30 Facts About Helen Hayes


Helen Hayes MacArthur was an American actress whose career spanned eighty-two years.


Helen Hayes eventually received the nickname "First Lady of American Theatre" and was the second person and first woman to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.


Helen Hayes was the first person to win the Triple Crown of Acting; to date, the only other people to have accomplished both are Rita Moreno and Viola Davis.


Helen Hayes is regarded as one of the greatest leading ladies of the 20th-century theatre.


Helen Hayes Brown was born in Washington, DC, on October 10,1900.


Helen Hayes's mother, Catherine Estelle "Essie", was an aspiring actress who worked in touring companies.


Helen Hayes attended Dominican Academy's prestigious primary school, on Manhattan's Upper East Side, from 1910 to 1912, appearing there in The Old Dutch, Little Lord Fauntleroy, and other performances.

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Helen Hayes attended the Academy of the Sacred Heart Convent in Washington and graduated in 1917.


Helen Hayes said her stage debut was as a five-year-old singer at Washington's Belasco Theatre, on Lafayette Square, across from the White House.


Helen Hayes followed that with starring roles in Arrowsmith ; A Farewell to Arms ; The White Sister ; Another Language ; What Every Woman Knows ; and Vanessa: Her Love Story with Robert Montgomery.


Helen Hayes eventually returned to Broadway in 1935, where for three years she played the title role in Gilbert Miller's production of Victoria Regina, with Vincent Price as Prince Albert, first at the Broadhurst Theatre and later at the Martin Beck Theatre.


Helen Hayes returned to Hollywood in the 1950s, and her film star began to rise.


Helen Hayes starred in My Son John and Anastasia, and won the Academy Award for Best Supporting Actress for her role as an elderly stowaway in the disaster film Airport.


Helen Hayes followed that up with several roles in Disney films such as Herbie Rides Again, One of Our Dinosaurs Is Missing and Candleshoe.


In 1983 the Little Theater on West 44th Street was renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre in her honor, as was a theatre in Nyack, which has since been renamed the Riverspace-Arts Center.


One critic said Cornell played every queen as though she were a woman, whereas Helen Hayes played every woman as though she were a queen.


Helen Hayes has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6220 Hollywood Blvd.


Helen Hayes wrote three memoirs: A Gift of Joy, On Reflection, and My Life in Three Acts.


Helen Hayes's adopted son, James MacArthur, had a successful career in acting, including as co-star to Jack Lord in Hawaii Five-O.


Helen Hayes was hospitalized a number of times for asthma, which was aggravated by stage dust, forcing her to retire from theater in 1971, at age 71.


Helen Hayes's last Broadway show was a 1970 revival of Harvey, in which she co-starred with James Stewart.


Helen Hayes was a generous donor of time and money to a number of causes and organizations, including the Riverside Shakespeare Company of New York City.


Helen Hayes was on the board of directors for the Greater New York Council of the Girl Scouts of the USA during the early 1970s.


In 1982, Hayes dedicated Riverside's The Shakespeare Center with New York theatre producer, Joseph Papp, and in 1985 she returned to the New York stage in a benefit for the company with a reading of A Christmas Carol with Raul Julia, Len Cariou, Mary Elizabeth Mastrantonio, Carole Shelley, Celeste Holm and Harold Scott, directed by W Stuart McDowell.


Helen Hayes became involved with the hospital in the 1940s and was named to the Board of Visitors in 1944.

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Helen Hayes served on the Helen Hayes Hospital Board of Visitors for 49 years, until her death in 1993.


Helen Hayes contributed her enthusiastic support to hospital events and fund-raising efforts, including handing out diplomas to the children upon graduation when the hospital was still a pediatric care facility.


Helen Hayes faithfully attended the hospital's annual Classic Race, leading it in a classic car, handing out awards to runners, hand cyclists, and wheelchair racers, and offering the use of her home, Pretty Penny, for a dinner to launch the hospital's endowment fund.


Helen Hayes died on March 17,1993, of congestive heart failure in Nyack, New York.


In 1983, Helen Hayes received the Award for Greatest Public Service Benefiting the Disadvantaged, an award given out annually by Jefferson Awards.