Cover image for My life in three acts
My life in three acts
Hayes, Helen, 1900-1993.
Personal Author:
First edition.
Publication Information:
San Diego : Harcourt Brace Jovanovich, [1990]

Physical Description:
266 pages ; 25 cm
General Note:
"A Helen and Kurt Wolff book."
Personal Subject:
Added Author:
Format :


Call Number
Material Type
Home Location
Item Holds
PN2287.H35 A34 1990 Adult Non-Fiction Central Closed Stacks

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At the age of ninety, Helen Hayes, the acclaimed first lady of the American theatre, looks back on her life and her career. With wit and candor, she offers deft behind-the-scenes portraits of some of the biggest personalities in Hollywood, as well as critiques on American theatre and Hollywood today.

Reviews 2

Publisher's Weekly Review

Thanks to freelance writer Hatch's unobtrusive collaboration, Hayes's voice is practically audible in this candid, humorous and deeply moving story. Born with the century in Washington, D.C., Hayes first appeared on stage at age six. The shy and quiet future star's career was managed by her mother until she met roistering, boozy Charles MacArthur, whom she wed in 1928, the year the MacArthur-Ben Hecht play, The Front Page , opened on Broadway. The ``mismatch'' lasted until MacArthur's death in 1956, enduring the starkly described loss of their 19-year-old daughter Mary to polio. In other chapters, the actress entertains, recalling the couple's relationships with luminaries in the theater and films, valued companions and a few troublemakers. She can be caustic, noting the failings in modern stage, film and TV productions. In her 90th year, however, Hayes is still hopeful for a better world, retired professionally but active in humanitarian causes. (Apr.) (c) Copyright PWxyz, LLC. All rights reserved

Library Journal Review

This full life of "the First Lady of the American theater" is superior to the two-cassette Audio Renaissance condensation (Audio Reviews, LJ 7/91), narrated by Hayes herself. Here Hayes's actor son, James MacArthur, reads with smooth assurance. Her autobiography recounts Hayes's early successes, engineered by a controlling mother and playwright husband, Charles MacArthur. Her eventful saga covers most of this century, touching on luminaries like Joan Crawford ("mommie dearest" was "cruel" to her children) and directors John Ford (irresponsible when deprived of alcohol) and Elia Kazan ("unprofessional" in collecting his salary after deserting one play). She relates with candor and wit how she landed renowned parts like Queen Victoria and strove for excellence. Recommended for all theater and biography collections.√ĄGordon Blackwell, Eastchester, NY (c) Copyright 2010. Library Journals LLC, a wholly owned subsidiary of Media Source, Inc. No redistribution permitted.