Remembering Watergate East neighbor

Evelyn Gall Freyman: Labor Leader, Actress
The Washington Post

Evelyn Gall Freyman, 92, a former radio and television actress who also was a hard-nosed trade unionist and past manager of the Olney Theatre, died February 6th at Washington Hospital Center of complications of injuries suffered in a fire at her Washington home the day before.

As a young woman, Mrs. Freyman, petite and blond with a throaty voice, was a well-known performer in stage and radio productions in Washington. In the 1940s and 1950s, she co-hosted a weekly radio show called "Consumer Time" on the NBC radio network. She also performed in commercials on Eleanor Roosevelt's "Over Our Coffee Cups" radio program and hosted a midnight horror movie show on WTTG- TV. After the Olney Theatre fell into disrepair during World War II, she took over the lease and oversaw a major renovation. She widened the auditorium and completely rebuilt the stage, according to William R. Turner, historian of the Olney Theatre. Mrs. Freyman managed the theater for about eleven years until the early 1950s. She was most influential as a trade unionist. In 1944, she founded the Washington- Baltimore Local of the American Federation of Television and Radio Artists. She served as the Local's Executive Secretary until 1983. As a union leader, she engaged in sometimes contentious contract negotiations with radio and television station executives, often winning concessions on pay, benefits and job security for announcers, newscasters and recording artists.

She also was an officer of the national AFTRA organization and a Washington representative of the Screen Actors Guild and the American Guild of Musical Artists.

Mrs. Freyman, a native of Lexington, Kentucky, and graduate of the University of Kentucky, came to Washington with her husband, Myer Freyman, in 1937. She later settled at the Watergate, where she served as president of Watergate East in the 1970s.

University of Kentucky Class of 1933, The Kentuckian, 1933


She was a member of the American Cancer Society, the National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and the Theater board of the D.C. Recreation Department.

Her husband died in 1985. Survivors include two children, David Freyman of Chevy Chase and Jeffrey Freyman of Lexington; a brother; two grandchildren; and a great-granddaughter.