Wednesday, October 28, 2009

Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes was an American actress whose career spanned almost 80 years on the stage, Broadway, in film and television. She was nicknamed the "First Lady of the American Theatre."

She was the second person and one of only twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award.

Helen Hayes was born Helen Hayes Brown on October 10, 1900 in Washington D.C. She was the daughter of Catherine Estelle Hayes, an aspiring actress who worked in touring companies and Francis van Arnum Brown, a clerk at the Washington Patent Office.

Helen Hayes began her career on the stage at the age of five, appearing in Miss Hawke's May Ball and A Midsummer Night's Dream.

By the time she was eighteen, she had appeared in 36 stage productions including A Royal Family (1908), The Seven Sisters (1911), The Prince and the Pauper (1913), and Rich Man, Poor Man (1917).

She would make her Broadway debut in 1909 in Old Dutch, at the age of nine. She would perform in over 50 Broadway productions in her 80 year career including Golden Days, Dancing Mothers, Caeser and Cleopatra, Ziegfeld Follies of 1927, Mary of Scotland, The Country Wife, Twefth Night, The White House, The Front Page and Harvey.

She was a four time Tony award winner, two for Best Actress for Happy Birthday (1947), Time Remembered (1958), one Drama Desk Award for The Show Off (1968) and the 1980 Lawrence Langer Memorial Award. She was also nominated for a Tony for Best Actress for Harvey (1970).

She made her movie debut in 1917 in The Weavers of Life.

Her sound movie debut was The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931) for which she won the Best Actress Academy Award.

She would win her second Oscar for Best Supporting Actress in 1970 for Airport where she played the delightful elderly stowaway on the airplane.

She would appear in such films as Arrowsmith (1931), A Farewell to Arms (1932), The White Sister (1933), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Anatasia (1956).

Helen Hayes television credits include Highway to Heaven, The Love Boat, Hawaii Five O (which she earned an Emmy nomination), Here's Lucy, Tarzan and Playhouse 90. In 1953 she received the Emmy for Best Actress.

The Helen Hayes Award for theater in the Washington D.C. area is named in her honor.

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.

In 1976, she won a Grammy award.

Helen Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986.

Helen retired from the Broadway stage in 1970, retired from movies in 1974 and from televison in 1985. She spent most of her last years writing and raising money for organizations that fight asthma.

Helen Hayes died on St. Patrick's Day (March 17) 1993 from congestive heart failure.

No comments:

Post a Comment