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.