Helen Hayes MacArthur (October 10, 1900 – March 17, 1993) was an American actress whose career spanned almost 80 years.
Hayes eventually garnered the nickname “First Lady of the American Theater” and was one of twelve people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award (an EGOT). Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America’s highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts.
The annual Helen Hayes Awards, which have recognized excellence in professional theater in the greater Washington, D.C. area since 1984, are her namesake. In 1955 the former Fulton Theatre on 46th Street in New York City’s Broadway Theater District was renamed the Helen Hayes Theater. When that venue was torn down in 1982, the nearby Little Theater was renamed in her honor.