Susan Hayward Fast Facts
Born: Edythe Marrenner on June 30, 1917 in Brooklyn, New York City, New York
Died: March 14, 1975 (age 57) in Hollywood, Los Angeles, California
Jess Barker (July 24, 1944 - August 18, 1954) (divorced) (twin sons)
Floyd Eaton Chalkley (February 8, 1957 - January 9, 1966) (his death)
Fraternal twin boys, Timothy Barker and Gregory Barker, were born on February 19, 1945.
1948 - Nominated for Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role - Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947)
1950 - Nominated for Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role - My Foolish Heart (1949)
1953 - Nominated for Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role - With a Song in My Heart (1952)
1956 - Nominated for Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role - I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
1959 - Won Oscar for Best Actress in a Leading Role - I Want to Live! (1958)
1953 - Won Henrietta Award for World Film Favorite - Female
1953 - Won Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress - Musical/Comedy - With a Song in My Heart (1952)
1959 - Won Golden Globe for Best Motion Picture Actress - Drama - I Want to Live! (1958)
Did You Know?
Was one of many starlets who auditioned for the part of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind (1939).
Was diagnosed with brain cancer, allegedly the result of being exposed to dangerous radioactive toxins on location in Utah while making The Conqueror (1956). All the leads John Wayne, Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt, Pedro Armendáriz, Hayward and the director Dick Powell died of cancer. The case is still a scandal.
She portrayed an alcoholic in three films, Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947), My Foolish Heart (1949) and I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955). She was nominated for an Oscar for each performance.
Her footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre are the only ones set in gold dust.
Hayward was scheduled to star in a Ross Hunter-produced remake of Stella Dallas (1937), but the film was canceled because "women's pictures" were no longer box-office.
Replaced an ailing Barbara Stanwyck in Heat of Anger (1972), which was to have been a pilot for a TV series to be called Fitzgerald and Pride.
Susan Hayward's movie, I Want to Live captured her fascinating emotional mix. She managed to be as formidable as she was sexy, as courageous as she was abused, and as cold-blooded as she was hot-tempered.
In real life Susan Hayward smoked five packs of Newports a day, and on March 14, 1975 she died. Aristotle Onassis died the same night, which pushed her off most of the front pages that mold the world's memory. But she lived like a star, worked like a trouper and died like a heroine.
I Want To Live was Miss Hayward's personal pinnacle. A four-time Oscar also-ran, she made it 1958 portraying Barbara Graham, a stoic B-girl murderess condemned to the gas chamber. Miss Hayward beamed appropriately when she received the award, remembered all her co-workers gratefully, and later told her husband she'd finally "climbed up on top of that dung heap" that a part of her considered Hollywood to be.
Hollywood had been strictly star system 20 years before, when she arrived by train from Brooklyn with her more glamorous sister, Florence, and against her father's judgment. With all her red-haired drive, she wanted to be Scarlett in Gone with the Wind. Producer David Selznick reviewed her screen test and told her to go home. She said she'd stay, which wasn't really a choice; she'd already cashed in her return ticket.
She cashed in her past, and the name Edythe Marrener when Warner Brothers signed her to a six-month contract. As Susan Hayward, she did promotional tours and a few nothing roles for $75 a week.
"Susan really got kicked around, and I think it got to her," says producer Marty Rackin who rescued her on occasion. "Jack Warner used to say that one actor on his ass was worth two on his feet, and he kept 'em that way. Susan was shy and very insecure then, and after the Warner treatment she never let down her guard. It made her a loner, and she never changed."
Rackin could have gone back further, as Miss Hayward often did, to say her toughness came from her upbringing. Her father, a subway conductor, was a weak-willed alcoholic; her mother, conniving end pretentious. She had grown up dirty-dress poor in the shadow of her mother's favoritism toward her sister, Florence, six years older. Miss Hayward's hip-rolling walk came not from affectation, but childhood pelvic fractures which knit wrong. They knit wrong, she said, because her mother took her to a free clinic rather than an orthopedist.
She moved on to Paramount where she stepped out of line and exploited her exploiters in a 1941 studio sales convention. Chosen to say welcoming words, Miss Hayward said instead: "Several of you have asked me why I'm not in more Paramount pictures, and that's a damn interesting question. Well, Mr. Freeman (Frank Freeman, studio chief), do I get a break or don't I?" Freeman responded with sputtering amiability, the press was amused, the letters to the studio were encouraging, and Susan Hayward shortly found getting better work easier. Not easy, but easier. "I always saw the thing as a job," she later told confidant Ron Nelson.
"I was never late, I always learned my lines and did what the director told me to do because he was the boss. I didn't party; I didn't romance anybody for work, no way. I wanted to make it right."
That was her retrospective view. Hayward scholar Doug McClelland, in a loving, retrospective book nonetheless titled The Divine Bitch, quotes several early co-stars with accounts like this anonymous one:
"From the start, Susan gave the most skilled directors a bad time. She refused guidance, although there were times when direction would have helped her considerably. She was touchy on the set, and it was a rare day when she mixed with the cast during breaks. Somewhere along the line she learned to act. And she didn't stop at being just good. Every inch of that voluptuous woman is an actress. She can portray a lonely, frustrated, desperate woman because she's experienced those emotions. If you look closely, you'll see they've left scars on her heart."
That is, indeed, a secret of her best films: they coincide with tragedies Miss Hayward knew inside-out.
After she got her Oscar, the script for Miss Hayward's life came another movie, I'd Climb the Highest Mountain, one of her rare happy ones. In it she played a city girl who married a rural minister and adjusted to backwoods life. She would live her 10 happiest years with Eaton Floyd Chalkley, a Carrollton, GA gentleman farmer she loved far more than Hollywood.
"I don't miss Hollywood at all, not even my psychiatrist," she said in a 1959 interview. "The career doesn't interest me very much, and more and more I ask myself why I make any pictures at all."
Chalkley had changed her. He was 10 years older, a Georgia boy who had made good as an FBI agent and a Washington lawyer. "A nice guy, a real guy," says producer Rackin, who had intended to have dinner with the couple the night in 1957 they got married in Phoenix instead.
In Carrollton (pop. 10,973), Susan Hayward was Mrs. Eaton Chalkley. She wore bandanas, western shirts and khaki cotton slacks and drove a pick-up. They entertained when they had to, always in big batches.
"Mrs. Chalkley told me she liked the simple people," says Curlie Crowder, a Carrollton woman who worked for the couple for many years. "They was more sincere," she said. "And whatever they say, they be really meaning."
Townspeople liked Susan Hayward, too, "'cause she was a down-to-earth person. In small towns like here, people see each time they meet somebody new, whether they be the same. Mrs. Chalkley was, so they accepted her."
The couple oscillated between Carrollton and Fort Lauderdale where in the late '50s they kept a converted shrimp boat. The boat was to indulge Chalkley's frequent urge for deep sea fishing. His wife always went along, though she loved her husband and the ocean far more than she did fishing.
"He was the strongest male I ever met," Susan Hayward said of Chalkley. "He had the greatest amount of gentleness and a totally even temperament." She told friends how her husband taught her to ride. It began with a casual offer, and almost ended when Miss Hayward fell off.
"Aren't you gonna pick me up?" she bleated.
"No," said Chalkley. "Get back on the horse."
"I really cussed him out," Miss Hayward recalled.
"You want to learn to ride, get back on," Chalkley said calmly. "If not, let's forget it."
She learned to ride well. Chalkley also advised her on scripts and won her better contracts. As a lover's sport, he bought her fresh yellow roses daily, from the first day of their marriage to his death, even when she was on remote location.
Though she curried Hollywood's favor by singing its praises whenever she came to work, Susan Hayward afterward retreated to Carrollton or Fort Lauderdale as fast as possible.
A local Civic Association solicitor quickly discovered the limits of Miss Hayward's neighborliness when she paused in her pitch to coo at her Florida home's furnishings.
"What did you want to see me about?" her hostess growled.
"Joining the association."
"What's it cost?"
Told, Miss Hayward said: "I'll join. Send me a bill and can the chit-chat; it bores me."
It did, indeed, along with bridge and tea and socio-charitable company. It wasn't herself people wanted to meet, Miss Hayward thought, but "either the name or the money. That's what they want," she said. "Or they want me to be a monkey on a goddam stick and I'm tired of that. If they want me, they've gotta pay me." Nobody did, so Fort Lauderdale and Susan Hayward reached a separate peace.
Chalkley was no more visible, though as devout Catholic, he attended Mass almost daily. His wife would have none of it.
From an untreated World War II blood infection, he'd contracted hepatitis. The condition worsened in 1966, while Susan was in Venice shooting The Honey Pot. Filming stopped and she flew home. Chalkley, after two weeks at Holy Cross, felt he was dying and wanted to die at home. His wife didn't believe it but humored him.
In their last conversation, Chalkley said she would be financially secure. But he voiced concern about her soul.
"Susan was still talking to him when he died," says Ron Nelson, in later years her closest friend. He heads the Broward County Heart Association, the only formal charity that interested her. Nelson's style is to merge personal and professional relations into friendship. The style has made him Florida's most impressive Heart Fundraiser, also the friend Miss Hayward chose for company in her own long death watch.
When she realized Chalkley was dead, Nelson recalls, "she locked herself in the bathroom and yelled her lungs out.
"After about 10 minutes, she opened the door and came out composed. She turned to Dr. Leonard Erdman, who'd attended Eaton, and said: 'Okay, Doc, what do I do next?'"
She finished The Honey Pot and five months later converted to Catholicism in a secret ceremony in Pittsburgh.
"I hope to Christ there is something to reincarnation," she told Nelson, "because I want to see Eaton again."
For months after his death, she rarely left her home. In public she drank Jack Daniels and Johnnie Walker Black Label on the rocks. In private she drank them neat, and Beefeater martinis in brandy snifters the size of goldfish bowls. She needed, as she put it, "to get blown away."
Few worthy screenplays came and she declined the best of them: Mrs. Robinson in Mike Nichols The Graduate. She did two TV pilots which weren't bad or good enough. She refused commercials "because I don't think I should stoop to brushing my teeth in public."
Seclusion was again the answer to fading eminence. She read more, everything from Balzac to movie mags which she loved and deplored. She read The New York Times and Wall Street Journal daily, and once in a while would go to Southeast Everglades Bank of Fort Lauderdale to admire her money.
"Susan kept about $400,000 in a paper bag in her safe deposit box," says Nelson, "and she liked to pile it up on the table. I asked her why she didn't deposit it or put it into bonds. 'No, I just like to touch it,' she said, 'I like to count it.'"
She played a trick on her sons — Tim, a Hollywood publicist and Greg, a Jacksonville veterinarian — before she died. She cut up newspapers to the size of dollar bills, put a few real bills on the outside of the money wrappers and left this note in the paper bag: "Where did all the dough go? I spent it, what the hell did you think?"
Miss Hayward and her twin sons by her first husband, actor Jess Barker, weren't close until after Chalkley's death; they grew up with nannies and at boarding schools. She was businesslike with them and stern: Tim learned he was going to work when his mother refused him financial support for a fellowship in cinematography. She did it by shaking her head to his request.
In 1972 she began to experience serious headaches. It was slightly ominous; in 1967 she had had a hysterectomy for tumors diagnosed as benign. She attributed the headaches to too much liquor and shrugged them off until her physical in December 1972 at Georgetown University Hospital in Washington, D.C.
She told no one that doctors had found 20 lesions in her brain; she said the doctors were crazy. In April 1973, she collapsed in the midst of a Hollywood party. Friends were told she was in Cedars of Lebanon Hospital there; actually she was at Century City Hospital under the name of Margaret Redding.
When released in May 1973, the five-foot-one-inch actress weighed 85 pounds. She was wheelchair bound. Under her wig, she had no hair: chemotherapy and radiation treatments had caused it to fall out. The press was told Miss Hayward had been hospitalized for undisclosed tests. She told her friends nothing, Privately, Nelson was told by her physician, Dr. Lee Siegel: "It could be a week, it could be a month, but she's going to die."
By July 4, he predicted. Consulting specialists agreed.
Soon after she returned to her Los Angeles home, Susan asked Nelson to take her to celebrated astrologer Carroll Righter. Astrology had long fascinated her and she was thoroughly conversant if not devout.
He ducked the question, saying her chart showed a decline. "But it's only a professional decline," he said. "I see that you will be alive in January 1975."
The news buoyed her, and so did her improving condition.
"Fantastic accuracy" in radiation treatment had halted her tumors' growth and Miss Hayward was in remission.
Believing doctors had been wrong, she reported for tests at Massachusetts General Hospital in October 1973.
Nelson saw the results when Miss Hayward came to Lauderdale for three weeks before returning to Hollywood. "I met the plane and thought she'd missed it," he recalls. "All the passengers had gotten off and no Susan. The passage was empty and then she came. A nurse was holding her. She wore a sable coat and dark glasses. She was dragging her right foot.
"'Don't touch me,' Susan said, shuddering."
That night, at his home, Nelson offered her a drink. Her nurse shook her head furiously.
"Who the hell says I can't drink," Miss Hayward snapped. "I can do anything I please."
She wanted Chivas Regal and Nelson sent out for it. After three drinks, she collapsed. He let himself cry.
By Christmas, Miss Hayward was dragging her leg more.
A large tumor was growing on the left side of her brain, doctors said. It would move inexorably across to the right side and paralyze her totally. She refused further chemotherapy and radiation and vetoed invasive surgery. Analgesics she accepted in moderation.
Remission blessed her again early in 1974, and she accepted an Academy Awards invitation to present Oscars. Dr. Siegel said it was risky. By March her brain seizures were longer and more frequent. She prevailed on dress designer Nolan Miller to conceal her afflictions. He came up with a high-necked, full length, black sequined gown. Points of black lace hid her left and paralyzed right hand.
Immediately before she was to walk onstage Siegel gave her a massive dose of Dilantin, a drug used to ward off seizures. It worked.
"Well, that's the last time I pull that off," Miss Hayward said, flushed and wobbly afterward. She collapsed of a seizure that night at a small party.
It was evident by July that she needed more treatment. She went to Emory University Hospital in Atlanta, finally willing to undergo exploratory surgery. The press got no explanation and Nelson got this one: "It's just that I've got rocks in my head and doctors have a machine that detects them. I've known I had rocks in my head for a long time."
Her therapy, it turned out, had been so good that doctors at first thought the tumors benign. When her doctor came in to deliver the bad news from pathology, she told Nelson: "If he's gonna tell me what I think he's gonna tell me, I think you'd better leave."
He heard screams of disbelief, then silence, and went back in.
"Do you want to talk about it?"
"Nothing to talk about, is there?" Miss Hayward said. "I'm going home to Fort Lauderdale and I'm going to act as though it never happened." She sent Nelson out for chicken livers cooked in wine and mushroom sauce.
By the summer of 1974, she was limited to her wheelchair. Her hands shook too badly for her to read or feed herself. She couldn't hold cigarettes and burned up rugs. She wore braces to prevent her paralyzed legs from breaking.
At night she and Nelson watched TV late and talked. Once she said: "The night has a thousand eyes, doesn't it?"
"Are you afraid?" he asked.
"Let's put it this way," she said. "I feel more comfortable sleeping in the daytime."
In September she was flown back to Emory. A brain scan showed rapid tumor growth. Doctors concluded she would soon lose her speech and memory, then the swallowing reflex. Because she explicitly forbade "intravenous or any other lifesaving crap," she'd die once she could no longer swallow.
On October 17, Dr. George Tindall, a neurosurgeon, told reporters Miss Hayward was "quite ill." In fact, Miss Hayward was in a coma, not expected to survive.
After four days she stirred. "I'm thirsty," she whispered to Nelson. It was another rally, though she had no illusions this time. "I don't want anybody to push me over the brink," she said, "and I don't went anybody to hold me back."
Because Chalkley had died in Fort Lauderdale, she ruled it out. Nelson rented a plane to take her back to Los Angeles. In midflight she decided she was hungry. The plane had no food. "So put it down," she commanded. Star and crew had fried chicken in Midland, Texas.
Nelson followed, though he too had a health problem: a worsening heart condition. He followed because he wanted to, had promised to. Before Miss Hayward boarded her plane, she'd said: "Look, they THINK I've got cancer. We KNOW you've had a heart attack. Make a deal? We won't talk about that crap anymore, but let's keep this special thing we've got till one of us kicks the bucket. If it's you, I'll try to be there. If it's me, you goddam well better be or I'll haunt you!"
She would see almost no one as she died in her hilltop home overlooking Culver City. Rackin was told: "Try to visit and I'll never talk to you again." She made exceptions for Barbara Stanwyck; "another Brooklyn broad," in Miss Hayward's book, and for Katharine Hepburn, whom she had not known before her illness.
Nelson recalls Miss Hepburn "driving up in her '61 Thunderbird in blue jeans." She bore a bouquet she had made herself "because the florists around here are a ripoff," she explained.
"'Hi, Susannah; it's Kate,' she'd say. 'Been sticking your behind all day again? Bet it hurts.'"
And then they'd talk tough-trouper talk.
Carroll Righter's magic day came and passed, but by the end of February Miss Hayward's power of speech was intermittent. Nelson or a nurse had to turn her in bed and she could only sometimes swallow.
After four days of unconsciousness, she roused on March 10 and called her son Greg, the veterinarian.
"You know I'm dying." she said. It was the first time she'd admitted it, though he'd been shuttling between his practice in Jacksonville and her bedside for the past 30 months in response to the alarms of doctors.
He asked what he could do.
"Oh, you're a veterinarian," his mother said, "and I thought you might be able to fix up this old horse."
They talked about his wife and practice.
"This is my nickel," she said finally, "so I'm signing off now. I want you to remember something, though. Remember that I love you."
Nelson, at Miss Hayward's behest, called Tim, the publicist. He drove up from his office. She let him know she approved his taking away her financial power, a matter they'd fought about before. "It's the right thing," she said. "You're my son."
Then, Tim remembers, "she said she loved me, and whimpered and collapsed."
Three days longer Nelson waited. For ten days she'd eaten nothing. From scores of religious medals sent by fans, he picked the best and strung them on a safety pin which he pinned to the star's pink nightie.
He kept her hand, as she had ordered, on a big onyx crucifix Pope John XXIII had given her.
On March 14, 1975 at 2 p.m., her head wrenched sharply, her eyes bulged, and Susan Hayward died. Dr. Siegel called her 2 1/2 year struggle "absolutely extraordinary."
"It's amazing to live that long with this type of lesion," he said. "There's no other case like it, nothing in the medical literature." Tim estimated that his mother spent $350,000 to stay alive.
For the quick, quiet funeral she'd ordered, Tim told reporters the funeral would be Monday in Carrollton and planned it for Sunday.
Carrollton people knew and baked cakes and hams. They lined seven miles of highway between the funeral home and cemetery. Nobody from Hollywood was there. In what Miss Hayward's maid described as "a little, drizzly rain," and wearing the gown Nolan Miller designed for her for the 1974 Oscars, she was buried beside Eaton Chalkley on the east side of the church amid the piney woods.
Our Lady of Perpetual Help was a church she helped to found. The Chalkleys donated 14 acres adjoining their farm for the church to be built and helped to raise money for its construction. The church was dedicated March 25, 1962.
There's a lie on her pink marble tombstone. It says she was born in 1918. Actually, it was 1917.
TCM's Star of the Month - September 2015
Beau Geste (1939)
D: William Wellman. Gary Cooper, Ray Milland, Robert Preston, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward, J Carrol Naish, Albert Dekker, Broderick Crawford, Donald O'Connor. Scene-for-scene remake of famous 1926 silent film (with Ronald Colman) isn't quite as good but faithfully retells story of three devoted brothers serving in the Foreign Legion and battling sadistic martinet commander (Donlevy). Nothing can top that opening sequence! Based on the novel by P.C. Wren. Remade in 1966.
Adam Had Four Sons (1941)
D: Gregory Ratoff. Ingrid Bergman, Warner Baxter, Susan Hayward, Fay Wray, Richard Denning, Johnny Downs, June Lockhart. Handsome but predictable family saga about French governess Bergman watching over Baxter's household after his wife's death. Bergman gives warm performance, and Hayward plays bad girl to the hilt.
Reap the Wild Wind (1942)
D: Cecil B. DeMille. Ray Milland, John Wayne, Paulette Goddard, Raymond Massey, Robert Preston, Susan Hayward, Charles Bickford, Hedda Hopper, Louise Beavers, Martha O'Driscoll, Lynne Overman. Brawling DeMille hokum of 19th-century salvagers in Florida, with Goddard as fiery Southern belle, Milland and Wayne fighting for her, Massey as odious villain. Exciting underwater scenes, with the special effects earning an Oscar. Milland good in off-beat characterization.
Canyon Passage (1946)
D: Jacques Tourneur. Dana Andrews, Brian Donlevy, Susan Hayward, Ward Bond, Andy Devine, Lloyd Bridges. Plotty, colorful Western mixing action, beautiful scenery, heated love relationships, and Hoagy Carmichael singing "Ole Buttermilk Sky." Well made and entertaining.
D: Stuart Heisler. Susan Hayward, Robert Preston, Pedro Armendariz, Lloyd Gough, Chill Wills, Ed Begley, Jimmy Conlin. Bouncy drama of cattlewoman Hayward entering the wildcat oil business to avenge the death of her father, losing her values along the way as she becomes blinded by her success.
They Won't Believe Me (1947)
D: Irving Pichel. Susan Hayward, Robert Young, Jane Greer, Rita Johnson, Tom Powers, Don Beddoe, Frank Ferguson. Fine James Cain-type melodrama about a philanderer who gets involved with three women, leading to tragedy (and a terrific twist ending). Young excels in his unsympathetic role; Johnson does wonders with her scenes as his wife.
Smash-Up, the Story of a Woman (1947)
D: Stuart Heisler. Susan Hayward, Lee Bowman, Marsha Hunt, Eddie Albert, Carl Esmond, Carleton Young. Hayward is excellent as an insecure nightclub singer who gives up her career when she weds soon-to-be radio star Bowman...and finds herself helplessly mired in alcoholism. This was Hayward's breakthrough role after a decade in Hollywood, and it deservedly earned her her first Oscar nomination. Taut script by John Howard Lawson, from an original story by Dorothy Parker and Frank Cavett.
Deadline at Dawn (1946)
D: Harold Clurman. Susan Hayward, Paul Lukas, Bill Williams, Joseph Calleia, Osa Massen, Lola Lane, Jerome Cowan, Steven Geray. Atmospheric but muddled murder mystery, with aspiring actress Hayward attempting to clear naive sailor Williams, who is suspected of murder. Clurman's only film as director. Screenplay by Clifford Odets, from a novel by William Irish (Cornell Woolrich).
Girls on Probation (1938)
D: William McGann. Jane Bryan, Ronald Reagan, Anthony Averill, Sheila Bromley, Henry O'Neill, Elisabeth Risdon, Sig Rumann, Susan Hayward. Uninspired B picture about a young woman (Bryan) who can't seem to stay out of trouble with the law; Reagan is a lawyer who defends her and falls in love with her.
I Can Get It for You Wholesale (1951)
D: Michael Gordon. Susan Hayward, Dan Dailey, Sam Jaffe, George Sanders, Randy Stuart, Marvin Kaplan, Harry Von Zell. Hayward is aces as a model-turned-dress-designer determined to make it in N.Y.C.'s garment industry. Jerome Weidman's flavorful novel was adapted by Vera Caspary and scripted by Abraham Polonsky.
David and Bathsheba (1951)
D: Henry King. Gregory Peck, Susan Hayward, Raymond Massey, Kieron Moore, James Robertson Justice, Jayne Meadows, John Sutton, George Zucco. Biblical epic with good production values but generally boring script; only fair performances.
President's Lady, The (1953)
D: Henry Levin. Charlton Heston, Susan Hayward, John McIntire, Fay Bainter, Carl Betz. Heston as Andrew Jackson and Hayward the lady with a past he marries work well together in this fictional history of 1800s America, based on the Irving Stone novel. Heston would again play "Old Hickory" five years later in The Buccaneer.
With a Song in My Heart (1952)
D: Walter Lang. Susan Hayward, Rory Calhoun, David Wayne, Thelma Ritter, Robert Wagner, Una Merkel. Well-intentioned schmaltz based loosely on events in life of singer Jane Froman with Hayward earnest as songstress struggling to make comeback after crippling plane crash. Alfred Newman won an Oscar for Scoring.
Lusty Men, The (1952)
D: Nicholas Ray. Susan Hayward, Robert Mitchum, Arthur Kennedy, Arthur Hunnicutt, Frank Faylen. Intelligent, atmospheric rodeo drama, with ex-champ Mitchum becoming mentor of novice Kennedy--and finding himself attracted to Kennedy's no-nonsense wife (Hayward). Solid going most of the way--until that hokey finale. Well directed by Ray.
Demetrius and the Gladiators (1954)
D: Delmer Daves. Victor Mature, Susan Hayward, Michael Rennie, Debra Paget, Anne Bancroft, Richard Egan, Ernest Borgnine. Hokey sequel to The Robe has Emperor Caligula (Jay Robinson) searching for magic robe of Christ; Mature dallies with royal Hayward. CinemaScope.
Conqueror, The (1956)
D: Dick Powell. John Wayne, Susan Hayward, Pedro Armendariz, Agnes Moorehead, Thomas Gomez, John Hoyt, William Conrad. Mongols vs. Tartars, and John Wayne vs. the silliest role of his career, Genghis Khan. Expensive epic has camp dialogue to spare. The film had a sobering real-life aftermath, however: it was shot on location in Utah near an atomic test site, and an alarming number of its cast and crew (including the stars) were later stricken by cancer. CinemaScope.
I'll Cry Tomorrow (1955)
D: Daniel Mann. Susan Hayward, Richard Conte, Jo Van Fleet, Ray Danton, Eddie Albert, Margo. Superlative portrayal by Hayward of star Lillian Roth, her assorted marriages and alcoholic problems. Everything a movie biography should be. Helen Rose won an Oscar for her costumes. Also shown in computer-colored version.
I Want To Live! (1958)
D: Robert Wise. Susan Hayward, Simon Oakland, Virginia Vincent, Theodore Bikel, John Marley, Dabbs Greer, Gavin MacLeod. Hayward won an Oscar for her gutsy performance as prostitute-crook Barbara Graham who (according to the film) is framed for murder and goes to gas chamber. Smart presentation, fine acting, memorable jazz score by Johnny Mandel. Nelson Gidding and Don Mankiewicz based script on articles about Graham. Look fast for Jack Weston, Brett Halsey. Remade as a 1983 TVM with Lindsay Wagner.
Top Secret Affair (1957)
D: H. C. Potter. Susan Hayward, Kirk Douglas, Paul Stewart, Jim Backus, John Cromwell. John P. Marquand's Melville Goodwin, U.S.A. becomes fair comedy, with most credit going to Hayward as fiery publisher who knows all about the past of Senate appointee (Douglas).
Marriage-Go-Round, The (1960)
D: Walter Lang. Susan Hayward, James Mason, Julie Newmar, Robert Paige, June Clayworth. Film version of Leslie Stevens' saucy play about marriage: Mason is professor attracted to free-love-oriented Newmar. Amusing, but lacks real bite. CinemaScope.
Back Street (1961)
D: David Miller. Susan Hayward, John Gavin, Vera Miles. Third screen version of the classic romance about a woman sacrificing everything for love of a married man. Fannie Hurst wrote the novel in 1931. The 1932 film was directed by John M. Stahl and starred John Boles and Irene Dunne. Universal remade it in 1941 with direction by Robert Stevenson. It starred Charles Boyer and Margaret Sullavan.
Valley of the Dolls (1967)
D: Mark Robson. Susan Hayward, Barbara Parkins, Sharon Tate, Patty Duke, Paul Burke, Lee Grant. Three young women brave the world of show business and pills. Based on the novel by Jacqueline Susann. Judy Garland was originally cast as Helen Lawson, but was fired when she (reputedly) came to work drunk; Susan Hayward replaced her in the role after production had already begun.
Stolen Hours (1963)
D: Daniel Petrie. Susan Hayward, Michael Craig, Diane Baker. An American heiress with an incurable disease falls in love with her surgeon. Nice remake of Dark Victory.
Honey Pot, The (1967)
D: Joseph L. Mankiewicz. Rex Harrison, Susan Hayward, Cliff Robertson, Capucine, Edie Adams, Maggie Smith. A millionaire fakes a terminal illness to fleece his former girlfriends. Hayward's husband, F. Eaton Chalkley, died while she was making this film.
Where Love Has Gone (1964)
D: Edward Dmytryk. Susan Hayward, Bette Davis, Michael Connors, Joey Heatherton, Jane Greer, DeForest Kelley, Anne Seymour, George Macready. Family secrets come to light when a teenager murders her mother's lover. Based on the 1962 novel by Harold Robbins.
I Thank a Fool (1962)
D: Robert Stevens. Susan Hayward, Peter Finch, Diane Cilento, Cyril Cusack. A doctor once convicted of euthanasia gets a job caring for her prosecutor's wife.
D: Daniel Mann. Susan Hayward, Dean Martin, Wilfrid Hyde-White, Ralph Meeker, Martin Balsam. A call girl weds an easygoing politician and helps him against corrupt state officials. Based on the novel Ada Dallas by Wirt Williams.
Susan Hayward on the Radio
"Hold Back the Dawn" on Lux Radio Theatre: November 10, 1941 - Charles Boyer, Paulette Goddard, Susan Hayward
"The Petrified Forest" on Lux Radio Theatre: April 23, 1945 - Ronald Colman, Susan Hayward, Lawrence Tierney
"With a Song in My Heart" on Lux Radio Theatre: February 9, 1953 - Susan Hayward, David Wayne, Rory Calhoun, Thelma Ritter, Robert Wagner, the singing voice of Jane Froman
"Susan Hayward" on The Orson Welles Almanac: July 12, 1944 - Orson Welles, Susan Hayward
"Hold Back the Dawn" on The Screen Guild Theater: February 8, 1943 - Charles Boyer, Susan Hayward, Margaret Lindsay
"Heaven Can Wait" on The Screen Guild Theater: May 7, 1945 - Walter Pidgeon, Susan Hayward, John Carradine
"The Dead Sleep Lightly" on Suspense: March 30, 1943 - Walter Hampden, Susan Hayward, Lee Bowman
"Dame Fortune" on Suspense: October 24, 1946 - Susan Hayward