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Film & Media Studies
22 Lebanon Street
202 Black Family Visual Arts Center
Dartmouth College
Hanover, NH 03755
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John Michael Hayes, screenwriter and friend of Film & Media Studies, dies

The following appeared in the Valley News, 29 November 2008:

 

John Michael Hayes, a noted Hollywood screenwriter, died of natural causes Wednesday, Nov. 19th, 2008, at Kendal at Hanover.

He was born May 11, 1919, in Worcester, Mass., a son of Johh Michael Hayes Sr. and Ellen (Ellis) Hayes.  He began his writing career at a young age, serving as editor of the "Boy Scout Journal" and as an Associated Press stringer in New York at the age of 16.

Mr. Hayes' career lasted more than 40 years, and he was involved in nearly 30 films, including "Rear Window", "Peyton Place", "The Man Who Knew Too Much", "The Carpetbaggers" and "Nevada Smith", with some of the most famous names in Hollywood history, such as Alfred Hitchcock, Jimmy Stewart, Grace Kelly, Cary Grant, Elizabeth Taylor and Clark Gable.

Following stateside service in World War II, Mr. Hayes moved to California, where he began writing radio-plays for such shows as "Inner Sanctum", "I Love a Mystery" and "Richard Diamond".

He was married to fashion model Mildred Louise Hicks - knows as Mel - in 1950.  She predeceased him in 1989.  Together, they rasied four children.

During the infamous Hollywood "blacklist" era, Hayes began using his full name professionally after confusion with another writer put his career in jeopardy.

Mr. Hayes was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Screenplay for "Rear Window" in 1954, and again for "Peyton Place" in 1957, winning an Edgar from the Mystery Writers of American for "Rear Window".

He retired in the late 1980's, and moved to Hanover in 1988 to teach screenwriting at Dartmouth College.  He suffered a stroke in 2000, but continued to lecture occasionally.  In 2004, he was honored by the Writers Guild of America (West) with the Laurel Award for Screenwriting Achievement for his lifetime bod of work across five decades.

Survivors include four children, Rochelle Skala of Los Angeles, Garrett Michael Hayes of Atlanta, Meredyth Badreau of Houston and Corey Ellis Hayes of Jacksonville, Fla.; and four grandchildren.

Funeral services will be held Wednesday at 11:30 at Rand-Wilson Funeral Home in Hanover.  Interment will follow at Pine Knoll Cemetary in Hanover.

In lieu of flowers, memorial contributions may be made to Kendal at Hanover, 80 Lyme Rd., Lyme, N.H. 03755

Last Updated: 12/3/08