lot different than most teachers she had in her life while growing up.

"Schoolteachers don't have Al Lewis to write their material," Arden said. "However, and don't make a mistake about this, there are thousands of attractive, charming women engaged in teaching today. And our program is making millions of people realize that. And another thing — We're also trying to convey the thought that these men and women who teach should be paid better. They certainly deserved it."

Arden had three adopted children of her own at the time with her husband. Arden said that working with her own kids helped her come better prepared for the role of a teacher. Something must have been working because everyone was learning from Miss Brooks in the '50s.

"That's the most important thing in life — family, happiness," Arden said. "And that is one reason why my husband does not appear with me on Our Miss Brooks. One's aggressiveness comes out in one's work. So, by not appearing together we're with each other only in our relaxed moments. And we have a common interest in our home: The children and our careers."

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