Crossroads of Rockland History: Joyce Bulifant

2021-05-17 Crossroads Image-Joyce Bulifant

Memories of Helen Hayes, with Joyce Bulifant
The program originally aired on May 17, 2021. To listen, click here.

On the May 2021 episode of  "Crossroads of Rockland History," we remembered Helen Hayes. Joyce Bulifant, daughter-in-law of Hayes, shared fond memories of her mother-in-law; of her father-in-law, the playwright Charles MacArthur; and of their famous house in Nyack, Pretty Penny. Then we learned about an effort to establish Pretty Penny as a literary landmark from the actor, writer, and director Joel Vig.

Known as “The First lady of the American Theater,” Helen Hayes had a legendary career on stage and in films and television that spanned more than eighty years. The accomplished entertainer acted from age five to eight-five. She appeared on Broadway at age eight, and over the next several years received much acclaim for her performances. With the expansion of movies in Hollywood, Hayes moved to California to pursue films. In 1931, she won a Academy Award as
Best Actress for The Sin of Madelon Claudet. Hayes also received accolades for her Broadway performances in Mary of Scotland (1933) and Victoria Regina (1935). She is the first woman to receive all four entertainment awards: an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar, and a Tony. One of her final triumphs came in 1990 with the publication her autobiography, My Life in Three Acts. The memoir became a best seller. Hayes died on March 17, 1993, in Nyack.

A star in her own right, perhaps best known for playing recurring supporting roles and doing guest spots on television series such as Perry Mason, Bonanza, Gunsmoke, and Dr. Kildare. Beginning in 1971, one year into the eight-season run of The Mary Tyler Moore Show, Bulifant landed an assignment as a regular on that program; she played Marie Slaughter, the wife of the amiable newswriter Murray Slaughter (Gavin MacLeod), which carried her through the final season of the series. During the 1970s she also appeared as a regular contestant/participant on the game show Match Game alongside such Me Decade stars as McLean Stevenson and Mary Tyler Moore Show co-star Betty White. Bulifant's small-screen work continued unabated for several decades; in time, she also moved into occasional bit parts and supporting roles in feature flms. More recently, she has written two one-woman shows—My Life upon the Wicked Stage and Remembering Helen Hayes with Love—which she has performed in various theaters. She is also the executive vice president of the Dyslexia Foundation.


Crossroads of Rockland History, a program of the Historical Society of Rockland County, airs on the third Monday of each month at 9:30 am, right after the Steve and Jeff morning show, on WRCR radio 1700 AM and 
www.WRCR.com. Join host Clare Sheridan as we explore, celebrate, and learn about our local history, with different topics and guest speakers every month. During 2020, our focus is Women’s History in celebration of the Suffrage Centennial.  We are pleased to announce that we have begun loading our archived podcasts to the Apple Podcasts; Stitcher and Spotify platforms.

The Historical Society of Rockland County is a nonprofit educational institution and principal repository for original documents and artifacts relating to Rockland County. Its headquarters are a four-acre site featuring a history museum and the 1832 Jacob Blauvelt House in New City, New York.



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