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TV News (27 December 1975)

"Helen Hayes chats about her son, James MacArthur, of Hawaii Five-O"

What better way finally to retire from performing than to make it a family affair -- and on one of your favorite television programs, to boot?

Helen Hayes appeared with her son, James MacArthur, on Hawaii Five-O on a recent episode on CBS, which is likely to be repeated later this season, and claims it is the last public appearance she will make.

“I don’t like to work anymore,” she says. “I’ve worked all my life and I retired from the stage some time ago. Now I’m going to retire from films, too. In fact, I can’t think of a better way to do it than to have appeared with my son in my last public appearance.”

Thinking back over their respective careers, Miss Hayes remembered both a difficult and easy time at the start of son’s acting abilities.

“Charlie and I didn’t really encourage Jim, but then we didn’t discourage him either. He was surrounded by theatrical activity in the house all the time and his first opportunity came when John Frankenheimer wanted him for a role in The Young Stranger’ when it was first done on television. He did it and went on to do the film version.

“Then he started doing film work in the summer, and Walt Disney used him in things, and he found that doing that and then running home and going to Harvard was getting to be too much. So we had one of those late-hour talks and he decided to quit school. His father had just died and my big concern was not that he think twice about hanging a diploma on the wall, but I didn’t want him to walk away from his first big battle. He took a leave of absence, but I knew in my heart that he wouldn’t go back.”Miss Hayes says the only thing that kept them from doing a lot of work together over the years is that each had separate commitments.“Walt Disney was a good family friend and asked that I appear with Jim, as his mother, in Light in the Forest,’ but I had theater to do then and it was impossible. We certainly have been an active family.

“But now I get to play his aunt, and the experience was just a perfect way to cap my career. I think I’ll go pack for Mexico now.”

James MacArthur, Helen Hayes

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