Welcome to the Board, Jace!! :-)
Like you, I found this site only very recently (Nov?)!. I say this with a certain degree of embarrassment that it's only in the last year that I became so aware of Susan Hayward, beyond having seen only a few of her films when I was quite young! Being a Baby Boomer, I should hang my head that, beyond noting that she was a very attractive woman--and I loved her attitude towards the 'bad guys', who didn't toe the line--I did not think further about her. And moving to New York to London from about 1970 to 1982, I may not have even been aware that she had passed away--and under such terribly heart wrenching conditions!
But, not too long ago, my twin and found a $3 book at a corner book sale by Beverly Linet, called "Susan Hayward: Portrait of a Survivor".......and I became so completely engrossed in the difficult, turbulent life she led, fighting her way from childhood poverty, a crippling leg injury, unscrupulous studio heads, who at that time, 'owned' their stars and could determine whether or not she was even SEEN on screen, and then a 10
tumultuous 10 year marriage to Jess Barker--just as her 'star was finally rising'. The one thing she did get from that marriage was beautiful unidentical twin boys, Tim and Greg! (Tim has his own blog, mostly on his passion for trout fishing, but he is also very much the family man and will pop in with beautiful family shots that we can take a look at, and to occasionally answer questions! )
At any any rate, I may be a 'late bloomer', but once I began to rent and buy Susan's films, I became fascinated by the way she took her work so seriously--and, and mostly self-taught, actress who was more believable to me on the screen than any other actress In her field. As she matured. she fought for some--and was offered some unforgettable roles, such in "I'll Cry Tomorrow" and "I Want to Live".
After an idyllic ten years with Southerner Eaton Floyd Chaulkley, a businessman from Georgia, their one happy marriage ended with Eaton's succumbing to hepatitis and kidney failure. Almost unhinged by this loss, the second half of Susan's life is both grim and sad to read.
I don't know how much you know about Susan, so if I'm repeating information you are already familiar with, please forgive!
As a 'newcomer' to Susan, I am making up as much time as I can, watching all these films I missed out on! She seemed a very special lady--complex, intelligent, witty and so very caring to those she loved.
If you'd like to tell us a bit about yourself, Jace, please do! I am so excited that you found that autographed photo at an estate sale!! What a find! While I don't know who the autograph was originally written, I wouldn't be surprised if it was something working behind the scenes of one of her movies---cameraman, lighting, props, etc. She was well-known to feel very comfortable and freer --and enjoy her chats amongst these friends she made 'behind the lights'!
So, it's a possibility that the autograph was for someone working on a film from behind the lights. Or, perhaps, a friend down in Georgia!
This Board, though awfully QUIET at the moment (note to Board Members!), does have some wonderful writers on it, who are 'Susanophiles'--going for their Ph.D. in her (just kidding!!!) The one I know best is Trish, (from Wales!), who has spend a lifetime building up over a hundred (I think) albums, which press cuttings, unusual photos and any thing pertaining to Susan. She's made VDs, etc, and, believe me, you can't go wrong asking her about ANYTHING 'Susan'! She may possibly even know more about your autographed photo.
As for people who have met her---you must read Errol's sort-of-sad, but so funny, the way he writes it, tale of meeting Susan. (Oh--and he got to see her in 'Mame'! A real coup!!) Other may write as well. And--Trish actually met Tim's granddaughter, here in New York, and was given a special tour of Susan's home grounds--her neighborhood, the school she attended, etc. She had such a wonderful time, and I when she reads this will hopefully tell you the story. Trish has also been down to Carrollton George and visited the church and burial sit of Eaton and Susan--and you'll notice something rather unusual when you read the headstone--and the small one next to it!
(Kathy--another newcomer here, has just posted her own photos of Carrolton and the small house Susan and Eaton lived in, as the larger one was being built. Please be sure to check those out, too!)
Oh--and Trish also visited the two houses Susan live in--including a peek through one of them.
What's best to do is to read all the Archives, a time visited the Board could be unbelievably busy---and she will learn so much about this beautiful actress---and all the differing opinions on 'favorite films', 'worse co-stars', etc.! I have still not gotten through all of them--I get so caught up in the titles!
Ginger Haydon, the musician who started this Site, has definitely produced the only decent site on Susan--and she deserves an A+++ for her efforts! There are also some lovely links you can go.....and You tube has her composed, haunting "Susan's Song".
You tube is a great source---there are full versions of some of Susan's film, like the excellent "Rawhide", for one, and her best roles in others. And look for Trish's musical/pictorial videos combining so many lovely photos of Susan, her twins, and even--her 'men'!, with beautiful musical backgrounds.
I do hope other members will see your note soon--and join in my welcome to you! It HAS been quiet this winter, but let's hope spring brings out all those 'blossoming' Susan fans again!
Thanks so much for persevering and finding us!! WELCOME from I and all the others, here!
"After an idyllic ten years with Southerner Eaton Floyd Chaulkley, a businessman from Georgia, their one happy marriage ended with Eaton's succumbing to hepatitis and kidney failure. Almost unhinged by this loss, the second half of Susan's life is both grim and sad to read."
Hardly the case...my Mother had a "BROKEN" picker.Eaton was a carbon copy of the same guy she kept choosing - again and again.Eaton's death was precipitated by his inability to cease drinking after being cautioned by more than one doctor to stop.
Trust me, the only time HE ever walked on water was when it was raining in the parking lot...
I am about to e-mail you a response letter at the address I see, below. If it doesn't arrive--I've messed up somewhere or somehow!
I think those of us who admired your mothers'talent also hoped she might find happiness in her personal life; when she remarried and settled in the
South,it seemed that she had found that fulfillment-at least that was what
was reported! I have read that Eaton started to drink excessively after the
death of his son and if he had hepatitis in the past,well,that's a lethal
combination. I had heard that Eddie Albert was once quoted as saying that
he thought your mother was in 'pain' much of her life. As her sons,you and
Greg would know-did she ever find peace-at the end of her life-did her faith
help? Also,did your dad and she ever reconcile their differences?
Hi Jace...and WELCOME to Ginger's wonderful site for Susan~~
I would like to respond to your question on Susan ever doing MADAME X...NO.....
Sorry..that is not correct! I know all of Susan's films and what (whoever it was) is thinking of is the Lana Turner movie...another Ross Hunter production, like Susan's "BACK STREET", which he did for some of 'the great' dramatic actresses of Hollywood in a span of a few years.
The first was JANE WYMAN in "MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION" opposite Rock Hudson. Then others followed..(another one with both these stars..."ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS" and then he did other great tear-jerkers with the best actresses in Hollywood.
Among them..was Susan's "BACK STREET"...Lana Turner's..."MADAME X" opposite John Forsythe and "PORTRAIT IN BLACK" opposite Anthony Quinn. He also started the Doris Day comedies opposite Rock Hudson.."PILLOW TALK" was the first one.
There has been no other film version of MADAME X in those years. You would have to go back to much earlier versions of that story and I think there was only a year or two between Susan's 'BACK STREET' and Lana's 'MADAME X'.
ALSO...TIM...I am glad you have lifted this 'veil' that EATON was suppose to be such a 'great time' in your mother's life. I could see that she was doing as so many people do..and had been drawn to another drunk. We have discussed this, in our private lives...and how hard it is to find the 'right path' and stay on it, because it is so easy to be drawn to these type of people. I for one, never thought Eaton was a 'step up' for her..and I'm sure it was a hard struggle for all of you to deal with.
I try to keep 'personal matters' like this, out of 'chat' on here, because it has to be hard for you to read and..know..that it was not all 'the wonderful golden days' that some might think it was.
I wish you all the best....
Thanks Errol. I knew that Madame X was a Ross Hunter production like Back Street and figured that whoever posted the question simply had it confused with the Turner version.
Thanks all for the welcome. Looking forward to going home and watching "I'll Cry Tomorrow". Such a great film.
Ahhh - "I'LL CRY TOMORROW" - my favourite of all Susan's films. Enjoy. She was so incredible in that film and cheated out of the Oscar!
Welcome to this wonderful site Ginger has created and we hope to see more of
you in the future.
I agree with both of you..that "I'LL CRY TOMORROW" was Susan's finest film and that she was 'cheated' out of the Oscar that year. In fact, for months before the awards, she was the front runner in all the news coming out of Hollywood. She took on a big challenge in doing her own singing and did it very well. Her work opposite Jo Van Fleet, was electrifying..and I found it odd that Van Fleet was nominated for supporting actress that year...(and won)...but not for this film. She won for "EAST OF EDEN", which was a much smaller role and..to me...not as good as the work she did opposite Susan in "TOMORROW"...I sometimes wonder if it was not for "Eden"..but for her 'body of work' that year. As Susan's mother, she was overwhelming in this, truly great dramatic film.
I also wanted to mention something on "BACK STREET"...that the Producers of that film are both ROSS HUNTER..and..CARROLLTON INC...which I always wondered 'if' Susan and Eaton were, maybe, the 'second part' of the producing of this film, since they were from Carrollton, Ga. (I just re-checked the spelling of this and it is Carrollton).
Each time I have watched this film, I have wondered if they were 'part-producers' of this film, but have had no way of finding out if that was true.
Susan's version of this film, is sooo much better than the earlier version starring IRENE DUNNE, (who all the critics hail as being such a great film). Not to me..and not just because it was Susan in the second version. The whole story was told so much better in the Susan version..and so was the acting..by one and all. Both Vera Miles and John Gavin were so much better in the Susan version.
To me..it is the same thing with Susan's "STOLEN HOURS"..vs..Bette Davis' "DARK VICTORY". The remake, with Susan, was a much better telling of the story and though it may have not had the 'big-cast' co-stars that "Victory" had, it was a more touching version and Susan played the woman, who was dying, as a 'person'...not just another "Bette Davis..playing Bette Davis" performance.
CRITICS...are still..only 'one person's opinion', when you get right down to it, so no matter what they might say, it is the 'movie going public' who go and pay the tickets and should always make up their own minds as to whether a film is good or bad..and in the long run, "BACK STREET" was really a big winner with the movie going public!! It made a lot of money for being a 'downer' by the critics.
I think the last time I counted..I have seen "BACK STREET" 22 times and never tire of seeing it. I saw "DARK VICTORY"...twice...
Hi Jace...Since you are a devoted fan of Susan's...it sure would be nice if you joined us on these 'discussions'. I know, having Susan as your favorite actress, you could add to our conversations..and we would love to have your 'in-put'...
All My Best to You...Errol...