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Julie Haydon

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Julie Haydon
Julie Haydon by Ted Allan 1936.jpg
Haydon in 1936
Donella Donaldson

(1910-06-10)June 10, 1910
DiedDecember 24, 1994(1994-12-24) (aged 84)
Resting placeGate of Heaven Cemetery
Years active1931-1963
Spouse(s)George Jean Nathan
(1955-1958) (his death)[1]

Julie Haydon (born Donella Donaldson, June 10, 1910 – December 24, 1994)[2] was an American Broadway, film and television actress who received second billing as the female lead in the Ben HechtCharles MacArthur 1935 film vehicle for Noël Coward, The Scoundrel. After her Hollywood career ended in 1937, she turned to the theatre, originating the roles of Kitty Duval in The Time of Your Life (1939) and Laura Wingfield in The Glass Menagerie (1945).

Early career and films

Born in the Chicago suburb of Oak Park, to Orin Donaldson, a newspaper publisher, and Ella Horton,[3] Haydon began her acting career when she was 19, touring with Minnie Maddern Fiske in Mrs. Bumstead Leigh. Within two years, she played Ophelia in a production of Hamlet at the Hollywood Playhouse.

Shortly after, she began appearing in films, in 1931. Her first film, in which she was billed under her birth name, was The Great Meadow, a Johnny Mack Brown Western drama made by MGM. In 1932, she signed with RKO,[4] and her first major role came that year in The Conquerors, directed by William Wellman[citation needed] Her most notable performance[4] came in 1935's The Scoundrel playing opposite Noël Coward,[citation needed] but, despite a new contract with MGM,[5] only a few more films were to come in her short career, including A Family Affair (1937), the initial movie in the Andy Hardy series.

Some people, including Haydon,[6] have held that it was Haydon and not Fay Wray who provided the heroine's bone-chilling screams in 1933's King Kong, but this claim is disputed.[7]

Haydon retired from films in 1937.[4]


Haydon (right) in the original Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie (1945)
Haydon (right) in the original Broadway production of The Glass Menagerie (1945)

Haydon debuted on Broadway in 1935[8] in Bright Star by Philip Barry, which ran for only seven performances before closing.[9] Her next Broadway production, Shadow and Substance by Paul Vincent Carroll, in which she played a saintly maid, was more successful, running for nine months in 1938.[10] Next, in 1939, she created the role of the prostitute, Kitty Duval, in William Saroyan's Pulitzer Prize-winning The Time of Your Life.[11] She also starred in the 1942 Broadway production of Saroyan's play Hello Out There. Haydon was the original Laura Wingfield in the first production of Tennessee Williams' The Glass Menagerie in 1945.[12] Her final appearance on Broadway came in 1947's Our Lan'.[13]


Beginning in 1949, Haydon began making appearances on television. She performed in episodes of Kraft Television Theater (1949), Armstrong Circle Theater (1950), The United States Steel Hour (1954), and Robert Montgomery Presents (1954).[citation needed]

Later career

In 1955, at the age of 45, Haydon married 73-year-old drama critic George Jean Nathan who died three years later. She never remarried and worked as a drama coach as well as appearing onstage in community theater and college productions. She delivered lectures taken from books written by Nathan, two collections of which Haydon edited. She also wrote occasional magazine articles about the actors she had worked with in her career.[4]

Haydon recorded two albums for Folkways Records in the early 1960s, George Jean Nathan's The New American Credo (1962) and Colette's Music Hall (L'Envers du Music-Hall): By Colette (1963).

In 1962, the actress left New York City and returned to the Midwest. For a decade, she was actress in residence at the College of St. Teresa in Winona, Minnesota. She played the role of Amanda Wingfield in revivals of The Glass Menagerie, and in 1980, returned to New York to perform the role off-off-Broadway.

The grave of Julie Haydon in Gate of Heaven Cemetery
The grave of Julie Haydon in Gate of Heaven Cemetery


Julie Haydon died on December 24, 1994 in La Crosse, Wisconsin of abdominal cancer, aged 84.[2] She was buried next to her husband in the Cemetery of the Gate of Heaven in Hawthorne, New York.

The Nathan-Haydon papers were donated to the La Crosse Public Library archives.


Year Title Role Notes
1931 The Great Meadow Pioneer Mother Uncredited
1932 The Beast of the City Blonde in Police Lineup Uncredited
1932 Symphony of Six Million Miss Grey - Felix's Nurse-Receptionist
1932 The Roadhouse Murder Maid Uncredited
1932 Westward Passage Bridesmaid Uncredited
1932 Thirteen Women Mary (scenes deleted)
1932 Come on Danger! Joan Stanton
1932 A Bill of Divorcement Party Guest Uncredited
1932 The Conquerors Frances Standish Lennox
1933 Lucky Devils Doris Jones
1933 Scarlet River Julie Haydon Uncredited
1933 Song of the Eagle Gretchen
1933 Son of the Border Doris
1933 Golden Harvest Ellen Goodhue
1933 After Tonight Hysterical Nurse Uncredited
1934 Their Big Moment Fay Harley
1934 The Age of Innocence May Welland
1934 When Strangers Meet Mrs. Mary Mason
1935 The Scoundrel Cora Moore
1936 A Son Comes Home Jo
1936 The Longest Night Eve Sutton
1937 A Family Affair Joan Hardy Martin
1947 Citizen Saint Sister Delphina


  1. ^ Gussow, Mel (December 29, 1994). "Julie Haydon Is Dead at 84; A Star in 'Glass Menagerie'". The New York Times.
  2. ^ a b Gussow, Mel (December 29, 1994). "Julie Haydon Is Dead at 84; A Star in 'Glass Menagerie'". The New York Times. Retrieved December 22, 2021.
  3. ^ 1920 United States Federal Census
  4. ^ a b c d Brennan, Sandra Biography (All Movie) Archived 2006-04-26 at the Wayback Machine
  5. ^ JAMD Julie Haydon
  6. ^ Wilson, Scott (August 22, 2016). Resting Places: The Burial Sites of More Than 14,000 Famous Persons, 3d ed. McFarland. p. 326. ISBN 978-0-7864-7992-4. Retrieved December 11, 2020.
  7. ^ Gregory William Rank (2005). Women in Horror Films, 1930s. McFarland. p. 161. ISBN 078642334X.
  8. ^ "Julie Hayden". Internet Broadway Database.
  9. ^ "Bright Star". Internet Broadway Database.
  10. ^ "Shadow and Substance". Internet Broadway Database.
  11. ^ "The Time of Your Life". Internet Broadway Database.
  12. ^ "The Glass Menagerie". Internet Broadway Database.
  13. ^ "Our Lan'". Internet Broadway Database.


  • New York Times, Julie Haydon Is Dead At 84; A Star in Glass Menagerie, December 29, 1994, Page B8.
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Julie Haydon
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