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Helen Hayes

Treading the boards

Fresh and unaffected in youth, plucky in old age, Hayes had universal appeal and undeniable talent, especially on the stage. Not for nothing was she known as the First Lady of the American Theater. In the title roles “Mary of Scotland” and “Victoria Regina” (which ran for three years on Broadway) she reigned supreme in the 1930s, continuing to star on the Great White Way until 1970. Despite an actress Oscar for the 1931 pic “The Sin of Madelon Claudet,” she took a long hiatus from movies (1935-52), but returned triumphantly in grandmaternal parts, especially “Airport” (1970), for which she won a supporting actress Oscar. She is in an exalted club whose members win an Academy Award every time they’re nominated.

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