'Eve' to talk about film, book and life that inspired them

Christine Costner Sizemore is about to receive some long overdue attention in Augusta.

 

Mrs. Sizemore's life as a woman with multiple personalities was the subject of the 1957 best-selling book and hit movie The Three Faces Of Eve.


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The book about the Edgefield, S.C., native was written by Augusta psychiatrists Corbett H. Thigpen and Hervey M. Cleckley who identified their patient only as "Eve."

When the movie premiered in Augusta at the Miller Theater on Sept. 18, 1957, she did not attend the affair on the advice of her psychiatrists, who felt it might result in a mental setback.

It was about 20 years later before she finally saw the movie for the first time on television. She later revealed herself to the public in her 1977 autobiography, I'm Eve.

Thanks in large part to Imperial Theatre board member Mike Deas, you can see and hear Mrs. Sizemore at 8 p.m. Tuesday and noon Wednesday in events commemorating the 50th anniversary of the book and movie.

Her life in her early 20s was marked by mental conflicts resulting in three distinctive personalities. They were called Eve Black (the fun girl), Eve White (the puritan) and Jane (the average girl).

She was portrayed in the film by the unknown Joanne Woodward, who earned a best actress Oscar for the role.

There is a scene in The Three Faces Of Eve where fun girl personality Eve Black dances and sings for Camp Gordon soldiers. That scene was based on a performance at the old Club Royal, a building just across the Fifth Street bridge in South Carolina.

"It was huge, and it was nice," Mrs. Sizemore said. "I was surprised they let me sing there. Eve Black, though, had a nice voice.

"What I find interesting is that I can't carry a tune in a bucket, but she sang so well. And, if she just appeared there as a guest, they would ask her to sing. She loved it, you know."

Mrs. Sizemore was later diagnosed with more than 20 distinct personalities. One personality was not necessarily aware of others, but Mrs. Sizemore said she now can remember what she was doing when one of the personalities was expressed.

"Yes, I remember everything that happened," she said. "Just like you have memories of your past, I have memories of mine, now. But when I was ill, I didn't know what the others were doing. But once the healing took place, I retained all the memories."

Is there still some Eve Black left in Chris Costner Sizemore?

"Of course," she said. "I enjoy having fun, but I'm like everybody else, now. There is a part of me that enjoys fun, and there is a serious part like being a mother.

"There are so many people that don't know how to relax anymore. They're so serious about life and everything that goes with it that they really don't know how to live."

Unlike many people with personal problems, Mrs. Sizemore finally seems to have come to grips with who she really is.

"And I think that's sad," Mrs. Sizemore said, "because what else is there in our life except recognizing ourselves and living to the fullest of our abilities every day?"

Don Rhodes has written about country music for more than 36 years. Contact him at (706) 823-3214 or don.rhodes@morris.com.

ALL ABOUT EVE

2-6 P.M. TUESDAY: Miller Theater. Tours of the historic movie house, now under restoration, where the premiere of The Three Faces of Eve took place Sept. 18, 1957.

8 P.M. TUESDAY: Imperial Theatre. Celebration of 50th anniversary of the movie premiere, with Chris Costner Sizemore and Jim Davis, the master of ceremonies for the 1957 premiere. Mr. Davis will be interviewed by Dan Miller, former TV talk-show sidekick of Pat Sajak and grandnephew of Frank Miller, who built the Miller Theater in 1940. Admission, $15; doors open at 7 p.m.

NOON WEDNESDAY: Mrs. Sizemore talks about her life and takes questions from the audience. Several of her original paintings will be on display. The $10 admission includes a sack lunch from the Sunshine Bakery.

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