Some of you may already know this, but I just realized this week-end that Lena Horne and Susan were born on the very same day, June 30, 1917, in Brooklyn, N.Y.....I'm not an astrology fan, but I'm thinking the stars must have been going off the charts!
Lena was born in the Bedford-Stuyvesant neighborhood of Brooklyn, New York City.
I've noticed that, too, Ginger. In fact I wonder what the two women wound up having in common.
Well, we know both were noted for their looks. Both were frustrated by their early careers. Both had two children by their first husbands. Both were married twice. Both were widowed by their second husbands.
Have you ever seen Lena do her version of "I'll Plant My Own Tree?" I know it's on YouTube someplace. It's very interesting.
Lena had an interesting end-of-career, most noteworthy her one-woman Broadway show from the early 1980's "Lena Horne: The Lady and Her Music," and she performed into her 80's, her last CD released (I think) in 2000.
Which makes me wonder what Susan would have done had she been able to stick around for a few extra decades. Before she became ill she was successfully reestablishing her career, on television.
Feature film producers are notoriously unkind to women who have hit a certain age, but I wonder if she would have accepted the occasional character part in a feature film if the part were good enough, a la Bette Davis? Or maybe she would have preferred television, like Barbara Stanwyck?
Maybe she would have tackled the stage again?
Howard, thank you for that research on the two....Lena and Susan...the similarities are uncanny.
I think Susan would have worked a lot more and would have accepted interesting roles if her health hadn't failed her. I believe most of us here feel cheated that she didn't have a chance to live longer and create more. Lena was blessed that she had a long, productive life. Susan's wasn't as long but extremely productive, and I'm so glad we have her films to enjoy, appreciate, and to keep us inspired.
Ginger and Howard:
Yes, there are definitely similarities between Lena Horne and Susan Hayward, except for Lena's longevity and Susan's premature death.
I don't know if Susan would have gone on stage again, considering how difficult it was for her to do "Mame" in Vegas. I think she really preferred doing movies. But there was a good chance she'd have taken a TV series. I look at both "Say Goodbye, Maggie Cole" and "Heat of Anger" from time to time, and both of them might have become a series.
While I enjoyed both TV movies, I liked Susan better as a doctor. Granted she was wonderfully sharp as the experienced, sophisticated attorney to James Stacy's competitive, in-a-rush young attorney. But somehow I liked Susan more as the vulnerable, compassionate doctor.
Plus, since "Heat" was originally scheduled for Barbara Stanwyck, who became ill and couldn't do it, if it had become a series, who knows if Susan would be in the role instead of Barbara? And, obviously, Stacy wouldn't have been in it due to his tragic accident; I can't remember if it was a motorcycle or car, but I think he became a paraplegic.
Besides, I really liked Susan with Darren McGavin as associate physicians in "Cole." I've always liked him, and they clicked, too.
Well, it's all an exercise in futility to ponder which TV series (if either movie became a series) would be better for Susan, or even whether she would -- or could -- have done a series. Heaven knows she left us with plenty of sterling performances in her other movies.
But it is interesting to think about!
Howard and Ginger...You have both covered, well, the fact that there was a lot more for Susan ahead of her, IF...she wanted it..and it seemed, at the time of both tv films, she WAS ready and excited about the tv series
"HEAT OF ANGER" was really dropped, after James Stacy's
horrible accident...BUT...the critics and viewers were all excited that she might do the "Maggie Cole" series.
That, of course, was cut short...because of the cancer that took her life later on.
It is also interesting that BARBARA STANWYCK was the one
who 'suggested' that they get Susan, to replace her on the HEAT OF ANGER tv-film.
WOULD SHE HAVE GONE ON WITH MORE LIVE THEATER?? I seriously doubt it! I feel Susan was pushed in to doing that show, by her friends (the couple that picked her up after the Joey Bishop Show, that night)
I was with them, when they left the studio that night and it is the same couple who were her 'friends' that had pushed so much on the MAME thing...telling her she would have a big chance in getting the movie role, IF..she did the Vegas production.
I saw Susan do MAME in Vegas..and being a professional actor myself, it is no easy task to do what she was doing each night on that stage. It was obvious that she was not given proper training on saving her voice for such a demanding role. I feel the whole situation would NOT be something Susan would have liked to tackle again. She was fine in the role, but I could also tell she was giving 'her all' and must be totally exhausted after each one of those shows.
You're probably all correct. She was reestablishing her career, in television, and there wouldn't be any reason to go back on stage again.
Maybe one of the reasons I wondered about the possibility of Susan trying the stage again was because of another famous redhead, Lucille Ball:
In 1960-61 she appeared in the now-infamous "Wildcat." In April 1961 she collapsed onstage, which meant the play needed to close; because she was never vocally trained for a stage musical she forever after spoke with that raspy foghorn voice, her vocal cords permanently damaged. In short, she thought "Wildcat" nearly killed her.
Still, by the early 1980's she was toying with the idea of trying the stage again. She thought she would have been perfect to play Tallulah Bankhead; another possibility was the part of Apple Annie in a stage production of "Pocketful of Miracles."
Of course, by the early 80's Lucy's TV career was over, her favorite and most reliable co-star Vivian Vance dead by now, a loss from which she never really recuperated. The film version of Mame had been a notorious flop back in 1974, which meant, for her, the movies were no longer a possibility since she could no longer be photographed the way she wanted. She was bored out of her mind, furiously playing backgammon with whomever was willing to play with her to ease the frustration and pain of no longer having the audience she was accustomed to.
So--what the hell---why not try the stage again?
Of course, this was not Susan Hayward's issue. Even though she was now in her mid-fifties she had retained her looks, maturing gracefully and never needing the photographic and near-Hurculean cosmetic artistry Lucy had required at the same age. From everything I have read, Susan was not pleased with what had become of the movie industry by the early 1970's and was not particularly interested in getting back into it full time, although her options probably would have been limited because of her age. And TV was, in essance, a whole new frontier for her since she had very little experience in it. So there would have been no reason to try the stage again, at least anytime soon.
And if she ever DID try the stage again hopefully she would have gotten the vocal training this time! How lucky you are, Errol, to have gotten to see her in Mame and tell us about it!