Susan Hayward/Biography/Page 6
Susan's Final Days
Susan was not to make any more films. By 1972, She was complaining of dibilitating headaches and fatigue. Her diagnosis was shocking. She was
suffering from advanced lung and brain cancer, and the nightmares of seizures and chemotherapy began.
Two years later, in 1974, Susan was invited by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences to present the Best Actress Award. Susan was determined not to
disappoint her fans. Her doctor gave her a shot of dilantin so that she could get out on stage without a seizure. Designer Nolan Miller designed a spectacular green-sequined gown to hide her emaciated body. She looked glorious. She was every inch the movie star. She looked beautiful, and no one would have ever imagined what an effort she was making. However, shortly after reaching her waiting limosine,
she suffered a seizure. While Susan still had the strength, she refused to accept defeat and bravely fought the pain so that she could make each day count.
Within months, Susan was receiving only her closest friends. On March 14, at the age of 57, Susan Hayward lost her battle with cancer. At her request she was
buried alongside her husband. Her tombstone simply reads, "Mrs. F. E. Chalkley".
Susan's body was flown back to Atlanta and taken to the Almon Funeral Home in Carrolton, where she was dressed for the last time in the beautiful green-sequined gown she had worn at her last public appearance. The service was conducted at Our Lady of Perpetual Help Catholic Church on Sunday, March 16. She was buried next to her husband.
"With a steely determination, the bombshell from Brooklyn had risen above the poverty and shame of her childhood to become an Academy Award winning actress. Along the way, she pulled no punches, and in a career that expanded over 30 years, she created a gallery of memorable characters, that were, like Susan Hayward herself, larger than life......Peter Graves, Biography, A&E Network, December, 1998.
Susan once said in an interview: "I like people who see life not as a burden to be borne, but as an adventure to be faced with gaiety and spirit. God gave us the grace of laughter, why shouldn't we use it?"
One last note: In her final conversation with reporter Robert Osborne
Susan made this statement: "When you're dead, you're dead. Nobody is going to remember me when I'm dead. Oh, maybe a few friends will remember me affectionately."
How wrong she was! So many of us do remember her and because of her films we are foturnate that we can be reminded of her beauty and talent, and millions more who aren't familiar with her can get to know her.
This biography is a mixture of my own words and thoughts, in addtion to excerpts from an article by Walt Trot entitled "Susan Hayward" which appeared in the Volume I, No. 5 edition of the "Yesterday"
publication. "Yesterday" is published by Carmel Enterprises, P.O. Box
23771, Nashville, Tennessee 37202.
Information was also obtained from the presentation of A&E Network's Biography of Susan Hayward, which aired December, 1998......Thank you....Ginger Haydon/ author of the Susan Hayward/Classic Film Star webpage.
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