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 Helen Hayes

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Helen Hayes

Actress. She was known as the First Lady of American Theater. She starting acting at the age of 5 when her mother, Essie, an aspiring actress herself, had her try out for a part. By age 8 she was in her first Broadway play as 'Prince Charles' in "The Royal Family" after being given her big break by Lew Fields. She was in theater off and on until she was diagnosed as being allergic to backstage dust in 1971 and retired from the stage, but not from films and TV. She is one of the few people who can claim to have won all of the major awards: 2 Tony Awards (for "Happy Birthday" in 1947, and for "Time Remembered" in 1958), 2 Academy Awards (one for Best Actress in her first major movie, "The Sin of Madelon Claudett" in 1931, and one for Supporting Actress for "Airport" in 1971). She also won an Emmy in 1952 for her TV acting and a Grammy in 1976 for her recording of "The Bill of Rights." She married playwright Charles MacArthur in 1928 and they had a daughter Mary, born in 1930. In 1949 Mary suddenly died from Polio. Helen went on to establish the Mary MacArthur Fund which helps children with polio along with the March of Dimes. They also adopted a son, James MacArthur who is an actor ("Hawaii Five-O"). She was also the author of several books including her autobiography "On Reflection" and "My Life in 3 Acts. She hosted the Helen Hayes Theatre show on radio. Ms. Hayes was admitted to the Woman's Hall of Fame in 1973. She passed away in Nyack, New York.

Bio by: Rhonda Cowan


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  • Maintained by: Find A Grave
  • Added: 1 Jan 2001
  • Find A Grave Memorial 1798
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for Helen Hayes (10 Oct 1900–17 Mar 1993), Find A Grave Memorial no. 1798, citing Oak Hill Cemetery, Nyack, Rockland County, New York, USA ; Maintained by Find A Grave .