Joseph Hayes (author)

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Joseph Hayes (August 2, 1918 – September 11, 2006) was an American playwright, novelist and screenwriter born in Indianapolis, Indiana. When he was thirteen, he entered a Benedictine monastery, staying for two years. After graduating from Arsenal Technical High School in Indianapolis in 1936, he graduated from Indiana University in 1941.

In 1949, he brought "Leaf and Bough" to Broadway. In 1954, he wrote the novel The Desperate Hours, his most successful work, which he brought to Broadway under the same name for which he won the 1955 Tony Award for Best Play. He turned his play into the screenplay for the film version, also in 1955. He won an Edgar Award from the Mystery Writers of America for Best Motion Picture Screenplay for that screenplay in 1956.

In 1962, he wrote his final Broadway play, Calculated Risk, and with his wife, Marrijane Hayes, co-wrote the screenplay for the Walt Disney movie Bon Voyage!.

Among his other novels are Ways of Darkness, No Escape, Winner's Circle, Island on Fire, Missing...and Presumed Dead, The Long Dark Night, Like Any Other Fugitive, The Deep End, The Third Day, Don't Go Away Mad, and The Hours After Midnight.

Hayes died of Alzheimer's disease in 2006. Survivors included three sons, ten grandchildren, and eleven great-grandchildren.


  • Obituary, New York Times, September 20, 2006, by Campbell Robertson
  • 10 Classic Mystery and Suspense Plays of the Modern Theatre, edited by Stanley Richards (1973)