|MEMORIES OF SUSAN HAYWARD
I once met Susan when I was employed at the Academy between 1973-76 (no prestige job, just an errand boy). Word quickly spread through the building that Susan had come with a nurse to see "Papillion" in the Academy Theater. I knew it might be the only time I'd ever see her. While the nurse was in the ladies room, Susan sat in a chair near the entrance. I casually walked over and inquired why they hadn't stayed for the whole movie. She was wearing dark glasses, a blonde wig and looked very frail, some obvious cracks in her very pale lips. But that smokey, distinct voice I'd heard many times since my childhood hadn't changed, and she was actually speaking to me! If I recall the 30-second conversation, she said the Steve McQueen movie was too violent to continue to watch. Unfortunately, the nurse took her arm and they left. I watched her all the way to the sidewalk. She never faltered in her all-so-distinct way of walking. At that year's Academy Awards, I was standing on the sidelines at the Dorothy Chandler Pavillion about 30 feet from the stage when Susan was carefully led out by her "President's Lady" co-star, Charlton Heston. This was to be her final public appearance. She died the following March.
No one, in my opinion, can even come close to the fireball that was Susan Hayward. It was her acting ability combined with her peaches and cream beauty. Maybe Kate Hepburn and Bette Davis are remembered for their many great performances, but neither had the sensual depth of Hayward. My favorite Hayward movie is "I'll Cry Tomorrow."
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