Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

A New Chapter

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



Brooke Hayward

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

               

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Catch the Vibe Newsletter

Weekend activities and events in the area
Edit ModuleShow Tags

Profiles

Your Guides to Leading Local Professionals

Edit ModuleShow Tags
Edit ModuleShow Tags

April 2017

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

SingOut! CT, Connecticut's Premier Glee Group for Young Voices, returns for a Spring Extravaganza to welcome the beauty of the season. Led by Artistic Director, Alecia Evans, talented boys...

Cost: Free and open to the public.

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


Website »

More information

WHAT: "End of the Rainbow," a play with music by Peter Quilter. It's December 1968 and Judy Garland is about to make her comeback...again. In a London hotel room, with both her new...

Cost: $30-$55

Where:
Music Theatre of Connecticut
509 Westport Ave
Norwalk, CT  06851
View map »


Sponsor: Music Theatre of Connecticut
Telephone: 203-454-3883
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06059
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Regarded as one of the key figures of 19th century literary realism, Henry James’s work is valued for his psychological and moral realism, his masterful creation of character, and his assured...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Music on the Hill presents 12 pro voices performing music of Bach, Buxtehude, Monteverdi, and Charpentier in a celebration of Easter gone Baroque. Artistic director Ellen...

Cost: $20 in advance; $25 at the door; students, free.

Where:
Wilton Presbyterian Church
48 New Canaan Road
Wilton, CT  06897
View map »


Sponsor: Music on the Hill
Telephone: 203-529-3133
Contact Name: Music on the Hill
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Facilitated by Cameron Bove, Monday Scholars is a weekly series that meets in the library’s Jamie Gagarin Community Room. The series combines the best of online learning with the best of...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

The State of Connecticut, in conjunction with the Oliver Wolcott Library, will present this free, two-hour lecture presentation. No insurance sales will take place. Anyone who is between 40 and 65...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Connecting with Balance is a 12 week program focusing on using movement and dance to maintain and improve dynamic balance. Participants will work with Pilobolus Teaching Artists on creating...

Cost: FREE

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Man Booker Prize for Fiction is a prestigious literary prize awarded each year for the best original novel, written in the English language and published in the United Kingdom. In this two-part...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

 Chef John Ferrucci, as seen on “Celebrity Chef Show” cable channel 5 returns to teach you some professional secrets.  This course will teach cooking techniques, sanitation and menu...

Cost: $140.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Carvel®… America’s Freshest Ice Cream® is kicking off ice cream season by celebrating their annual Free Cone Day next Thursday, April 27, from 3-8 p.m. EST Guests who visit...

Cost: Free

Where:
Carvel Nationwide
, CT


Sponsor: Carvel®
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Singer and actress Deborah Anne Goss takes us on a tour of the Victorian Era with song & story. Hear the era illuminated with poignant ballads, stirring anthems, and humorous ditties sung in...

Cost: $5.00 donation at door

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

The Wars of the Roosevelts: The Ruthless Rise of American’s Greatest Political Family presents a provocative, thoroughly modern revisionist biographical history of one of America’s greatest and...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Celebrate spring and opening day at Hollister House Garden. The early garden is gentle with only a hint of the exuberance to come later in the season. Come join us as we welcome a new season in...

Cost: $5

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


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

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Enjoy a light lunch, music and dancing.  This month: music by “Survivor Swing Band”.    Pre-registration is required.

Cost: $7.00 pp

Where:
Litchfield Community Center
421 Bantam Road
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Telephone: 860-567-8302
Contact Name: Litchfield Community Center
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Marcey Hladik is a native of Litchfield who started painting as an adult, taking her first lessons in oil painting from her mother-in-law, Edith Hladik, an accomplished artist and teacher. Since...

Cost: Free

Where:
Oliver Wolcott Library
160 South St.
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Oliver Wolcott Library
Telephone: 860-567-8030
Contact Name: Tricia Messenger
Website »

More information

Show More...
Show Less...

“Twenty Two North” Exhibit by Rick Schatzberg Opens April 15th at Gunn Memorial Stairwell Gallery CONTACT: Sharon Morrissey/Gunn Memorial Library gunnstaff@biblio.org From the...

Cost: No Charge

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


Sponsor: Gunn Memorial Library
Telephone: 860-868-7586
Contact Name: Sharon Morrissey
Website »

More information

Celebrate spring and opening day at Hollister House Garden. The early garden is gentle with only a hint of the exuberance to come later in the season. Come join us as we welcome a new season in...

Cost: $5

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

19th Annual Harmony for Hunger Concert Second Congregational Church, Winsted   The Music Committee of the Second Congregational Church of Winsted, 800 Main Street, Winsted is hosting...

Cost: $10 Adults, $5 Children, $20 Family

Where:
Second Congregational Church
800 Main Street
Winsted, CT  06098
View map »


Sponsor: Second Congregational Church
Telephone: 860-379-4766
Contact Name: Carol Tomassetti
Website »

More information

The annual gala hosted by nonprofit Ability Beyond raises funds to support programs for those with disabilities in Connecticut and New York. The black-tie evening will feature both...

Cost: $250

Where:
The Amber Room Colonnade
1 Stacey Road
Danbury, CT  06811
View map »


Sponsor: Ability Beyond
Telephone: 203-826-3019
Contact Name: Meaghan Gilmore
Website »

More information

Sports and recreation are universal experiences. Whether we make it to the big leagues or never leave our backyards, these activities play important roles in our lives. They help us form...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

The Litchfield Historical Society is pleased to announce the opening of a new exhibit Thoughts, Words, and Deeds: Exploring the Litchfield Female Academy, on view April 22 through November 27, 2017...

Cost: Free!

Where:
Litchfield History Museum
7 South Street
Litchfield, CT  06759
View map »


Sponsor: Litchfield Historical Society
Telephone: 860-567-4501
Contact Name: Megan Olver
Website »

More information

Coming to the Nancy Marine Studio Theatre... In this unique adaptation of the beloved musical from Rodgers & Hammerstein’s “Getting to Know” series, this delightful version...

Cost: $15.50.

Where:
Nancy Marine Studio Theatre - Warner Theatre
82 Main St
Torrington, CT  06790
View map »


Sponsor: Lufkin Family Foundation
Telephone: (860) 489-7180
Contact Name: Warner Theatre
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