Hayward, Susan (1918-1975)

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Hayward, Susan (1918-1975)

After some years of apprenticeship, stardom and the first of five Oscar nominations came to former photographer's model Susan Hayward with Smash-Up—The Story of a Woman (1947). From then on the gifted, husky-voiced, and ravishing redhead, despite playing a range of parts that included sultry temptresses, rich bitches, and intrepid heroines, became uniquely identified with suffering, both harrowing and poignant but always gutsy. A huge box-office draw during the 1950s, she won hearts portraying singer Jane Froman who was crippled in an air crash, was superb as singer Lilian Roth suffering from alcoholism in I'll Cry Tomorrow (1956), won her Academy Award for I Want to Live (1958) in which she went to the gas chamber, and was the natural choice to star in the remakes of Back Street (1961) and Dark Victory (retitled Stolen Hours, 1963). Born Edythe Marrener in Brooklyn, New York, she suffered much off-screen, too—a stormy marriage, custody battles, and a suicide attempt before dying of a brain tumor at the age of 56.

—Robyn Karney

Further Reading:

Linet, Beverly. Portrait of a Survivor: Susan Hayward. New York, Atheneum, 1980.

Shipman, David. The Great Movie Stars: The International Years. London, Angus & Robertson, 1980.

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Hayward, Susan (1918-1975)

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