Susan Hayward /Biography/Page 4  
 
1952-1959  
 

Susan then began working on "The President's Lady" with Charlton Heston.
She played the part of Rachel Jackson, Andrew Jackson's wife. She went from a very young girl to an old woman dying. She was fantastic in the part; however, for some unknown reason, she was not nominated for an Oscar for this one.

"White Witch Doctor" with Robert Mitchum came in 1953. Then "Demetrius and the Gladiators" with Victor Mature and "Garden Of Evil" with Gary Cooper. In 1953 Gary Cooper was Number One at the Box Office and Susan was Number Nine.

Meanwhile, Susan's marriage to Jess Barker was falling apart. Susan's divorce was finalized on August 18, 1954. In the summer of 1954 Susan began
working on "The Conqueror" with John Wayne and directed by Dick Powell.
It turned out to be a huge flop. Also there has been much speculation surrounding the film. It was "shot" in Utah amidst the area of atomic testing.
Over the years many of the cast and crew of the film died of cancer--Susan,
Dick Powell, Agnes Moorhead, John Wayne and others. There has never
been any concrete evidence to link the cancer with the atomic testing.

 
After Susan's divorce, she began work on "The Untamed" with Tyrone Power.

Susan then began filming "Soldier of Fortune" with Clark Gable. (Clark had originally wanted Grace Kelly to be his co-star). This was Susan's last film under the 20th Century Film contract.

The following spring Susan began work on "I'll Cry Tomorrow". This was Susan's favorite film. She portrayed the life story of Lillian Roth, stage and screen star, who had fallen into the abyss of alcoholisim.

During the filming of  "I'll Cry Tomorrow", Susan reportedly became extremely depressed over her broken marriage and took an overdose of sleeping pills.
She called her mother just before she drifted off to sleep and said "Don't worry, mother, you'll be taken care of". Her mother, frantic, called the police, and Susan received the immediate help and attention she needed. 

After a brief hospitalization, Susan returned to finish the filming of "I'll Cry Tomorrow". She received her fourth Oscar nomination for this film. Susan did, however, win the best actress award for the film in 1956, from the Cannes Film
Festival Jury. 

At a Christmas Party in 1955, Susan met Eaton Chalkey, a successful Georgia lawyer and businessman, and in August 1956, Susan became an independent for the first time in her career. She negotiated a $1 million a movie deal with 20th for six movies, with her salary to be spread over a twenty-year period. At this time she was also working on "Top Secret Affair" with Kirk Douglas. They both had replaced Lauren Bacall and Humphrey Bogart. Bogart was dying of cancer.

On February 8, 1957, Susan married Eaton Chalkley in Phoenix, Arizona. They honeymooned in New Orleans and settled in a 75-year old red-painted farmhouse on his 300 acres at 320 Sunset Boulevard. Susan said, "He's the first man I've met that I feel I can completely rely on, and who makes me feel secure." 

In the fall of 1957, Walter Wanger convinced her to take on the role of Barbara Graham, a B-girl who had been convicted in the robbery-murder of a Burbank,California widow. "Walter knew I loved meaty, unusual roles," Hayward later recalled. "I said 'Yes' without reading a word of the script."

"I Want To Live" gave Susan her fifth Oscar nomination and this time, Oscar himself. She had chased Oscar for years and had finally caught him. She also won the highly prized New York Film Critics best actress honor. "I Want To Live" was actually a comeback for Susan--landing her on the Top Ten Box Office list once again, but it was to be the last film that Susan made as an actress with superstar status. 

  

  

Susan's biography continued...."1959-1972"  "next"