When I first became aware that I enjoyed watching classic films on The Late, Late Show I've always admired Susan Hayward she always played these gutsy, tough but with the heart of gold characters and she was stunning especially in technicolor. Like Barbara Stanwyck, her cinema little sister, Susan Hayward was always a fighter, and a tough one at that. It was this pugnacious chemistry that gave the pert redhead her dynamic individuality on camera and off. (For some, however, this trademark of inner strength made Hayward's screen interpretations all too predictable, her gestures a bit too familiar.) Robert Wise, who directed Susan in her Academy Award winning performance in, "I Want To Live! (United Artists, 1958), would explain at the time, "In motion pictures, Susan Hayward is as important a figure as Sarah Bernhardt was to the stage. Somewhere within her is a chemical combination that can excite and hold audiences as surely as Garbo and very few other greats of the screen can do. Susan is one of two or three actresses who can hold up a film all by herself." Hayward was an aggressive, exciting battler in everything she attempted and she usually arose the winner. This victor's quality continued to intrigue moviegoers for decades, allowing Susan to rise above her ingenue status of the early 1940's to become a top-office attraction and Academy Award winner in the late 1950s. Susan proved a triumphant champ in almost all arenas. There was something almost majestically gallant about Susan Hayward. A moment comes to mind from Valley Of The Dolls (20th Century-Fox, 1967) in which white-haired veteran star Helen Lawson (Hayward) had her red wig destroyed in a power-room cat fight with Neely O'Hara (Patty Duke). Told she could leave via the kitchen, Lawson took a long, hard look at herself in the mirror and, tying her scarf around her head, said to the room attendant,"No, I'll go out the
way I came in." And she did.