My life is a triptych punctuated by celebrities. I’ve been married three times and it has brought me into three different worlds, but always in some area of the creative arts. It has introduced me to the realm of entertainers, entertainment and entertaining.
So how did all these wonderful adventures begin?
As Barbara Hayden Cohen, fresh out of four and a half years of learning at the University of Washington, a stint at Stanford, I left Reed College in Portland where I'd directed their first play, to tour in a Shakespearean season with mates from Washington's Drama Department. The tour ended at Hollywood's Film City Playhouse on Highland Avenue. The year: 1945. World War II was finally over and Barbara Hayden ended up in Esquire magazine.
In 1946 I married the singer, guitarist, composer Tony Romano who introduced me to a world of entertainers and entertaining.
We had a daughter, Lisa (Hayden Miller), ex-restaurateur, designer, author of Galley Guru (LISA) and a son, composer, arranger, guitarist, producer and author Dr. Richard Niles whose latest jazz album, Bandzilla Rises!!! highlights some fantastic international talent.
Tony Romano, Lisa (Hayden Miller) , Dr. Richard Niles
In 1948 Barbara Hayden produced, wrote, directed, and acted in 18 episodes of the first live TV drama series from Hollywood, Mabel's Fables for KTLA (Paramount Pictures) It received an Emmy nomination.
An ASCAP lyric writer, Barbara Hayden and Tony Romano wrote 14 songs including While You're Young for Johnny Mathis' album, Portrait of Johnny.
We also wrote songs for two films at Columbia Studios Columbia,
Robbers' Roost (1955) and Radio Stars on Parade.
During that period my credits as actress:
The Loves of Carmen (1948) (uncredited) - Woman on Stagecoach
A Perilous Journey (1953) - Cathy
Roman Holiday (Matinee Theatre)1958 Live TV, a lead role.
Have Gun––Will Travel - The Man Who Lost (1959): Mrs. Bryson,
(directed by Ida Lupino.)
Rescue 8, episode "Find That Bomb!" (1958) - lead: Kit Shocky
The Crimson Kimono (1959) film- Mother
clips from: Roman Holiday
and Crimson Kimono
The New York journalist Helen Rowland once wrote that when two people decide to divorce, it isn't a sign they don't understand each other; rather that they finally do. Our nest had fallen out of the tree and after twelve years Tony and I were divorced.
After playing the lead on an episode of Rescue 8 and making suggestions on the script to the producer, screenwriter/author, I was asked to write an episode, which led to writing three scripts. I chose the pen name Pat Silver, so as not to be confused with my acting role in one episode.
Producer of the series was Jesse Lasky Jr., son of the film pioneer Jesse L. Lasky, whose company, The Jesse Lasky Feature Play Company, produced the first full-length motion picture in Hollywood, The Squaw Man in 1913 and founded Paramount Pictures, Jesse Jr. had written 8 films for Cecil B. DeMille. He had received the Box Office Award twice, for The Ten Commandments & Samson And Delilah which are among the Top Ten Box-Office All-Time Hits. He was to write a total of 48 films, six of them with me.
The scripts were approved and Jesse and I began writing together. Together we were to write 119 TV episodes and mini-series including Avengers, Danger Man/ Secret Agent. Our verse play Ghost Town won several awards in the US. We moved to London in 1962 and stayed.
I now have dual citizenship.
Jesse and I were head writers and show runners on the TV series, Philip Marlowe, Private Eye. In 1984 and 1986 it won three awards in the USA and in the Netherlands. I wrote four books with Jesse: Men of Mystery, Dark Dimensions, Love Scene (the story of Laurence Olivier and Vivien Leigh), and the American best seller historical novel, The Offer, 6 films, the award winning Explorers series in the UK (Ten Who Dared in the United States).
After a bank had rejected two scripts from four other writers, we accepted an assignment from a producer to write a script in nine days and win bank approval. With the help of two secretaries and four typewriters (in those pre-computer days), our nine day script for Crime and Passion got bank approval. Yes!!! Filming with stars Omar Sharif and Karen Black began in Zürs, Switzerland. We were flown there to do rewrites and 'have a vacation'. Neither of us skied and both hated mountains of snow.
Director Ivan Passer, living his own take on 'genius’, would not allow the stars to read the script. Each day he outlined the plot and asked them to ‘improvise’. He never knew that Karen and Omar secretly came to our room at night to study the scenes for next day.
Barbara Hayden - Esquire Magazine
In 1995 I met British cartoonist Peter Betts, known as Peeby. We were married in 1997, living in London. We decided to move to Orange County, California in 2009, which we had been visiting several times to see my daughter. Now Peter’s family come to visit us.
I continue to write and the books I've produced are available through this site from the "Order Books" page on this site.
I taught Screenwriting at the London Film School for 9 years. Based on this teaching, my first solo book, Screenwriting For the 21st Century was published by Batsford (Chrysalis) Books in August 2003.
In 1987 we wrote the play Vivien based on our book, Love Scene. I directed its highly acclaimed first production at the Melrose Theatre, Los Angeles (1987) and also the London Rehearsed Reading of Vivien in 1992.
Jesse and I had a farmhouse in Spain for 12 years. Below is a picture of us in our orchard. Jesse died in 1988.