5 Things You May Not Know about Sterling Hayden

5 Things You May Not Know about Sterling Hayden

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Like today is his birthday. Happy 101st Birthday to the legend Sterling Hayden!

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He was a beauty

Sterling Hayden 1So pretty.

Sure, most stars during the classic era of Hollywood were beautiful but Paramount decided to take it to the next level with Hayden. In 1941 the studio dubbed him “The Most Beautiful Man in the Movies!” Exclamation point and all! Oh, and he was The Beautiful Blond Viking God.

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He preferred the sea life to an academic one 

Sterling Hayden 2Sterling and greatest love: sailing at sea

When Hayden was 15 years old, he dropped out of boarding school and took a job on a sailboat, sailing from New London, Connecticut to Newport Beach, California. He continued to work at sea, slowly rising through the ranks, and by the by the time he was 21 he had earned his Master Mariner license, allowing him to serve as captain of a trading sailboat in the Caribbean.

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He kind of hated Hollywood

Sterling Hayden 3Sterling Hayden, getting that cash in The Killing (1956, director Stanley Kubrick)

Despite spending four decades in tinsel town, Hayden was never particularly fond of the place. He didn’t hold actors in very high regard and usually just took roles to finance his high sea adventures.

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He wrote some books

Sterling Hayden 4Sterling with his children on the boat he named his autobiography after

After walking away from Hollywood in the late 1950s, Hayden began writing. His first book was an autobiography called The Wanderer. His second book, an 700-page epic novel that takes place on at sea during turn-of-the-century America, was essentially a window into his love of the sea.

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His biggest regret was snitching

Sterling Hayden TestifyingTestifying

Due to his admiration of the Yugoslavian Communist guerilla fighters he fought alongside of during WWII, Hayden joined the Communist Party in 1946. This led him to be called to testify before the House Committee of Un-American Activities in 1951. Unlike many of his cohorts, Hayden fully cooperated by naming those who where in the party with him, an action he regretted later in life, stating “Not often does a man find himself eulogized for having behaved in a manner that he himself despises.”

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Minoo Allen for Classic Movie Hub

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4 Responses to 5 Things You May Not Know about Sterling Hayden

  1. Pam Traves says:

    He is one of my favourite actors. You are right, he was So A Great looking man!

  2. David Hollingsworth says:

    A true quintessential leading man. He was tall, intimidating, and very sexy! I loved him in “The Asphalt Jungle”, “The Killing”, and “Dr. Strangelove.”.

  3. Great bio! It’s funny, the very first thing I ever remember seeing him in was “9 to 5″ when he comes out at the very end as the chairman of the board.

  4. Gloria Elizabeth says:

    Thanks for this post. He truly was beautiful, and seemed to realize how little that weighed in real life. I jumped over to IMDB to figure out what movies I’ve seen him in and discovered that he played the love-interest in SUDDENLY, the 1954 Sinatra-as-Presidential-Assassin-WannaBe film that disappeared after 1963. In this movie we have a war widow who is a committed pacifist who can’t commit to Hayden’s sheriff because, naturally, he carries a gun. Then she ends up a prisoner (with her son) in a room with men planning to use her perfectly placed window to assassinate the President who will be travelling by rail through the small California town of Suddenly on his way to our (admittedly) gorgeous natural wonders. It, naturally, tests her commitment to pacifism. I only remember the sheriff’s stoic patience and find it hard to align that with the chaotic patterns of his private life. I stand in awe of anyone who could marry and divorce the same person three times.

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