Eve Arden was afraid of losing her identity to Miss Brooks

Image credit: The Everett Collection

Eve Arden played the role of Miss Brooks on Our Miss Brooks for a total of 12 years—eight years on radio and four years on television. That's a lot of time spent pretending to be someone else, and Arden felt its effects.

According to a 1956 interview with The Roanoke Times, Arden said she was concerned the public would no longer think of her as Eve Arden an actress, but rather Miss Brooks the schoolteacher.

"It isn't exactly that I'm tired of the part, though eight years is a long, long time," Arden said. "I'm mostly worried about losing my identity."

From attending PTA meetings to having licenses to teach in multiple states and receiving fan letters from both students and teachers alike; Miss Brooks had become an American staple.

With all of those resume builders in the wrong profession, Arden was worried Our Miss Brooks would affect her acting career in the future especially as the series came to a close in 1956.

"People stop me on the street and call me Brooksie," Arden said. "Teachers press my hand in sisterly sympathy. Children see me and scuttle to do their homework. It's almost too much."

Now imagine that amount of attention as a teacher for eight years. Teachers would model their lesson plans after Miss Brooks, and kids would tune in to watch what a normal school day would be like.

According to the interview, Arden said she wasn't sure why she became an actress and when it came to the role of Miss Brooks, she originally thought about passing on the opportunity.

Her mother was an actress and Arden said that may have contributed to her decision to follow the career path.

Although, the "why" is not important because Arden would go down in history as one of the greatest fictional TV teachers. Once she became Miss Brooks the rest became history. 

"I was an only child and only children are born to be lonesome," Arden said. "I lived a great deal in my imagination and was always playing seventeen different people at one time. This is what an actress does. That is most actresses. Lately, I've just been one person — Miss Brooks."