From the Archives: Susan Hayward Dies; Received Oscar in 1959

Eddie Albert and Susan Hayward in "I'll Cry Tomorrow."

Eddie Albert and Susan Hayward in “I’ll Cry Tomorrow.”

( Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer Pictures)
Times Staff Writer

Susan Hayward, the flame-haired Oscar-winning actress who was in more than 50 motion pictures, died Friday in her Beverly Hills home. She was 57.

Miss Hayward died of a seizure due to a malignant brain tumor. She had been undergoing chemotherapy for 2 1/2 years, according to her physician, Dr. Lee Siegel.

Siegel, who knew the actress for 30 years, said Miss Hayward’s was “a very rare case,” because most persons with her kind of tumor live only six weeks to three months.

“But she had a tremendous desire to live,” Siegel said. “She was a terrific fighter.”


He attributed the duration of her fight against cancer to her fighting spirit, the chemotherapy and her religious faith. Miss Hayward was a Catholic convert.

She won her Academy Award in 1959 for best performance by an actress when she portrayed convicted murderess Barbara Graham in “I Want to Live!”

Oscar nominations also came her way for “Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman” in 1947, “My Foolish Heart” in 1949, “With a Song in My Heart” in 1952 and “I’ll Cry Tomorrow” in 1955.

Born Edythe Marrener in Brooklyn, N.Y., Miss Hayward first gained public attention as a photographers’ model.


In 1939, producer David O. Selznick spotted her picture on a Saturday Evening Post cover.

He invited her to Hollywood to try out for the part of Scarlett O’Hara in “Gone With the Wind.” But Vivien Leigh won the part, and an Oscar for it.

Susan Hayward and Lee Bowman in "Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman."

Susan Hayward and Lee Bowman in “Smash-Up: The Story of a Woman.”

(File photo)

Within a year, however, Miss Hayward was playing the feminine lead in “Beau Geste,” opposite Gary Cooper.


Miss Hayward led a trouble personal life. In 1953, after nine years of marriage, she divorced her first husband, Jess Barker.

Four years later she married attorney Floyd Eaton Chalkley. He died in 1966.

In 1955, at the height of her career, she attempted suicide by taking an overdose of sleeping pills in her Sherman Oaks home.

She left Hollywood—and acting, temporarily—when she married Chalkley in 1957. With Chalkley, a former FBI man turned entrepreneur, Miss Hayward lived in Georgia, Washington, D.C., and Florida.


Miss Hayward returned to Hollywood after Chalkley’s death. She appeared in “Valley of the Dolls” and starred opposite William Holden in “The Revengers.”

Her most recent motion pictures were television pilots for projected series. They were “Heat of Anger,” for CBS, in which she played an attorney, and “Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole,” for ABC, in which she was a doctor.

Miss Hayward leaves twin 30-year-old sons, Timothy Barker, a public relations man in Los Angeles, and Gregory Barker, a veterinarian in Florida.

Funeral arrangements are pending.