Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes

Infobox actor
name = Helen Hayes

imagesize = 180px
caption = Helen Hayes in "Anastasia" (1956)
birthname = Helen Hayes Brown
birthdate = birth date|1900|10|10|mf=y
birthplace = Washington, D.C.,
United States
deathdate = death date and age |1993|3|17|1900|10|10
deathplace = Nyack, New York,
United States
yearsactive = 1917 - 1985
spouse = Charles MacArthur
academyawards = Best Actress
1932 "The Sin of Madelon Claudet"
Best Supporting Actress
1970 "Airport"
emmyawards = Best Actress (1953)
tonyawards = Best Leading Actress - Play
1947 "Happy Birthday"
1958 "Time Remembered"
1980 Special Award
grammyawards = Best Spoken Word Album
1977 "Great American Documents"

Helen Hayes (October 10, 1900March 17, 1993) was a two-time Academy Award-winning American actress, whose career spanned almost 70 years. She eventually garnered the nickname "First Lady of the American Theater", and was one of the nine people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.


Early life

Hayes was born Helen Hayes Brown in Washington, D.C. in 1900. Her mother, Catherine Estelle (née Hayes), or Essie, was an aspiring actress who worked in touring companies. [ [http://www.helenhayes.com/about/bio.htm "The Official Website of Helen Hayes :: Biography"] . Helen Hayes.com.] Her father, Francis van Arnum Brown, worked at a number of jobs, including as a clerk at the Washington Patent Office and as a manager and salesman for a wholesale butcher. [ [http://www.time.com/time/magazine/article/0,9171,848403-3,00.html "Helen Millennial"] . "Time Magazine". 30 December 1935.] [http://www.kennedy-center.org/calendar/index.cfm?fuseaction=showIndividual&entitY_id=3739&source_type=A "Biography of Helen Hayes"] . Kennedy-Center.org] Hayes' Irish Catholic maternal grandparents immigrated from Ireland during the Irish Potato Famine; [Rick Jean. [http://archiver.rootsweb.com/th/read/IrelandGenWeb/2003-02/1044131835 "Helen HAYES (1900-1993) -- The "First Lady of Theater." "] . Rootsweb.com. 1 Feb 2003.] her mother was a great-niece of Irish singer Catherine Hayes. [ [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CEFDF123DF93BA25750C0A965958260&sec=&spon=&pagewanted=2 Helen Hayes, Flower of the Stage, Dies at 92 - New York Times ] ]

Hayes began a stage career at an early age. By the age of ten, she had made a short film called "Jean and the Calico Doll", but only moved to Hollywood when her husband, playwright Charles MacArthur, signed a Hollywood deal.


Her sound film debut was "The Sin of Madelon Claudet", for which she won the Academy Award for Best Actress. She followed that with starring roles in "Arrowsmith" (with Myrna Loy), "A Farewell to Arms" (with actor Gary Cooper whom Hayes admitted to finding extremely attractive), "The White Sister", "What Every Woman Knows" (a reprise from her Broadway hit), and "". However, she never became a fan favorite and Hayes did not prefer the medium to the stage.

Hayes eventually returned to Broadway in 1935, where for three years she played the title role in the Gilbert Miller production of "Victoria Regina", with Vincent Price as Prince Albert, first at the Broadhurst Theatre and later at the Martin Beck Theatre.

In 1953, she was the first-ever recipient of the Sarah Siddons Award for her work in Chicago theatre, repeating as the winner in 1969. She returned to Hollywood in the 1950s, and her film star began to rise. She starred in "My Son John" (1952) and "Anastasia" (1956), and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as an elderly stowaway in the disaster film "Airport" (1970). She followed that up with several roles in Disney films such as "Herbie Rides Again", "One of Our Dinosaurs is Missing" and "Candleshoe". Her performance in "Anastasia" was considered a comeback—she had suspended her career for several years due to the death of her daughter Mary, and her husband's failing health.

In 1955 the Fulton Theatre was renamed for her. However, business interests in the 1980s wished to raze that theatre and four others to construct a large hotel that included the Marquis Theatre. To accomplish razing this theatre and three others, as well as the Astor Hotel, the business interests received Hayes' consent to raze the theatre named for her, even though she had no ownership interest in the buildings. As a result in 1983, the Little Theater on West 45th Street was re-named The Helen Hayes Theatre in her honor; as was a theatre in Nyack, which has since been re-named the Riverspace-Arts Center.

In 1982, with friend Lady Bird Johnson, she founded the National Wildflower Research Center, now the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in Austin Texas. The center protects and preserves North America's native plants and natural landscapes. [Wildflower Center Website, http://www.wildflower.org/about/]

The Helen Hayes Award for theater in the Washington D.C. area is named in her honor. She has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6220 Hollywood Blvd.

Personal life

Hayes was a Catholic [Hayes, Helen. "My Life in Three Acts". Harcourt Brace Jovanovich: San Diego, CA, 1990.] and a pro-business Republican who attended many Republican National Conventions (including the one held in New Orleans in 1988), but she was not as politically vocal as some others (e.g., Adolphe Menjou, Ginger Rogers, John Wayne, etc.) in the Hollywood community of that time.

Hayes wrote three memoirs: "A Gift of Joy", "On Reflection" and "My Life in Three Acts". Some of the themes in these books include her return to Roman Catholicism after having been denied communion from the Church for the length of her marriage to MacArthur, who was a Protestant and a divorcé, and the death of her only daughter Mary, who was an aspiring actress, from polio at the age of 19. Hayes's adopted son, James MacArthur, also went on to a career in acting, starring in "Hawaii Five-O" on television. (Hayes herself guest starred on a 1975 episode of "Hawaii Five-0", playing MacArthur's character's aunt.)

Hayes was hospitalized a number of times for her asthma condition, which was aggravated by stage dust, forcing her to retire from legitimate theater. Her last Broadway show was a revival of Harvey in which she co-starred with James Stewart in 1970. She spent most of her last years writing and raising money for organizations that fight asthma.


Hayes died on St. Patrick's Day, March 17, 1993 from congestive heart failure in Nyack, New York, aged 92, not long after the death of her friend, Lillian Gish, with whom she had been friends for many decades. Gish made Hayes the beneficiary of her estate, but Hayes only survived her by a month. Hayes was interred in the Oak Hill Cemetery, Nyack, New York. [Pace, Eric. [http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9F0CEFDF123DF93BA25750C0A965958260 "Helen Hayes, Flower of the Stage, Dies at 92"] . New York Times. 18 March 1993.]


*"The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy." (at age 73)

Body of work

tage and awards

ee also

*List of people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award


External links

* [http://www.helenhayes.com Official site]
* [http://www.stevemoore.addr.com/hayes.html Tribute site]
* [http://www.pbs.org/wnet/americanmasters/database/hayes_h.html American Masters] (PBS)
* [http://www.helenhayes.org/ The Helen Hayes Awards]
* [http://film.virtual-history.com/person.php?personid=1042 Photographs of Helen Hayes]

###@@@KEY@@@###s-achsuccession box
title= Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago
before= none
after=Beatrice Lillie
succession box
title= Sarah Siddons Award - Sarah Siddons Society, Chicago
before= Celeste Holm
after=Barbara Rush

NAME= Hayes, Helen
DATE OF BIRTH= October 10, 1900
PLACE OF BIRTH= Washington, D.C.
DATE OF DEATH= March 17, 1993
PLACE OF DEATH= Nyack, New York

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Look at other dictionaries:

  • Helen Hayes — (1921) Helen Hayes (eigentlich Helen Hayes Brown; * 10. Oktober 1900 in Washington (D.C.); † 17. März 1993 in Nyack/New York) war eine US amerikanische Schauspielerin. Inhal …   Deutsch Wikipedia

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  • Helen Hayes —  Ne doit pas être confondue avec l actrice britannique Helen Haye Helen Hayes …   Wikipédia en Français

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  • Helen Hayes Theatre — This article is about the Broadway theatre. For the theatre of the same name built in 1911 and demolished in 1982, see Fulton Theatre. The Helen Hayes Theatre, 2006 …   Wikipedia

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  • Helen Hayes Award for Outstanding Supporting Actress, Resident Play — The Helen Hayes Award for Supporting Actress in a Resident Play is an Helen Hayes Award for theatre excellence in the Washington, DC area. In 1993, awards for musicals were separated from those for dramatic plays. The award winner is listed for… …   Wikipedia

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