- NAME: Helen Hayes
- OCCUPATION: Actress
- BIRTH DATE: October 10, 1900
- DEATH DATE: March 17, 1993
- Did You Know?: Helen Hayes is one of only 14 entertainers to have won Emmy, Grammy, Oscar and Tony awards.
- PLACE OF BIRTH: Washington, D.C.
- PLACE OF DEATH: Nyack, New York
- Full Name: Helen Hayes Brown
- AKA: Helen Hayes
- Nickname: "First Lady of the American Theater"
Best Known For
Helen Hayes was an American actress best known for being one of two women to have received all four entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony.
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Hayes suffered another loss in 1956 with the death of her husband. She soon channeled her heartbreak into her work. She appeared with Ingrid Berman in Anastasia. A few years later, Hayes picked up her second Tony Award for another royal role in Time Remembered with Richard Burton.
Hayes retired from the stage in the early 1970s after discovering that she was allergic to the dust found in theaters, but she didn't stop acting. She won her second Academy Award for the 1970 film Airport, and she made numerous television appearances over the years. She had guest roles on such shows as The Love Boat, Highway to Heaven and Hawaii Five-O, which her son James starred in.
In 1976, Hayes won a Grammy Award for her work on the best spoken word album Great American Documents along with Henry Fonda, Orson Welles and James Earl Jones. This win made her part of an elusive group of entertainers. Few performers have received all of the top American honors—a Academy Award, a Tony Award, a Grammy Award and an Emmy Award.
Hayes continued to receive special recognition for her contributions to the arts in her later years. President Ronald Reagan gave her the National Medal of Arts in 1988. She also had the distinction of having a group of awards named after her as well. The Helen Hayes Awards honor those who excel in the Washington theatrical scene.
An avid gardener, Hayes worked with Lady Bird Johnson to establish the Lady Bird Johnson Wildflower Center in the early 1980s. She also helped raise funds to support the center.
One of Helen Hayes's final triumphs came in 1990 with the publication her autobiography My Life in Three Acts. The memoir became a best seller. By early 1993, Hayes's health had started to fail. She was admitted to a Nyack, New York hospital in early March with congestive heart failure. Hayes died there on March 17, 1993. She was 92 years old.
That June, her son James led a tribute to Hayes at a New York Theater. More than 1,500 people turned out to honor Hayes, including Douglas Fairbanks Jr., Tony Randall, Lynn Redgrave and Jason Robards. The petite actress was remembered for her impressive career and kind nature. According to the Los Angeles Times, Hayes once attributed her success to her own every woman appeal. "I was once the typical daughter, then the easily recognizable wife, and then the quintessential mother ...Perhaps I am the triumph of 'Plain Jane.'"
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