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Life Magazine (April 1957)

"In A Star's Steps"

By Edward Boyd

Helen Hayes's son makes his debut in the movies

As he grew up, James MacArthur lived and breathed the drama. His mother is Helen Hayes, a great actress, and his father was the late Charles MacArthur, the famous playwright. As a schoolboy James had backstage jobs in summer stock and bit parts. But he never showed himself an actor. Now, as the hero of a new film called The Young Stranger, he proves he is.

Young MacArthur first played the part -- a headstrong boy at odds with his world -- on television and did well. In the movies, playing with sensitivity and deep understanding, he is first rate. The whole movie is a triumph for youth. The author, Robert Dozier, the director, John Frankenheimer, and the producer, Stuart Millar, are in their 20s and James MacArthur is 19.

In impromptu horseplay while making [the] lawn mowing scene in the film, young MacArthur and Jeff Silver, playing his friend, fell into riotous roughhouse that went far beyond action called for in [the] script. Watching them the director found action so in tune with [the] mood of the movie that he shot it.

Right now, James MacArthur is a freshman at Harvard College. The Young Stranger was made last summer after he graduated from prep school. It was the best summer job he ever had. The year before he had made $10 a week as a theater odd-job boy. As an actor in Hollywood he made $1,000 a week and his RKO contract calls for up to four more pictures to be made between school terms. But he still is not sure that he wants to be an actor. He is going to finish his college courses and serve his time in the Armed Forces before he decides.

James MacArthur

Helen Hayes, James MacArthur

James MacArthur

Jeff Silver, James MacArthur

James MacArthur, Jeff Silver

Kim Hunter, James MacArthur

James MacArthur

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