My Life in Three Acts

Helen Hayes, Author, Katherine Hatch, With
Helen Hayes, Author, Katherine Hatch, With Houghton Mifflin Harcourt P $19.95 (266p) ISBN 978-0-15-163695-2
Reviewed on: 03/31/1990
Release date: 04/01/1990
Thanks to freelance writer Hatch's unobtrusive collaboration, Hayes's voice is practically audible in this candid, humorous and deeply moving story. Born with the century in Washington, D.C., Hayes first appeared on stage at age six. The shy and quiet future star's career was managed by her mother until she met roistering, boozy Charles MacArthur, whom she wed in 1928, the year the MacArthur-Ben Hecht play, The Front Page , opened on Broadway. The ``mismatch'' lasted until MacArthur's death in 1956, enduring the starkly described loss of their 19-year-old daughter Mary to polio. In other chapters, the actress entertains, recalling the couple's relationships with luminaries in the theater and films, valued companions and a few troublemakers. She can be caustic, noting the failings in modern stage, film and TV productions. In her 90th year, however, Hayes is still hopeful for a better world, retired professionally but active in humanitarian causes. (Apr.)
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