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Helen Hayes Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (5) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (27) | Personal Quotes (11)

Overview (5)

Date of Birth 10 October 1900Washington, District of Columbia, USA
Date of Death 17 March 1993Nyack, New York, USA  (congestive heart failure)
Birth NameHelen Hayes Brown
Nickname First Lady of the American Theater
Height 5' (1.52 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Known as "The First lady of the American Theater", Helen Hayes had a legendary career on stage and in films and television that spanned over eighty years. Hayes was born in Washington, D.C., to Catherine Estelle "Essie" Hayes, an actress who worked in touring companies, and Francis van Arnum Brown, a clerk and salesman. Her maternal grandparents were Irish. A child actress in the first decade of the 20th century, by the time she turned twenty in 1920 she was well on her way to a landmark career on the American stage, becoming perhaps the greatest female star of the theatre during the 1930s and 1940s. She made a handful of scattered films during the silent era and in 1931 was signed to MGM with great fanfare to begin a career starring in films. Her first three films, 'Arrowsmith', 'The Sin of Madelon Claudet', and 'A Farewell to Arms (1932)', were great hits and she would win the 1932 Oscar for Best Actress for her work in Madelon Claudet. Alas, her lack of screen glamour worked against her becoming a box office star during the golden era of Hollywood, and her subsequent films were often not well received by critics. Within four years she had abandoned the screen and returned to the stage for the greatest success of her career, "Victoria Regina", which ran for three years starting in 1935. Helen Hayes returned to motion pictures with a few featured roles in 1950s films and frequently appeared on television. In 1970, she made a screen comeback in 'Airport' (1970), a role originally offered to Claudette Colbert, who declined it, earning Hayes her second Oscar, this time for Best Supporting Actress. Helen Hayes retired from the stage in 1971 but enjoyed enormous fame and popularity over the next fifteen years with many roles in motion pictures and television productions, retiring in 1985 after starring in the TV film 'Murder With Mirrors'.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: HarlowMGM

Spouse (1)

Charles MacArthur (17 August 1928 - 21 April 1956) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (27)

Lived for many years in an historic house in Nyack, New York called "Pretty Penny." Located at 235 North Broadway, she regularly offered tours of her well maintained gardens to the local garden clubs. The house was purchased by television personality and actress Rosie O'Donnell, a few years after her death, from her surviving son, actor James MacArthur.
Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1985.
Pre-eminent US stage actress. She was regarded as the First Lady of the American Theater.
Interred at Oak Hill Cemetery, Nyack, New York, USA.
Mother of stage actress Mary MacArthur, who died in 1949 at the age of nineteen, and adoptive mother of actor James MacArthur.
Charter member of the National Women's Hall of Fame in 1973.
She had a career than spanned over 80 years beginning as a child actress at age 5.
The lights of Broadway were dimmed for one minute at 8:00 p.m. on the day she died.
She made frequent trips to hospitals because of asthma attacks aggravated by backstage dust. When asthma ended her theatrical career, Hayes wrote books and raised funds for organizations that fight asthma.
In 1958, she became the second performer to win the Triple Crown of Acting. Oscars: Best Actress, The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) and Best Supporting Actress, Airport (1970), Tony: Best Actress-Play, "Time Remembered" (1958), and Emmy: Best Actress of 1953.
Won three Tony Awards, two Best Actress (Dramatic) awards -- one in 1947 for "Happy Birthday," an award that was shared with Ingrid Bergman for "Joan of Lorraine," another in 1958, for "Time Remembered" -- and a third, Special Tony Award in 1980, namely: The Lawrence Langer Memorial Award for Distinguished Lifetime Achievement in the American Theatre. She was also nominated as Best Actress (Dramatic) in 1970 for a revival of "Harvey."
Is one of only a few actors to win an Oscar for a supporting role after winning an Oscar for a leading role.
Was a supporter of the Republican Party, attending all the conventions up until her death.
Shares the distinction with actors José Ferrer, 'Fredric March' and Ingrid Bergman of being the first winners of acting Tony Awards when the annual event was established in 1947.
First actress to win an Oscar, for playing a prostitute in The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931), her first talkie.
She was awarded the American National Medal of the Arts in 1988 by the National Endowment of the Arts in Washington D.C.
Although she played Ingrid Bergman's grandmother in Anastasia (1956), she was less than fifteen years older than she.
The Helen Hayes Awards are given out annually to worthy theatrical productions in the Washington, D.C., Maryland, Virginia area, her birthplace and where she gained her first acting experience.
As of 2013, she is one of only 6 actors who have a 2-0 winning record when nominated for an acting Oscar. The others are Luise Rainer for The Great Ziegfeld (1936) and The Good Earth (1937); Vivien Leigh for Gone with the Wind (1939) and A Streetcar Named Desire (1951); Kevin Spacey for The Usual Suspects (1995) and American Beauty (1999); Hilary Swank for Boys Don't Cry (1999) and Million Dollar Baby (2004); and Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009) and Django Unchained (2012).
She has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame: for motion pictures at 6258 Hollywood Boulevard, and for radio at 6549 Hollywood Boulevard.
Two Broadway theaters were named after her. The first, at 210 W. 46th Street, was named after Hayes in 1955. After it was demolished in 1982, another theater, at 240 W. 44th Street, was renamed in Hayes' honor.
Her likeness appears on a nondenominated USA commemorative postage stamp issued in her honor on 25 April 2011. Price on day of issue was 44¢.
Is one of 15 actresses to have won the Triple Crown of Acting (an Oscar, Emmy and Tony); the others in chronological order are Ingrid Bergman, Shirley Booth, Liza Minnelli, Rita Moreno, Maureen Stapleton, Jessica Tandy, Audrey Hepburn, Anne Bancroft, Vanessa Redgrave, Maggie Smith, Ellen Burstyn, Helen Mirren, Frances McDormand and Jessica Lange.
Was a Girl Scout.
Was the 5th actress to receive an Academy Award; she won the Best Actress Oscar for The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) at The 5th Academy Awards on November 18, 1932.
At the age of 90, as a guest on the Tonight Show, when Johnny asked if she would return for her 100th birthday, she demurely lowered her eyes and softly said, oh no, I don't think so.
Gave birth to her only biological child at age 29, a daughter Mary MacArthur on February 16, 1930. She died on September 22, 1949 at age 19. Child's father was her husband, Charles MacArthur.

Personal Quotes (11)

I seem always to have reminded people of someone in their family. Perhaps I am the triumph of Plain Jane.
Every human being on this earth is born with a tragedy, and it isn't original sin. He's born with the tragedy that he has to grow up. That he has to leave the nest, the security, and go out to do battle. He has to lose everything that is lovely and fight for a new loveliness of his own making, and it's a tragedy. A lot of people don't have the courage to do it.
If you rest, you rust.
The truth is that there is only one terminal dignity - love. And the story of love is not important - what is important is that one is capable of love. It is perhaps the only glimpse we are permitted of eternity.
Age is not important unless you're a cheese.
[at age 73] The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy.
I must refrain from talking too much about retirement. It's beginning to sound absurd.
On writing: We rely upon poets, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on.
[on comparing winning the Best Actress award (1932) with the birth of her daughter]: The only other time in my life when I really felt great or superb,all I could think to say was 'Gosh, isn't she red!' I hope I do better the second time.
[Interview, 1977] Joan Crawford tried to be all things to all people. I just wish she hadn't tried to be a mother.
From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot in front of the other. But when books are opened, you discover you have wings.

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