Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A New Chapter

At home with the Hollywood legend Brooke Hayward on the republication of Haywire.



Photographs by Wendy Carlson

She grew up a child of privilege.

Her parents were the toast of New York and Hollywood—a dynamic theatrical producer and his superb actress wife. Shuttling from coast to coast, she lived in a world most of us would envy—a life of wealth, multiple houses, and a circle of celebrity friends. But observing Brooke Hayward curled up in a comfortable chair in the corner of her living room, her dog Lulu at her feet, it is hard to imagine her more content than she is in her peaceful Connecticut home.

Leland Hayward and Margaret Sullavan had three children, of whom Brooke is the eldest. She was raised in New York and Hollywood—a place her mother loathed. Despite her fame, Sullavan longed for peace and quiet and a simple life. At one point she even bought a farm in Connecticut so she and her children could escape the nightmare of Tinseltown. Leland Hayward loved the excitement of the theater and making deals for his clients. Eventually the couple divorced, which had a terrible effect on their children. Sullavan wound up committing suicide. Six months later, Brooke’s younger sister, Bridget, did the same thing. And almost two years ago, Brooke’s brother, Bill, also took his own life.

Brooke went on to have a career as a model and actress, got married, had two children, and was divorced by the time she was 23. In 1977, her memoir, Haywire, was published. As she tells it, “One night, while having a drink with a New York Times reporter, he asked a personal question and I related this long story. He said, ‘You’ve got to write this down.’ I said I’m not a writer. ‘I don’t care,’ he said. ‘You write me three pages and I’ll tell you if you should continue.’ And I did it because I was amused. After reading what I had written he said you absolutely have to go forward with this idea.”

And so for the next three years, with the encouragement of her friend, Johanna Mankiewicz, she spent five hours a day writing. Mankiewicz edited and passed the work on to her agent, Lynn Nesbit, who in turn showed it to Robert Gottlieb, then head of Alfred A. Knopf. A few weeks later, Brooke got the thrilling news her book was going to be published. Then, in the midst of the project, tragedy struck when Mankiewicz was killed by a taxi in front of her two children. Gottlieb insisted Brooke come to New York and meet with him. When she did, she was able to continue writing. Through countless interviews, she recreated the environment in which she was raised and how it all fell apart. It took her three years to complete the book.

Haywire went on to be a bestseller in both hardcover and paperback, selling over a million copies. The book is an overlapping series of chapters dealing with Hayward’s mother, father, siblings, and growing up in the world of celebrity. It is now being reissued by Vintage paperbacks, with a preface by Buck Henry and a new afterword by Hayward.

Brooke Hayward has never written another book, although Gottlieb wanted her to write about the Hollywood years when she was married to Dennis Hopper—her second husband with whom she has a daughter. He hoped to hear her tell of those tumultuous times, the drugs, the making of Easy Rider. With Hopper’s recent death from cancer, perhaps Hayward will get around to telling those stories.

In 1985 Hayward married bandleader Peter Duchin. Together they have shared a loft in Manhattan and a country house situated at the edge of New Preston’s main street. The property, once a cider mill with a huge orchard, includes a winding stream as well as elaborate gardens Hayward cultivated. “This place was a bookstore when we first came here,” she says. “When the owner announced he was selling the place, Peter jumped at the chance to buy it, having only seen it once. I said absolutely not—it was a disaster. But, unbeknownst to me, Peter went ahead and bought it anyway. I spent the next nine months putting the place back together. Now, of course, I’m madly in love with it.”

The front door opens onto a large entryway with a sitting area to the left, where Hayward sat for this interview. From the large window behind her, one can observe the traffic of cars and people passing by. The furniture has a patina of being worn and comfortable; the house is a treasure trove of collections. Above the sofa is an enormous painting of a cow that Hayward purchased in London many years ago. “I love animals of every kind,” she says. And there are examples of them everywhere, from snakes (“Los Angeles was full of rattlesnakes and I was determined to love them,” she says) to dragons, insects, dinosaurs, birds, frogs (a whole tableful)—even a recycled paper dog and a pile of plush toys.

In the front hall, an open staircase leads upstairs, where a wall in the guest suite pays homage to the Hayward and Duchin heritage. Part of the wall is devoted to photographs of Duchin’s family, including his famous bandleader father, Eddie—a friend of Hayward’s before the couple married. Her half of the wall features posters from her mother’s best-loved movies, glamour shots of Hayward in her modeling days, portraits of her father, and shots of numerous movie stars she knew growing up.

Through a beaded curtain from the living room, one enters the kitchen, which overlooks the stream and the backyard. Its main feature is a long narrow table covered in brightly colored oilcloth fabric. Here, Hayward hosts dinner parties around her famous five-ingredient recipes. On my second visit, she has made lunch for me—homemade borscht, followed by tea and her favorite ginger cookies (I got to take the extras home). Across from the kitchen is a small room with a fireplace and several worn, vintage leather chairs—the perfect place to curl up before or after dinner. The library-sitting room is filled with more extraordinary photographs from Hayward’s life in Hollywood and New York, as well as stacks of books on every subject—she is an inveterate reader. A desk against the wall is piled with papers. Is this where she works? “No, this is where I would sit if I were talking to you on the phone.”

Now that she and Duchin are divorcing, it remains to be seen whether Hayward will remain in her beloved house. “I hope so, but who knows?” she ponders. Clearly, Hayward is philosophical about her life, having survived her siblings and her parents, three marriages, and a host of houses.

Meanwhile there is a whole new generation waiting to read Haywire and the rest of us who are waiting for that next book.

Add your comment:

Connect With Us    

Sign-up for our event 

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2018

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

The perfect combination of crispy, flaky, buttery goodness!  It’s not as hard as you might think to make your own.  It just requires some knowledge and a few “tricks of the...

Cost: $85

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Rd
New Milford, CT
View map »


Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Gunn Memorial Library in Washington, CT is pleased to welcome back literary scholar Mark Scarbrough as he leads a five week session exploring the History of 20th Century American Literature in 5...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

Where:
Gunn Memorial Library
5 Wykeham Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

Last year the CDC publicly announced that cases of Lyme disease are vastly underreported, and that 300,000 people are diagnosed each year in the U.S., which is 10 times as many as officially...

Cost: 10.00

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

The Five Points Gallery Annex will be showing selected works from Ian Roche's Pastel on Sheetrock Series II beginning April 19th.  The 4'x8' pieces are based on people...

Cost: Free

Where:
Five Points Gallery Annex
17 Water Street
(2 Doors Down from Main Gallery)
Torrington, CT  06790
View map »


Sponsor: Five Points Gallery Annex
Telephone: 917-301-4397
Contact Name: Pamela McCann
Website »

More information

EVERY THURSDAY | 7:30 PM - 10:00 pm Music | Spoken Word | Comedy | More Hosted by Don Lowe Hunt Hill Farm is excited to announce OpenMic night every Thursday night.  Please stop by to...

Cost: donation

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Hunt Hill Farm
Telephone: 860.355.0300
Contact Name: John C. Maxwell III
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Join in at the Litchfield Community Center on the 3rd Friday of each month through June for a light lunch, live music and even some dancing! Jan 19 Feb 16 March 16 Apr 20 May 18...

Cost: $7

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Rd
Litchfield, CT
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

In this presentation you will hear many compelling reasons why you should consider a natural approach to lawn care. The presenter, Chip Osborne, is a professional horticulturalist with over...

Cost: HHG Members $30 | Non-Members $35

Where:
Hollister House Garden
300 Nettleton Hollow Road
Washington, CT  06793
View map »


Sponsor: Hollister House Garden
Telephone: 860-868-2200
Contact Name: Pamela Moffett
Website »

More information

As a part of our emerging artist program, Hunt Hill Farm is calling for Artists for the 5th Annual Student Arts Expo – REAP (Ruane Emerging Artist Program). Submissions from emerging artists...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Hunt Hill Farm
44 Upland Road
44 Upland Road
NEW MILFORD, CT  06776
View map »


Telephone: 860-355-0300
Website »

More information

Connecticut's vernal pools are about to fill with life! Vernal pools are used by many species and are essential to supporting the health and biodiversity of our forests. Animals that rely on...

Cost: Free

Where:
Smyrski Farm
237 Merryall Road
New Milford, CT  06776
View map »


Sponsor: Weantinoge Heritage Land Trust
Telephone: 860-927-1927
Contact Name: Elizabeth
Website »

More information

New Morning Market will hold its much anticipated Earth Day Celebration on Saturday April 21st from 11am-4pm.  Savor local and artisanal food samples from popular vendors including 88 Acres,...

Cost: FREE

Where:
New Morning Market
129 Main St N
Woodbury, CT  06798
View map »


Sponsor: New Morning Market
Website »

More information

KMR arts presents the work of renowned artist and visionary Kim Keever  Opening reception is on Saturday April 7th at 3-6 p.m.  Keever's landscapes evoke the aesthetic...

Cost: Free

Where:
KMR Arts
2 Titus Road
Washington , CT  06794
View map »

More information

Byrde + the b is pleased to announce an exhibit of Harrison “Whitey” Jenkins new artwork opens on Friday April 6 from 5-7:00pm at Byrde + the b, 10 Titus Rd, Washington Depot, CT...

Cost: Free

Where:
Byrde + the b
10 Titus Road
Washington Depot, CT  06794
View map »


Sponsor: Byrde + the b
Telephone: 212 255 6247
Contact Name: Steven Miller
Website »

More information

The Loft Gallery will host Washington CT abstract artist, April Crumrine. April’s series of brightly colored paintings will be on view from April 12 through May 20, 2018. An artist’s...

Cost: free

Where:
Loft Gallery at The Smithy
10 Main Street
New Preston, CT  06777
View map »


Sponsor: The Smithy Store
Telephone: (860)868-9003
Contact Name: Susan
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Archive »Related Content

Buckley Branches

Splitting up a family home in order to preserve it is the magic behind Priscilla Buckley's story.
Edit ModuleShow Tags