”We rely upon the poet, the philosophers, and the playwrights to articulate what most of us can only feel, in joy or sorrow. They illuminate the thoughts for which we only grope; they give us the strength and balm we cannot find in ourselves. Whenever I feel my courage wavering I rush to them. They give me the wisdom of acceptance, the will and resilience to push on. - Helen Hayes
Helen Hayes is one of only two people ever to receive the Tony Award, the Oscar, the Emmy and the Grammy. (Folks, if somebody can find out who the other person is, I’d be happy to include it in this w/u.)
Known as “The First Lady of American Theater, Helen Hayes was born in Washington D. C. on October 10, 1900. She made her stage debut at the age of 5 and her New York debut at the age of 9. By the time of her death on March 17, 1993 she had appeared in over 80 Broadway productions. She was also the first actress to receive the Tony Award. Here’s a partial listing of some of her more memorable performances. Authors name in parentheses.
Dear Brutus – 1917 – (James M. Barrie)
Caesar and Cleopatra – 1925 – (George Bernard Shaw)
What Every Woman Knows – 1926 (James M. Barrie)
Animal Kingdom – 1932 – (Frank Craven)
Mary of Scotland – 1933 – (Maxwell Anderson)
Victoria Regina – 1935 – (Laurence Housman)
Happy Birthday – 1946 – (Anita Loos)
The Skin of Our Teeth – 1955 (Thornton Wilder)
The Glass Menagerie – 1956 – (Tennessee Williams)
Time Remembered – 1957 – (Jean Anouilh)
A Touch of the Poet – 1958 – (Eugene O’Neill)
Long Day’s Journey into Night – 1971 – (Eugene O’Neill)
In world of film, she won the Best Actress Oscar for her appearance in The Sin of Madelon Claudet and almost 40 years later she won Best Supporting Actress for Airport in 1970.
Throughout her lifetime she was the recipient of over 50 honorary degrees , including Doctors of Fine Arts from prestigious institutions such as :
She also has the distinction of having two theaters named after her. In 1955, Fulton Theater in New York City was renamed Helen Hayes Theater. When that building was demolished in 1983, Broadway’s Little Theater was renamed after her.
In 1981, her achievements were celebrated at a ceremony a the Kennedy Center for Performing Arts and in 1986 she was awarded the Presidential Medal of Freedom.
During her lifetime, she also published some best-selling books:
A Gift of Joy
Twice Over Lightly
A Gathering of Hope
My Life in Three Acts
Our Best Years
Last but not least, her adopted son, James Macarthur, is also an actor. He is best known for his starring role in Hawaii Five-O.