Helen Hayes - Updated Dec 2023

Updated On October 8, 2023
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Helen Hayes

Helen Hayes was an actress from the United States. Moreover, Helen Hayes is best known for her portrayal of Queen Victoria and other regal ladies in stage plays.

Early Life

Helen Hayes MacArthur best known as Helen Hayes was born on the 10th of 1900, in Washington, D.C., the United States of America. She died at the age of 92 and was an American by nationality.

She had a birth sign of Libra and belongs to the Irish-American ethnicity. Moreover, she was the daughter of Francis Van Arnum Brown (father) and Catherine Estelle Hayes (mother). Professionally, her father was a poultry and pork salesman and her mother was an actress.


Talking about her academic career, she attended a prestigious primary school run by the ‘Dominican Academy’ from 1910 to 1912. When she was eight years old, she began attending the “Sacred Heart Academy” in Washington, where she eventually earned her degree in 1917.

During this time, Lew Fields cast Helen in the lead part of Victor Herbert’s staging of “Old Dutch” at the “Herald Square Theater.”


On 17 March 1993, she died at the age of 92 due to heart failure in the Nyack Hospital in New York.

Relationship Status

Helen married twice in her life. Firstly, she married John Swanson in 1926. But, after two years of marital relationship, the couple divorced in 1928.

Later, she married Charlie MacArthur in the same year. With marriage,e the couple has a daughter whose name is Marry and later adopted a son named, James.

Helen Hayes

Caption: Helen Hayes with her husband, Charlie MacArthur (Source: Digital Commonwealth)

She was frequently admitted to the hospital due to her ongoing asthma symptoms. Each year, actors and actresses who show artistic achievement in professional theater are presented with the “Helen Hayes Award.”

Her name was given to the “Fulton Theater,” and when it was torn down, the “Little Theater” was given the new name “Helen Hayes Theater.” In 1974, she received a hospital named after her: Helen Hayes Rehabilitation Hospital.

Professional Career

Early Career

From a young age, Helen began her acting career. When she was barely a child, she made her on-stage appearance in “Midsummer Night’s Dream” at the Holy Cross Academy, a school in Washington.

In the 1920 New York premiere of “Bab,” she received her first leading role and gave the impression that she was the “tallest five-foot woman in the world.

Additionally, between 1923 and 1925, she performed in the plays “We Moderns” and “Caesar and Cleopatra.”  In the 1926 revival of James M. Barrie’s farce “What Every Woman Knows,” she showcased her acting prowess.

Rise to Fame

Her first significant success came in 1927 with the play “Coquette,” in which she portrayed a Southern girl from a wealthy family who committed herself after learning she is pregnant.

She appeared in “The Good Fairy,” “Petticoat Influence,” and the modestly popular “Mr. Gilhooey” in 1930.  Moreover, she appeared in “The Sin of Madelon Claudet,” her first Hollywood movie, in 1931, for which she was nominated for an Academy Award for “Best Actress.”

She appeared in the 1931 films “Arrowsmith” with Ronald Colman, “Farewell to Arms” with Gary Cooper, “The White Sister” with Clark Gable, and “Night Flight” with John Barrymore.

In the 1935 drama “Victoria Regina,” in which she played Queen Victoria from childhood to widowhood, she earned her greatest success. She was able to represent the Queen as she looked to age in the play’s later acts because of her depth as an actor and the makeup artist’s talent.

She had major successes in the films “Mary of Scotland” (1933), in which she portrayed the Scottish Queen, and “Harriet” (1943), in which she portrayed Harriet Beecher Stowe.

Other works

In addition to “Ladies and Gentlemen,” “Twelfth Night,” “Happy Birthday,” “The Wisteria Trees,” “Mrs. McThing,” “The Skin of Our Teeth,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “Time Remembered,” “A Touch of the Poet,” “The School for Scandal,” “Right You Are,” and “We Comrades Three,” “The Show-Off,” and “The Front Page” was among her other plays.

The play “Harvey,” which was recreated in 1970, was her last hit. She appeared in a supporting part in “Airport” in 1971. Additionally, she appeared in the movies “Vanessa, Her Love Story” (1935), “My Son John” (1952), and “Anastasia” (1956).

When Eugene O’Neil’s play “Long Day’s Journey Into Night” was performed in Washington, where she had begun her acting career, she chose to step away from the theater.

She also appeared on television in the 1972 films “The Snoop Sisters,” “Victory at Entebbe,” “A Family Upside Down,” “Murder is Easy,” “A Caribbean Mystery,” and “Murder with Mirrors.”

In 1982, she contributed co-founded the “National Wildflower Research Center.” She spent a lot of time on social work and gave money to many different charities.

Awards and Net Worth

Helen received the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1931. In 1953 and 1969, she received the ‘Sarah Siddons Award.’ In 1971, she received her second Academy Award. She was also given a star on the ‘Hollywood Walk of Fame,’ and inducted into the ‘American Theater Hall of Fame.’

Helen Hayes

Caption: Helen with her Oscar award (Source: Pinterest)

In 1979, she was honored by the ‘Catholic Interracial Council of New York.’ She was awarded the Kennedy Center Honors in 1981, the Presidential Medal of Freedom in 1986, and the National Medal of Arts in 1988.

She got honorary degrees from Smith College, Princeton University, Columbia University, and others.

Helen Hayes – Net Worth

As an actress, Helen has earned a huge sum of money. At the time of her death, her net worth was estimated at around $10 million.

Body Measurements

Helen stands 5 feet 2 inches tall and weighs around 70 kg. Moreover, she has dark brown hair with black eyes and her body measurement measures 32-28-32 inches.

Helen Hayes

Caption: Helen posing for a photo (Source: Geeks On Coffee)

Helen Hayes – Social Media

Helen is no more in this world. However, during her era, there was not a proper development of the internet and social media such as Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.