Brown, Helen Hayes

Born: Oct 10, 1900 AD
Died: 1993 AD, at 92 years of age.

Nationality: American
Categories: Actresses, Musicians

1900 - Born on October 10th in Washington, D.C. American actress who was widely considered to be the “First Lady of the American Theatre”.

1905-1909 - At the behest of her mother, a touring stage performer, Hayes attended dancing class as a youngster, she performed with the Columbia Players.

         - At age nine, she made her Broadway debut as Little Mimi in the Victor Herbert operetta Old Dutch.

1910 - She was cast in the one-reel Vitagraph film "Jean and the Calico Cat".

1917-1918 - Specializing in standard ingenue roles during her teen years, she attained a degree of popularity in the touring company of Pollyanna and the New York productions of Penrod and Dear Brutus.

1920 - Cast as the heroine in the comedy "Bab", she became the youngest actress to have her name in lights on Broadway—an occasion that prompted an enterprising distributor to release the only silent film in which she had starred, "The Weavers of Life", which had been sitting on the shelf for three years.

1926 - Uncomfortable with her sudden ascendancy, she refused to believe she had truly “arrived”, when she was cast as the multifaceted heroine of James Barrie's "What Every Woman Knows".

1928 - She married the journalist and playwright Charles MacArthur, a union that lasted until his death.

1931 - Hayes and MacArthur went to Hollywood, where she made her talking picture debut in The Sin of Madelon Claudet, for which she received an Academy Award.

1932 - Although she made a number of later films, including the version of "A Farewell to Arms", Hayes was unhappy in Hollywood and soon returned to Broadway.

1933-1935 - She scored her biggest stage success to date in Mary of Scotland, surpassing this triumph with a tour-de-force performance in Victoria Regina, which ran for three years.

1946 - Her many subsequent stage credits included "Happy Birthday", which earned her the first Tony Award for best actress.

1952-1956 - Except for occasional appearances in such films as "My Son John" and "Anastasia".

1965-1968 - Hayes published autobiographies, "A Gift of Joy" and "On Reflection".

1970 - She had won a second Academy Award for her portrayal of an elderly stowaway in the movie "Airport", which precipitated a succession of similarly eccentric movie roles.

1971 - Hayes remained essentially a stage performer but when her chronic asthmatic bronchitis triggered an allergic reaction to stage dust.

1972 - She published "Twice Over Lightly" with Anita Loos.

1973 - She costarred with Mildred Natwick in the weekly TV series The Snoop Sisters. She ended her acting career as Agatha Christie's elderly sleuth Miss Marple in three well-received television movies during the early 1980s.

1986 - Showered with awards and citations for her acting and humanitarian activities, Hayes received the Presidential Medal of Freedom and held the distinction of having two Broadway theaters named in her honor.

1991 - She published her last autobiography "My Life in Three Acts".

1993 - Died on March 17th in Nyack, New York.

Page last updated: 3:28pm, 16th Mar '07
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