Louis Charles Hayward was born on March 19, 1909 in Johannesburg, South Africa. Hayward was educated in France and England, including Latymer Upper School in London. He spent some time managing a night club but wanted to act and bought into a stock company. He became a protégé of Noël Coward and began appearing in London in plays such as “Dracula” and “Another Language”; he also started being cast in some British films of the early 1930s.
Hayward came to Broadway in 1935 with a production of Noël Coward's “Point Valaine”. It only ran a short time, after which Hayward moved to Hollywood. He started getting work almost immediately, gaining great attention in the prologue of “Anthony Adverse” (1936). He was then cast as the first screen incarnation of Simon Templar in Leslie Charteris' “The Saint in New York”.
In 1938 he starred in “The Duke of West Point” for producer Edward Small who signed him to make three films over the next five years, meaning he was unable to reprise his part as the Saint. However Small cast him in a dual role in “The Man in the Iron Mask” as well as “The Son of Monte Cristo” (1940). He had a small role in “The Magnificent Ambersons” (1941) which was cut out. He became an American citizen in December 1941.
After military service in the U.S. Marine Corps during World War II, Hayward returned to Hollywood playing the role of Philip Lombard in the 1945 version of “And Then There Were None”. He also continued to make swashbuckler films, including several for Edward Small.
In the 1950s Hayward made large numbers of television appearances. He starred in the 1954 syndicated television series “The Lone Wolf” and the 1961 British television series “The Pursuers”.
Hayward's work in live theatre included Noël Coward's "Conversation Piece," and later, in the early 1960s, the national tour of “Camelot”.
He made two Euro-westerns: “The Christmas Kid” (1966) as Mike Culligan with Jeffrey Hunter.
He retired from acting during the 1970s and died in Palm Springs, California from lung cancer on February 2, 1985.
Today we remember Louis Hayward on what would have been his 105th birthday.
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