Brooke Hayward

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Brooke Hayward
Groucho Marx Brooke Hayward General Electric Theater 1961.jpg
Hayward and Groucho Marx in the General Electric Theater presentation of "The Hold Out", 1961
Born (1937-07-05) July 5, 1937 (age 80)
Los Angeles, California, U.S.
Other names Brooke Hayward Duchin
Alma mater Vassar College
Occupation Actress, writer
Years active 1961–1993
Spouse(s) Michael M. Thomas (m. 1956; div. 1960)
Dennis Hopper (m. 1961; div. 1969)
Peter Duchin (m. 1985; div. 2011)
Children 3
Parent(s) Leland Hayward
Margaret Sullavan

Brooke Hayward (born July 5, 1937) is an American stage, film and television actress.

Early life and family[edit]

Born in Los Angeles, Hayward is the eldest of three children born to agent turned film, television, and stage producer Leland Hayward and actress Margaret Sullavan. Brooke Hayward is a great-granddaughter of Monroe Hayward, former U. S. Senator from Nebraska, and the granddaughter of Colonel William Hayward, who led the United States' 369th Infantry Regiment, aka the "Harlem Hellfighters", the first regiment composed entirely of African-American soldiers during the First World War.[1] She is also a descendant of Mayflower passenger William White, and pilgrim Robert Coe.[2] Hayward had a younger sister Bridget (born in 1939) and a brother William "Bill" (born in 1941).[3]

When Hayward was 7 years old, the family moved to a farm in Brookfield, Connecticut.[4] Hayward's parents divorced in April 1948.[5] The following year, Hayward's father married Nancy "Slim" Hawks (later known as Slim Keith).[6] After his divorce from Slim Hawks, Leland Hayward married Pamela Harriman.[7] Her mother married importer and producer Kenneth Wagg in 1950.[3] Margaret Sullavan died of an accidental drug overdose on January 1, 1960.[8][9] Nine months later, on October 17, 1960, Hayward's younger sister Bridget was found dead of a drug overdose in her New York City apartment. Bridget left what was described as an "incoherent note", the contents of which were never made public.[10] Her death was ruled a suicide.[11] Hayward's brother Bill would also commit suicide by gunshot on March 9, 2008.[12]

Hayward attended Vassar College and studied acting with Lee Strasberg at the Actors Studio.[13]


In May 1961, Hayward made her Broadway debut in the stage production of Mandingo opposite her future husband Dennis Hopper. She made her film debut that same year in Burt Balaban's Mad Dog Coll. She made a memorable performance in the Twilight Zone episode "The Masks" in March 1964. Also, she played a seaship captain's daughter in one Bonanza episode. Over the next 30 years, Hayward appeared in a handful of screen roles.

In 1977, Hayward wrote Haywire, a childhood memoir that expounded on her family, the mental breakdowns of her mother and sister, and her own personal demons.[14] Her last screen appearance was in a small role in John Guare's 1993 film adaptation of Six Degrees of Separation, with Stockard Channing, Donald Sutherland, and Will Smith.

Personal life[edit]

Hayward was married to Michael M. Thomas from July 1956 until their July 1960 divorce; they had two sons. Hayward met actor Dennis Hopper while studying at the Actors Studio. They were married in August 1961. They had a daughter, Marin Brooke Hopper, in June 1962 and divorced in 1969.

In 1981, Hayward began living with Peter Duchin. They were married in 1985 and separated in 2008.[15] They divorced in 2011. She divides her time between her loft in Manhattan and her country house in Litchfield County, Connecticut.

Further reading[edit]


  1. ^ Hayward, Brooke (1977). Haywire. New York: Alfred A. Knopf. pp. 99–101. ISBN 0-394-49325-7. 
  2. ^ Gardner Bartlett, Joseph (1911). Robert Coe, Puritan: His Ancestors and Descendants, 1340-1910, with Notices of Other Coe Families. p. 397. 
  3. ^ a b "Theater World Mourns Actress Margaret Sullavan". Sunday Herald. January 3, 1960. p. C-7. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  4. ^ Hayward 1977 p.112
  5. ^ "Margaret Sullavan Granted Divorce". Daytona Beach Morning Journal. April 20, 1948. p. 11. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  6. ^ "Nancy Hawks Wed To Play Producer". Toledo Blade. June 11, 1949. p. 3. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  7. ^ Berger, Marilyn (February 6, 1997). "Pamela Harriman is Dead at 76". The New York Times. New York Times. Retrieved March 23, 2010. 
  8. ^ "Margaret Sullavan Dies; Pills Blamed". The Times-News. January 2, 1960. p. 1. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  9. ^ "Final Services Held For Margaret Sullavan". Ocala Star-Banner. January 5, 1960. p. 12. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  10. ^ "Star's Daughter Dead in Gotham". The Victoria Advocate. October 19, 1960. p. 5. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  11. ^ Klemesrud, Judy (April 6, 1977). "'Haywire' - Or What It's Like With Everything And Nothing". Ocala Star-Banner. p. 10-B. Retrieved March 23, 2014. 
  12. ^ "William Hayward. Film and Television Producer, Dies at 66". The New York Times. March 22, 2008. 
  13. ^ Silvester, Christopher, ed. (2007). The Grove Book of Hollywood. Grove Press. p. 308. ISBN 0-802-19549-0. 
  14. ^ DiGiacomo, Frank; Traister, Rebecca; Hancock, Noelle; Grossman, Anna Jane; Wolfe, Alexandra (December 15, 2002). "Her Own Funeral". Retrieved January 17, 2010. 
  15. ^ Smith, Liz (September 7, 2008). "Sad Marital Split". Retrieved January 17, 2010. 

External links[edit]