Facts about Susan Hayward
Susan Hayward Biography
Susan Hayward was a Hollywood movie star who was Oscar nominated five times, winning her best actress award for the 1958 drama I Want to Live.
A fierce redhead who reached her box office peak in the 1950s, she was modeling in New York when she answered the call to audition for Gone With the Wind in 1937. The part went to Vivien Leigh, but Hayward ended up getting a studio contract and spent much of the 1940s appearing in small film roles. By the end of the decade, however, she proved her dramatic chops and got her first Oscar nomination, for Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman (1947).
During the 1950s, Hayward seemed to specialize in playing long-suffering women struggling to overcome adversity. She was nominated for Oscars for My Foolish Heart (1949), With a Song in My Heart (1952) and I’ll Cry Tomorrow (1955) before finally winning the Academy Award as best actress for I Want to Live.
At the same time, she was stuck in what the tabloids called a “turbulent” marriage. Her 1954 divorce battle with first husband Jess Barker led to a 1955 suicide attempt while still filming I’ll Cry Tomorrow, but she kept working and eventually remarried, to Georgia businessman and rancher Floyd Eaton Chalkley (from 1957 until his death in 1966).
Susan Hayward was diagnosed with multiple brain tumors in 1973 — some say as a result of filming The Conqueror (1956, starring John Wayne as Genghis Khan) near a nuclear test site in Utah — and died in 1975.
Her other films included David and Bathsheba (1951), The Lusty Men (1952), Woman Obsessed (1959) and Valley of the Dolls (1967).
Susan Hayward and first husband Jess Barker were married in 1944. They had twin sons, Gregory and Timothy, born in 1945.
Something in Common with Susan Hayward
- Actors born in New York (198)
4 Good Links
- Not an official site, but a detailed page from a fan
- Her 1975 obituary from The Los Angeles Times
- Long 1985 look back at her 1955 suicide attempt
- Her online "memorial," with photos and notes