Helen Hayes

(1900- 1993)

There are some people who never die and that is true of Helen Hayes. Her legacy lives on.

Her establishment of the Mary MacArthur Fund, with the March of Dimes, helped those children who were dying with polio, Helen helped parents through the ordeal. Many children who survived were paralyzed, with no hospital or therapy to help them. These paralyzed children became Helen's next challenge. She convinced the administration of Nyack Hospital to set up a treatment and therapy department for the paralyzed survivors. This hospital was the first in the country to do this and in the 70's it was named, the Helen Hayes MacArthur Hospital.

The joy of her life was her son, James MacArthur. She was proud of his success in the entertainment world. He made her the proud grandmother of three Mary, Charles and James D.

I was privileged as her agent to represent the First Lady of the American Theater for years. An important part of my memories will be devoted to those wonderful years, to the joy, love and respect she generated in all relationships. I was privileged to have been sanctioned by Helen to receive the Living Legacy Award on March 6th. I was told that her last effort before entering the hospital on March 8th was a telegram of congratulations and love.

I hear Helen's resonant voice reciting her favorite Shakespearean sonnet:

Shall I compare thee to a summer's day?
Thou art more lovely and more temperate:
Rough winds do shake the darling buds of May
And summer's lease hath all too short a date:
Sometime too hot the eye of sunshine shines,
And often in his gold complexion dimmed
And every fair from fair sometime declines,
By chance, or nature's changing course, untrimmed;
But thy eternal summer shall not fade,
Nor shall Death brag thou wanderest in his shade,
When in eternal lines to time thou growest
So long as men can breathe, or eyes can see,
So long lives this, and this gives life to thee.