Ella Mae Evans, actress and makeup artist, died Jan. 27 in Inglewood, Calif., of complications from pulmonary fibrosis. She was 77.
Evans owned and operated a beauty salon in Florida in her youth. At age 50, she earned a bachelor’s degree and began teaching in the Los Angeles Unified School District.
When she retired from teaching, she embarked on a career in the entertainment industry. She worked as a theater makeup designer and then as an actress for television and film. She appeared in the TV shows “Punky Brewster,” “Sea Quest” and “Moesha” and in the films “Downtown,” and “I Got the Hook Up.”
Community service was another passion. In 1965 she co-founded the Kittsville Youth Foundation, offering free dance, art and cultural classes for inner-city children. Originally based in Watts, the program targeted youth from the area but has attracted students from throughout Southern California. In the 1980s the program moved to South Central Los Angeles and continues under the direction of one of Evans’ four sons, who survive her as does a daughter.
Donations may be sent in her memory to Kittsville Youth Foundation, P.O. Box 1773, Inglewood, CA 90308-1773.