An actress in over 80 Broadway productions, Helen Hayes (1900-1993) was called the "First Lady of the American Theatre." Born in Washington, D.C., she began acting at age five.
"The hardest years in life are those between ten and seventy," Hayes reflected at age 73.
Mother to actor James MacArthur, she won three Oscars (1931,1932,1970), a Grammy (1977), three Tony Awards (1947,1958,1980), and an Emmy (1952) in her illustrious 80-year career.
About her popularity, she explained: "I was once the typical daughter, then the recognizable wife, and then the quintessential mother. I seem always to have reminded people of someone in their family. Perhaps I am just the triumph of Plain Jane."
The actress gathered acclaim in the lead role of Queen Victoria in Victoria Regina (1935). Hayes dazzled audiences in 969 performances, aging over 50 years each night, from youth, to maturity, and finally old age. First Lady Eleanor Roosevelt, who saw the play three times, said that she "could not stop clapping."
Hayes was a truly wise woman who said, "From your parents you learn love and laughter and how to put one foot before the other. But when books are opened you discover you have wings."
The recipient of over fifty honorary degrees, Hayes explained her passion for acting: "The theatre became my school, my university, the key to my life. It still is. It keeps me in constant communication with the world. It fortifies me."
Reach and achieve. Success will follow.