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The London (Ontario) Free Press (21 June 1984)

"Big day for Grand Bend: Helen Hayes and son a real drawing card"

by Jane Foy

“Big day for Grand Bend. Maybe THE day for Grand Bend.”

That’s how one dazzled spectator reviewed the starring role of legendary actress Helen Hayes and son James MacArthur, of Hawaii Five-O television fame, at the third annual Dave Scatcherd Invitational Golf Classic here Wednesday. A perfect, sunny summer day set the stage for the celebrity crowned charity tournament which also featured Minnesota North Stars’ coach Bill Mahoney and Kitchener native Gary Cowan, two-time winner of the U.S. amateur golf title.

Dozens of star-watchers, as well as the 140 or so male golfers teeing off for the event, moved in uncertain waves -- alternately pressing close and then politely standing back -- around the 83-year-old woman known for almost a half-century as the “first lady of the American theatre.” Despite a gripping cold, the slight five-foot Hayes still commanded the grace and bigger-than-life presence which earned her the honorific title.

MacArthur, 46, moved easily through the crowd, relaxed and openly friendly, smiling and chatting, much to the particular delight of the sportily clad women golfers. Decked out in purple and mauve golf togs, MacArthur happily posed for photographs with one enthused woman after another.

Pat Tutton, of Westland, Mich., called meeting MacArthur “a fantastic adventure.” It wasn’t the first time she’d met the man, unknown to her.

The day before she had been sitting outside her cabin in the Oakwood Inn and Golf Club when a knot of golfers came swishing by. She lightly scolded them for scuffing up the course which had been perfectly preened for the celebrity event. As she was embarrassed to find out the day of the event, one of the men chastised was none other than MacArthur himself.

Kept before the public eye by the demand for Hawaii Five-O reruns, MacArthur, who still lives in Honolulu, described his life since leaving the now defunct show a number of years ago as “footloose and fancy-free.” He travels a lot, recently spending a month in Kuwait doing a documentary on the Arabic country and winning a tennis tournament in Ecuador.

Wednesday, the query on many lips was “why Grand Bend”?

Basically it’s because he’s a friend of Dave Scatcherd, a Londoner who now spends most of the year in Hawaii.

Scatcherd bought the Oakwood club three years ago and started up the charity tournament to raise funds for the Scatcherd Children’s Centre in London -- a school for the mentally handicapped founded by the Scatcherd family. The aim this year was to raise $15,000 for computer equipment for the centre.

MacArthur accepted an invitation to the tournament and, in turn, sparked long-held plans by Hayes to travel across Canada by rail. After a 12-day Theatre Guild cruise around Alaska, mother and son hopped Via Rail in Vancouver, disembarked in Toronto and motored to Grand Bend.

“It just worked out,” said MacArthur.

It was also a chance for an obviously adoring mother and son who live a continent and half an ocean apart to be together. Hayes, who still lives in the family home at Nyack, N.Y., took a mother’s interest in MacArthur’s golf game.

“OK, good luck,” she said as she kissed him. “I’m wearing all my charms.”

MacArthur teed off well before the clubhouse gallery and joked: “Mom, you’ve seen a miracle. I got it on the green.”

James MacArthur, Helen Hayes

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