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Susan Hayward Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (2) | Spouse (2) | Trade Mark (2) | Trivia (20) | Personal Quotes (6)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 30 June 1917Brooklyn, New York City, New York, USA
Date of Death 14 March 1975Hollywood, Los Angeles, California, USA  (brain cancer)
Birth NameEdythe Marrenner
Nickname Red
Height 5' 3½" (1.61 m)

Mini Bio (2)

Susan Hayward was born Edythe Marrener in Brooklyn, New York, on June 30, 1917. Her father was a transportation worker, and Susan lived a fairly comfortable life as a child, but the precocious little redhead had no idea of the life that awaited her. She attended public school in Brooklyn, where she graduated from a commercial high school that was intended to give students a marketable skill. She had planned on becoming a secretary, but her plans changed. She started doing some modeling work for photographers in the NYC area. By 1937, her beauty in full bloom, she went to Hollywood when the nationwide search was on for someone to play the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1939). Although she--along with several hundred other aspiring Scarletts--lost out to Vivien Leigh, Susan was to carve her own signature in Hollywood circles. In 1937 she got a bit part in Hollywood Hotel (1937). The bit parts continued all through 1938, with Susan playing, among other things, a coed, a telephone operator and an aspiring actress. She wasn't happy with these bit parts, but she also realized she had to "pay her dues". In 1939 she finally landed a part with substance, playing Isobel Rivers in the hit action film Beau Geste (1939). In 1941 she played Millie Perkins in the offbeat thriller Among the Living (1941). This quirky little film showed Hollywood Susan's considerable dramatic qualities for the first time. She then played a Southern belle in Cecil B. DeMille's Reap the Wild Wind (1942), one of the director's bigger successes, and once again showed her mettle as an actress. Following that movie she starred with Paulette Goddard and Fred MacMurray in The Forest Rangers (1942), playing tough gal Tana Mason. Although such films as Jack London (1943), And Now Tomorrow (1944) and Deadline at Dawn (1946) continued to showcase her talent, she still hadn't gotten the meaty role she craved. In 1947, however, she did, and received the first of five Academy Award nominations, this one for her portrayal of Angelica Evans in Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947). She played the part to the hilt and many thought she would take home the Oscar, but she lost out to Loretta Young for The Farmer's Daughter (1947). In 1949 Susan was nominated again for My Foolish Heart (1949) and again was up against stiff competition, but once more her hopes were dashed when Olivia de Havilland won for The Heiress (1949). Now, however, with two Oscar nominations under her belt, Susan was a force to be reckoned with. Good scripts finally started to come her way and she chose carefully because she wanted to appear in good quality productions. Her caution paid off, as she garnered yet a third nomination in 1953 for With a Song in My Heart (1952). Later that year she starred as Rachel Donaldson Robards Jackson in The President's Lady (1953). She was superb as Andrew Jackson's embittered wife, who dies before he was able to take office as President of the United States. After her fourth Academy Award nomination for I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955), Susan began to wonder if she would ever take home the coveted gold statue. She didn't have much longer to wait, though. In 1958 she gave the performance of her lifetime as real-life California killer Barbara Graham in I Want to Live! (1958), who was convicted of murder and sentenced to death in the gas chamber. Susan was absolutely riveting in her portrayal of the doomed woman. Many film buffs consider it to be one of the finest performances of all time, and this time she was not only nominated for Best Actress, but won. After that role she appeared in about one movie a year. In 1972 she made her last theatrical film, The Revengers (1972). She had been diagnosed with cancer, and the disease finally claimed her life on March 14, 1975, in Hollywood. She was 57.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Denny Jackson

The youngest of three children, Edythe Marrenner was born in the Flatbush section of Brooklyn, New York. Her father and mother, who were of Irish and Swedish descent respectively, endowed her with the milky complexion and ruby mane that would become her trademark. She grew up in poverty in the shadow of her older sister Florence who was her mother's favorite. Edythe would nurse a life-long grudge over what she perceived as her mother's neglect.

As a teenager, Edythe was brought to Hollywood as one of the hundreds of girls who had won a chance to screen test for the part of Scarlet O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939). The test was abysmal. It would take several years of studio subsidized acting and voice lessons before her talent would emerge and she would be renamed Susan Hayward. Susan's personality is usually described as cold, icy, and aloof. She did not like socializing with crowds. She disliked homosexuals and effeminate men. Her taste in love ran strictly to the masculine, and both of her husbands were rugged Southerners. She loved sport fishing, and owned three ocean going boats for that purpose. Movie directors enjoyed Susan's professionalism and her high standards. She was considered easy to work with, but she was not chummy after the cameras stopped. Her greatest roles were in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955) and I Want to Live! (1958). The latter won her an Academy Award for best actress. A two-pack a day smoker with a taste for drink, Susan was diagnosed with brain cancer in March of 1972. On 14 March 1975, after a three year struggle against the disease, Susan died at her Hollywood home. Susan Hayward was laid to rest in a grave adjacent that of her husband Eaton Chalkley in the peace of Carrollton, Georgia where they had spent several happy years together in life.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Thomas McWilliams <tgm@netcom.com>

Spouse (2)

Floyd Eaton Chalkley (8 February 1957 - 9 January 1966) (his death)
Jess Barker (24 July 1944 - 18 August 1954) (divorced) (2 children)

Trade Mark (2)

Red hair
Voluptuous figure

Trivia (20)

Was diagnosed with brain cancer, allegedly the result of being exposed to dangerous radioactive toxins on location in Utah while making The Conqueror (1956). All the leads John Wayne, Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt, Pedro Armendáriz, Hayward and the director Dick Powell died of cancer. The case is still a scandal.
Interred at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church, Carrollton, Georgia, USA.
She portrayed an alcoholic in three films, Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947), My Foolish Heart (1949) and I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)) and was nominated for an Oscar for each performance.
Her footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre are the only ones set in gold dust.
Her first marriage to actor Jess Barker was a stormy one and ended with a bitter custody battle of her twin sons and a suicide attempt by Susan. Her second to rancher Eaton Chalkley was a long and happy one until he died suddenly of hepatitis nine years later. She left Hollywood for five years in deep mourning, returning in 1971.
Took over the ballsy role of stage star Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls (1967) in 1967 after Judy Garland was fired.
Was one of many starlets in 1939 who auditioned for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Replaced an ailing Barbara Stanwyck in Heat of Anger (1972), which was to have been a pilot for a TV series to be called "Fitzgerald and Pride."
In Italy, almost all of her films were dubbed by either Lidia Simoneschi or Rosetta Calavetta. She was occasionally dubbed by Dhia Cristiani.
Reportedly did not get on at all with Bette Davis during the filming of Where Love Has Gone (1964).
Was the original choice to play Margo Channing in All About Eve (1950), but was dropped from the project after being considered too young. The part was then given to Claudette Colbert before being given to Bette Davis, who went on to receive a Best Actress Oscar nomination for her performance.
Was born on the same day, and same place (Brooklyn N.Y) as singer Lena Horne .
Hayward was scheduled to star in a Ross Hunter-produced remake of Stella Dallas (1937), but the film was canceled because the "women's pictures" were no longer box-office.
Gave birth to fraternal twin boys, Timothy Barker and Gregory Barker, on February 19, 1945. The father is first husband, Jess Barker.
A lifelong registered Republican, she endorsed Dwight D. Eisenhower in 1952. She also appeared at the 1953 Republican Rally.
When she was seven, she was hit by a car and suffered a fractured hip. The doctors' told her she might never walk again. However, after six months, she was able to get around on crutches and after a year was able to return to school. The injury left her with one leg that was an inch and half shorter than the other, and she had to wear a life in her shoe. Classmates made fun of her odd way of walking, but it became a trademark strut for her in Hollywood.
Hayward's Best Actress Oscar statuette for I Want to Live! (1958) was presented to her by James Cagney and Kim Novak [6 April 1959 / RKO Pantages Theatre, Hollywood].
Was the 49th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for I Want to Live! (1958) at The 31st Annual Academy Awards (1959) on April 6, 1959.
Was just 3 years younger than Jo Van Fleet, who played her mother in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955).

Personal Quotes (6)

I learned at a very early age that life is a battle. My family was poor, my neighborhood was poor. The only way that I could get away from the awfulness of life, at that time, was at the movies. There I decided that my big aim was to make money. And it was there that I became a very determined woman.
I never thought of myself as a movie star. I'm just a working girl. A working girl who worked her way to the top--and never fell off.
My life is fair game for anybody. I spent an unhappy, penniless childhood in Brooklyn. I had to slug my way up in a town called Hollywood where people love to trample you to death. I don't relax because I don't know how. I don't want to know how. Life is too short to relax.
When you're dead, you're dead. No one is going to remember me when I'm dead. Oh, maybe a few friends will remember me affectionately. Being remembered isn't the most important thing, anyhow. It's what you do when you are here that's important.
You aim at all the things you have been told that stardom means--the rich life, the applause, the parties cluttered with celebrities. Then you find that you have it all. And it is nothing, really nothing. It is like a drug that lasts just a few hours, a sleeping pill. When it wears off, you have to live without its help.
[To Darryl Zanuck's request that she attend the Academy Awards ceremony, 1952] I attended twice and I lost twice and I had to explain to some of those vultures who had been dying for me to lose how 'there'll always be a next day'. Well, I'm not going to make a TV spectacle of myself in front of a few million viewers and that's that!

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