Susan Hayward

Recent Role:

Star on They Won't Believe Me!

Born:

6/30/1917, Brooklyn, New York

Died:

3/14/1975

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  • Credits
  • Biography
  • Susan Hayward was born Edythe Marrener in Brooklyn, New York on June 30, 1918. The daughter of a transportation worker and his wife lived a fairly comfortable life as a child. The little precocious red-head had no idea of the life that awaited her. She attended public school in Brooklyn where she graduated from a commercial high school which was intended to give students a marketable skill. She had planned on becoming a secretary, but her plans changed. Her career began as a model for local photographers in the NYC area. Her beauty fully evident, Susan came to Hollywood when the nation wide search was on for Scarlett O'Hara in Margaret Mitchell's Gone with the Wind (1939). Although she, along with several hundred other aspiring Scarlett's lost out to Vivien Leigh, Susan was to carve her own signature in Hollywood circles. In 1937, Susan was a bit player in the production of Hollywood Hotel (1937). The bit parts continued all through 1938, with parts as a coed, telephone operator, and aspiring actress before she landed a role with substance. She wasn't happy with these bit parts, but she also realized she had to 'pay her dues'. By 1939, Susan landed the role of Isobel Rivers in the mammoth hit BEAU GESTE. In 1941, Susan played Millie Perkins in the off-beat thriller, AMONG THE LIVING. This film showed the Hollywood crowd her vivid dramatic qualities for the first time. It would not be the last. Playing a Southern belle in 1942's REAP THE WILD WIND, Susan, once again, showed her mettle as an actress. The film was a big success. Following that movie she starred with Paulette Goddard in THE FOREST RANGERS later that year along with Fred McMurray. Here she played a tough gal as Tana Mason. Films such as JACK LONDON (1943), AND NOW TOMORROW (1944), and DEADLINE DAWN (1946) continued to showcase her talent, she still hadn't gotten the meaty role she craved. In 1947, Susan received the first of her five Academy Award nominations for her portrayal of Angelica Evans in SMASH-UP, THE STORY OF A WOMAN. She played the part to the hilt and many thought she would win her first Oscar, but she lost out to Loretta Young for her role in THE FARMER'S DAUGHTER. In 1949, Susan was again up against stiff competition for MY FOOLISH HEART, but once again her hopes were dashed when Olivia de Havilland won for THE HEIRESS. Now with two Oscar nominations under her belt, Susan Hayward was a force to be reckoned with. Good parts came her way with ease and she carefully chose them because she wanted to appear in good quality productions. Susan came away with, yet, a third nomination in 1953 for WITH A SONG IN MY HEART. Later that year she starred as Rachel Donaldson Robards Jackson in THE PRESIDENT'S LADY. She was superb as Andrew Jackson's embittered wife who dies before he was able to take office as President of the United States. After her fourth Academy Award nomination for 1955's I'LL CRY TOMORROW, Susan began to wonder if she would ever take home the coveted Oscar. She didn't have much longer to wait. In 1958, Susan gave the performance of her lifetime with her portrayal of condemned murderess Barbara Graham in I WANT TO LIVE! where she was to be executed in the gas chamber. Her character was absolutely riveting as the doomed woman. For a lot of film buffs, it ranks as one of the finest performances of all time. After that role, she appeared in about one movie a year. In 1972, Susan appeared in one last movie for the silver screen, THE REVENGERS. She had been diagnosed as having cancer which finally claimed her on March 14, 1975 in Hollywood. She was 56.moreless

    Birth Name:

    Edythe Marrener

    Gender:

    Female

    Birth Place:

    Brooklyn, New York

  • Trivia & Quotes
  • Trivia (13)

    • Susan's first marriage to actor Jess Barker was a stormy one that ended with a bitter custody battle of her twin sons and a suicide attempt by Susan. Her second to rancher Eaton Chalkley was a long and happy marriage until he died suddenly of hepatitis nine years later. Susan left Hollywood for five years in a state of deep mourning. She would later return in 1971.

    • Susan was diagnosed with brain cancer, allegedly the result of being exposed to dangerous radioactive toxins on location in Utah while making The Conqueror. All the lead actors John Wayne, Agnes Moorehead, John Hoyt, Hayward, and the director Dick Powell died of cancer. The case is still a scandal.

    • Susan's footprints at Grauman's Chinese Theatre are the only ones set in gold dust.

    • Susan took over the ballsy role of stage star Helen Lawson in Valley of the Dolls in 1967 after Judy Garland was fired.

    • Measurements: 36 1/2-26-35 1/2

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