Hayward, Susan, 1917-1975

Alternative names
Birth 1917-06-30
Death 1975-03-14

Biographical notes:

Born on June 30, 1918 as Edythe Marrenner, Susan Hayward grew up in Brooklyn, New York. Her parents were Ellen Pearson and Walter Marrenner, and her maternal grandparents emigrated from Sweden. Hayward graduated high school intending to become a secretary, but soon began modeling in New York City. In 1937, she went to Hollywood to audition for the role of Scarlett O'Hara in Gone with the Wind, a part she lost to Vivien Leigh. According to her management, the name Susan Hayward was chosen because it was "as close to Rita Hayworth as we can get away with."

For two years, Hayward landed bit parts in various films until her big break in 1939's Beau Geste. She soon became one of Hollywood's biggest stars of the 1940s and 1950s, earning five Academy Award nominations along the way. Her only win was in 1959 for I Want to Live!, based on the true story of the murderer Barbara Graham. Even after her marriage to Eaton Chalkley and the subsequent move from Hollywood to Carrollton, Georgia, she continued to act through the 1960s. Her last role was in the 1972 made-for-TV movie Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole.

On July 24, 1944, she married actor Jess Barker, and they had twin sons (Timothy and Gregory) before their divorce ten years later. In December 1955, she met Eaton Chalkley at the Christmas party of a mutual friend, Vincent X. Flaherty. They began seeing each other soon after, and on February 8, 1957, they eloped and moved to his home in Carrollton, Georgia. When he died on January 9, 1966, Hayward decided she did not want to live in their house without him and moved to Florida. The last few years of her life were spent in Hollywood battling brain cancer, supposedly a result of exposure to radiation while filming The Conqueror in Utah in 1955. She died on March 14, 1975. Susan Hayward is buried beside Eaton Chalkley at Our Lady of Perpetual Help, the Catholic Church they founded in Carrollton.

From the description of Susan Hayward, 1918-1975. ca. 1959-1986. (University of West Georgia). WorldCat record id: 276305308


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  • Motion picture actors and actresses--Biography


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  • Carroll County (Ga.) (as recorded)
  • Carrollton (Ga.) (as recorded)
  • United States (as recorded)