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TV Fan (February 1956)

He was adopted by a renowned playwright and a famous actress, and with this heritage ... He Came Through With Talent

Only rarely do the offspring of talented parents come anywhere near matching the standards their parents have set. When they do, there is great rejoicing and cries of ‘talent will out.’ When Jimmy MacArthur, the 17-year-old adopted son of Helen Hayes and playwright Charles MacArthur, made his splendid TV debut on Climax, the huzzahs started. But how could he have missed, is the question many people asked. In reality, he could have missed miserably if it had not been for the wonderful guidance and coaching his mother gave him. Too often famous theatrical personalities are so wrapped up in their own glory that they unwittingly tend to stifle any talent their children may have. Not so with Helen Hayes. She did everything she could to encourage her son and, instead of giving him the feeling that he could never hope to be as good as she is, gave him the benefit of her years in the theater. Jimmy’s only previous work had been bit parts in radio, small roles in summer stock and work in school plays. The job he did as the boy who suffers from the lack of a normal father-and-son relationship in the Climax production of Deal A Blow showed more than promise. It showed a young man who was already at home on the stage, capable of giving an intelligent and perceptive interpretation of a difficult role. Edward Arnold, who worked with him on the TV drama, was delighted with the boy. “During my years on the stage and in movies, radio and TV,” he said, “I’ve appeared in many gangster roles with many so-called ‘tough’ youngsters, so I feel quite qualified to say that he did a magnificent job and has an excellent future in the theater if he puts his mind to it.” No one was more excited over Jimmy’s triumph than his mother. Playing in The Skin of Our Teeth at the time the show was broadcast, she would dash to the TV set in her dressing room as soon as she had a few minutes off stage. Later she saw the entire show over a television recording. Talk about proud mothers! Helen Hayes still hasn’t stopped saying how proud she is to be Jimmy MacArthur’s mother.

James MacArthur

Macdonald Carey, Margaret Hayes, James MacArthur

Charles MacArthur, Helen Hayes

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