BEST ACTRESS IN A LEADING ROLE
BEST ACTRESS IN A SUPPORTING ROLE
real name: 1932
THE SIN OF MADELON CLAUDET
 
Helen Brown
10 October 1900, Washington, D.C., USA 1970
AIRPORT
17 March 1993, Nyack, New York, USA  
zodiac sign: LIBRA

The "First Lady of the American Theater" never enjoyed much success with movie audiences, despite her prodigious talent and impeccable performances, until quite late in her career. She started acting on stage while still a small child, and made her film debut at the age of 10 in a two-reeler,Jean and the Calico Doll but she only went to Hollywood, years later, because her playwright husband, Charles MacArthur, was signed to an MGM contract. She made her sound film debut in The Sin of Madelon Claudet (1931), playing a woman who sacrifices everything to help her illegitimate son. It was an amazing performance, for which she won a Best Actress Academy Award. With such an impressive launch, Hayes seemed a screen natural. She took wellwritten roles in quality films, such as Arrowsmith (1931), A Farewell to Arms (1932), The White Sister (1933), What Every Woman Knows (1934), and Vanessa: Her Love Story (1935). But Hayes never really clicked with moviegoers, possibly because she lacked the magnetism or the sexual spark that put over many of the era's top stars. She ultimately returned to New York (as did MacArthur) and made only a few film appearances thereafter, concentrating on her enormously successful stage career, which was highlighted by a three-year run in the play "Victoria Regina" in the 1930s. (In fact, a Broadway theater was later named in her honor; ironically, it was later torn down during a renovation of New York's theater district.) Hayes played cameos in Stage Door Canteen (1943), Main Street to Broadway (1953), and Third Man on the Mountain (1959, which starred her son, James MacArthur), along with meatier roles in My Son John (1952) and Anastasia (1956). She snagged another Oscar for her scene-stealing characterization of an ingenuous stowaway in Airport (1970), which introduced and endeared her to a new generation. She then lent her talents to the innocuous Disney films Herbie Rides Again (1974), One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing (1976), and Candleshoe (1977). She also acted in several madefor-TV movies and even played one of "The Snoop Sisters" in that 1973-74 series. Hayes wrote three volumes of memoirs, "A Gift of Joy" (1965), "On Reflection" (1969), and "My Life in Three Acts" (1990).

FACTS:

nickname:

First Lady Of The American Theater

SPOUSE:

Charles MacArthur(1928 - 1956)(his death) 1 son

Helen Hayes was the first person ever to win a Grammy, an Oscar, a Tony, and an Emmy in competitive categories. She won Oscars in 1932 and 1970, Tonys in 1947, 1958, and 1980 (the 1980 award being non-competitive), Emmys in 1953 and 1978, and a Grammy in 1976 for Best Spoken Word Recording. Barbra Streisand won the Grand Slam before Hayes, but Streisand's Tony (in 1970) was a non-competitive award for Star of the Decade.
"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."
Helen Hayes 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 Mac Arthur.
 
as quoted by IMDBase Leonard Maltin's Movie Encyclopedia; Copyright 1994 Leonard Maltin, used by arrangement with Signet, a division of Penguin Putnam, Inc.