Helen Hayes – 1900-1993
Known as the “First Lady of the Theatre”, Helen Hayes remains one of only two women to have won a Tony, an Oscar, a Grammy, and an Emmy. She was a true child of the stage, taking on her first role at 5 years old and her last at 85. She excelled on stage, in film, radio, and TV.
Helen was known for never becoming a “diva”, despite the acclaim she achieved in all her entertainment endeavors. For much of her adult life, Helen lived in Nyack, NY with her playwright husband, Charles MacArthur. The couple had one daughter and welcomed a son into their family by adoption. Sadly, their daughter, Mary, who was also an actress, died from polio in early adulthood. Helen then put her tireless energy to work raising money for polio research.
Helen Hayes was awarded the National Medal of Arts in 1988 by President Ronald Reagan. Many prestigious entertainment awards and even theatres have been named after her. Active until the end of her life, Helen Hayes is remembered for two of her witty sayings which exemplify her view of life:
“If you rest, you rust.”
“Age is not important unless you are a cheese.”
Helen Hayes remains an inspiration to women and to young girls looking forward to a career on the stage.