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 William Leland “Leland” Hayward, II

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William Leland “Leland” Hayward, II

  • Birth 13 Sep 1902 Nebraska City, Otoe County, Nebraska, USA
  • Death 18 Mar 1971 Yorktown Heights, Westchester County, New York, USA
  • Burial Unknown
  • Memorial ID 40386887

Leland Hayward was a Hollywood and Broadway agent and theatrical producer. He produced the original Broadway stage productions of Rodgers and Hammerstein's South Pacific and The Sound of Music.

Hayward was born in Nebraska City, Nebraska, the grandson of Monroe Leland Hayward, a senator from Nebraska. His parents, William Hayward and Sarah Tappin, divorced when he was nine.

He studied at Princeton University, but dropped out. He took on a number of jobs including newspaper reporter and press agent, but eventually became a talent agent in Hollywood. In the early 1940s, he handled about 150 artists, including Fred Astaire, who had been his first client, James Stewart, Ernest Hemingway, Boris Karloff, Judy Garland, Ginger Rogers, as well as the two former husbands of his wife, Henry Fonda and William Wyler. Some of his female clients he dated as well, including Greta Garbo and Katharine Hepburn.

In 1945, Hayward sold his talent agency and became a Broadway producer in New York. His 1949 production of "South Pacific" was a great success. He produced both the play and the movie Mister Roberts.

Other noteworthy film productions include The Spirit of St. Louis (1957) and The Old Man and the Sea (1958). He was a co-producer (with David Merrick) of the 1959 show "Gypsy". His biggest success, however, was the "The Sound of Music" that opened the same year.

Hayward's interest in aviation led to his co-founding, in 1941, Southwest Airways, with financial help from his Hollywood friends. During WWII, the company contracted to train pilots from 29 Allied nations in the Arizona desert.

Hayward was married five times.

In 1921 he married the Texas debutante Inez "Lola" Gibbs. They divorced one year later, remarried and divorced again in 1934.

He married his client, the talented stage and screen actress Margaret Sullavan (ex-Mrs. Henry Fonda) in 1936. They had three children (Brooke Hayward, born July 5, 1937, who was married to actor Dennis Hopper from 1961-69; Bridget 1939-1960; and William, born 1941, committed suicide 20 March, 2008). The family's dysfunctional life had been memorialized in daughter Brooke's memoir, Haywire, in which she wrote of a conversation she had with William in which he said if he ever committed suicide, he would do so by shooting himself in the heart.

In 1938, Hayward met Slim Hawks, then the wife of film director Howard Hawks. Hayward's marriage to Sullavan came to an end in 1946, and he married Slim Hawks three years later. Their marriage became strained after Slim had a one-night stand with Frank Sinatra and a longer affair with Peter Viertel.

In 1958, Hayward was introduced to Pamela Churchill, then the mistress of Elie de Rothschild. He proposed to her the following year. On May 4, 1960, hours after his divorce from Hawks was final, Hayward married Pamela Churchill in Carson City, Nevada. They maintained a lavish lifestyle that later had to be curtailed for financial reasons.

After suffering several strokes, Hayward died at his home, Haywire, in Yorktown Heights, New York on March 18, 1971.


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  • Created by: Daryl & Barbara (Biggs) Mallett
  • Added: 7 Aug 2009
  • Find A Grave Memorial 40386887
  • Find A Grave, database and images (https://www.findagrave.com : accessed ), memorial page for William Leland “Leland” Hayward, II (13 Sep 1902–18 Mar 1971), Find A Grave Memorial no. 40386887, ; Maintained by Daryl & Barbara (Biggs) Mallett (contributor 46984947) Unknown.