- Birthday: 08. January 1908
- Birthplace: Perth, Western Australia
Mary Evans a.k.a. Mary Evans Wadia a.k.a. Fearless Nadia (8 January 1908 – 9 January 1996) was an actress and stuntwoman, who is most remembered as the masked, cloaked adventurer in Hunterwali (The Princess and the Hunter) released in 1935, which was one of the earliest female-lead Indian films.
Fearless Nadia was born as Mary Ann Evans on 8 January 1908 in Perth, Western Australia. She was the daughter of Scotsman Herbertt Evans, a volunteer in the British Army, and Margret. They lived in Australia, before coming to India. Mary was one year old when Herbertt's regiment was seconded to Bombay. Mary came to Bombay in 1913 at the age of five with her father. In 1915, her father’s untimely death at the hands of Germans during World War I prompted the family’s move to Peshawar. She learned horseback riding, hunting, fishing, and shooting during a stay in the North-West Frontier Province. In 1928, she returned to Bombay with her mother and a son, Robert Jones, about whom not much is known, and then studied ballet under Madam Astrova.
She had earlier tried her hand at a job in the Army & Navy Store in Bombay as a salesgirl and had at one point wanted to learn “short-hand and typing to get a better job”. Astrova’s troupe performed for British soldiers at military bases, for Indian royalty and for other crowds in dusty small towns and villages. She mastered the art of cartwheels and splits, which came in handy later during her film stunts. An Armenian fortune teller had foretold that a successful career lay ahead but she would have to choose a name starting with the letter ‘N’. She chose the name Nadia because it was “exotic-sounding”.