'Rear Window' Screenwriter John Michael Hayes Dies
The writer earned two Oscar nominations and worked with Alfred Hitchcock on four films
Jimmy Stewart and Grace Kelly in 'Rear Window'
The screenwriter who was nominated for two Academy Awards died of natural causes on Wednesday Nov. 19 at a Hanover, New Hampshire retirement community.
John Michael Hayes Jr. was born on May 11, 1919 in Worcester, Mass., to John Michael Hayes Sr. and Ellen Mabel Hayes. As an avid reader, young Hayes also discovered a love of writing and wrote for his school newspapers, his high school yearbook and his Boy Scout weekly, which earned him a job writing about Boy Scout activities for Worcester's Evening Gazette.
His writing career continued with the Worcester Telegram and the Associated Press. At Massachusetts State College, he won a contest to write radio stories. After a stint in the Army during WWII, Hayes continued his radio career, writing for radio dramas "The Adventures of Sam Spade," "Inner Sanctum" and Lucille Ball's "My Favorite Husband" in Hollywood.
On the strength of Hayes' radio work, Universal-International Pictures hired him as a screenwriter.
His original screenplay for "Rear Window," which starred Jimmy Stewart as a wheelchair-bound photographer whose voyeurism leads him to think one of his neighbors is a killer, earned Hayes his first Oscar nomination. Hayes worked with director Alfred Hitchcock on three other films: the stylish "To Catch a Thief" starring Cary Grant and Grace Kelly, "The Trouble With Harry" starring Shirley MacLaine and the Stewart/Doris Day remake of "The Man Who Knew Too Much."
Hayes' career also included successful melodramas like his adaptation of "Peyton Place," which earned him his second Academy Award nomination, "Butterfield 8" with Elizabeth Taylor, "Torch Song" with Joan Crawford, "The Carpetbaggers" with Carroll Baker and "Where Love Has Gone" with Susan Hayward and Bette Davis.
Also notable in his career were the Audrey Hepburn/MacLaine pairing for "The Children's Hour," which was set in a private school and revolved the supposed lesbian relationship between two women, and "The Chalk Garden," starring Hayley Mills and Deborah Kerr.
Hayes retired from writing, but then came back to co-write the family adventure film "Iron Will" starring Mackenzie Astin and Kevin Spacey.
Hayes taught film writing at Dartmouth College in New Hampshire until he retired in 2000. He donated his collection of scripts, photographs, letters and clippings from his Hollywood career to the college.