Helen Hayes
October 10, 1900 - March 17, 1993

Helen Hayes Brown was born October 10, 1900 in Washington, D.C. Helen's mother Essie was an aspiring actress who loved the excitement of the theater and being on the road. Her father enjoyed the quiet life of being home with his family. Helen went to the Holy Cross Academy and started to work as a child actress on Broadway when she was eight years old.

When Helen was seventeen she was selected to be the lead actress in the play Pollyanna. Audiences were very moved by Helen's performance and realized that Helen was a great actress. She played many other roles on Broadway and was often called the "great Miss Hayes."

In 1924 Helen was introduced to Charlie MacArthur, a Chicago journalist and playwright. Helen married Charlie even though some people thought she was too quiet and shy for the outgoing Charlie, but those people were wrong. Charlie and Helen had a baby girl they named Mary and adopted their son James in 1939. Charlie and Helen were happily married until Charlie's death in 1956.

In 1931 Helen also began acting in movies. People liked her on film as much as they liked her on the stage. She won the Academy Award for Best Actress for her role in the movie Madelon and became the first stage actress to win an Oscar.

Helen was happy with her life as an actress, wife, and mother. Unfortunately, Helen's daughter died in 1949 at the age of sixteen. Charlie and Helen were very sad and handled their grief in different ways. Charlie drank heavily, while Helen chose to fight the disease that had killed her dear daughter by raising funds for research to cure polio. Jonas Salk, the man who discovered the cure for polio often said that Helen's fundraising was very helpful in establishing funding for the polio vaccine. Helen suffered another loss when her husband died seven years later.

This time Helen handled her grief with hard work. She worked in theater until 1971 when she took an acting role for the movie Airport. That role helped Helen win her second Academy Award and she became the first actress to win an Oscar nominee for Best Actress and Best Supporting Actress. Helen also starred in several TV movies and wrote books. She stayed very active up until her death in 1993. People still remember Helen for her kindness and charity, as well as her work ethic and talent as a great American actress.

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