LOS ANGELES -- Eve Arden, 83, the actress who played the wisecracking best friend in scores of movies and who achieved her greatest fame as the saucy schoolteacher on TV's "Our Miss Brooks" in the 1950s, died Nov. 12 in Los Angeles. She had cancer.

Miss Arden was best known for her role of the teacher with the sharp tongue and big heart in "Our Miss Brooks," which she played for five years on radio and then for four years on television, from 1952 to 1956.

"The Eve Arden" show followed, but lasted only a season. She then appeared in "The Mothers-in-Law," with Kaye Ballard, from 1967 to 1969.

An actress since the age of 7, Miss Arden was discovered for Broadway by producer Lee Shubert, who signed her for the 1936 Ziegfeld Follies in New York, starring the late Fannie Brice.

After two years with the Follies, she won a Hollywood contract to appear in the film "Stage Door," which propelled her to fame and a career spanning several dozen films.

In 1940, she returned to Broadway to appear with Danny Kaye in "Let's Face It" and such hits as "Very Warm for May" and "Two for the Show." "Stage Door," starring Katharine Hepburn, Ginger Rogers and Lucille Ball, would set the pattern for Miss Arden's film career.

She usually played the best friend of the heroine, brightening the dramatics with her deadpan humor and memorable one-liners. One of her best-known film roles was as Joan Crawford's friend in "Mildred Pierce," for which Miss Arden received an Academy Award nomination for best supporting actress.

That film contains one of Miss Arden's most memorable lines. She says about Crawford's horrible daughter: "Veda's convinced me that alligators have the right idea. They eat their young."

In 1947, Miss Arden was offered the lead part of Connie Brooks in CBS radio's "Our Miss Brooks." The show became a success with her portrayal of the Madison High School English teacher.

CBS signed her for the same role on television. The show "Our Miss Brooks" made its debut on Oct. 3, 1952, and lasted four seasons. Gale Gordon played the crusty principal, Osgood Conklin.

A well-known line in "Our Miss Brooks" came when student Walter Denton (played by Richard Crenna) would say each morning, "Greetings, fairest of all possible English teachers."

Miss Arden would reply: "Well good morning, most observant of all possible pupils."

In later years, Miss Arden made appearances in Steven Spielberg's TV series "Amazing Stories" and on "Faerie Tale Theater" for Showtime, as well as the films "Grease" and "Grease 2."