Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes was known as America’s premier actress and dubbed, “First Lady of the Theatre.” She described herself as an ordinary woman who led an extraordinary life; however, she was far from ordinary. Hayes entered the theatre at age five and at age nine she experienced her first hit on Broadway.

In 1911 she returned to Washington D.C. to resume acting with the Columbia Players and to finish school at the Sacred Heart Convent. Following a long run of Pollyanna from 1916-1918, she began a long and distinguished career.

The first actress to earn the coveted Tony Award, she performed in more than eighty plays and was the first woman to have two successive Broadway theatres bear her name.

Entering the world of motion pictures, Helen Hayes then became the first actress from the stage to win an Academy Award, and the first person to win an Oscar in two categories, Best Actress (The Sin of Madelon Claudet, 1931) and Best Supporting Actress (Airport, 1970).

Her 88 years as an actress spanned theatre, film, radio and television. Considered “a trouper” with grace and good humor, Hayes possessed none of the airs of a temperamental star and became a perennial favorite with audiences. She is one of the few people to have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony Award.

Year Honored: 1973
Birth: 1900 - 1993
Achievements: Arts