Louis Hayward's debonair charm and athletic good looks made him one of Hollywood's most successful swashbuckling heroes of the 1930s and '40s.
Hayward scored his first major screen success with the 1939 film "The Man in the Iron Mask" and spent the next decade starring in such adventure films as "Son of Monte Cristo," "The Saint in New York," "The Black Arrow" and "Fortunes of Captain Blood."
"I also did rather creditable acting jobs as the rotten seed in 'My Son, My Son,' and the villainous charmer in 'Ladies in Retirement,' " he said ruefully. "But nobody really cared. They just handed me another sword and doublet and said 'Smile!' "
His first Hollywood efforts in "The Flame Within" and "A Feather in Her Hat" were moderately successful, moderately well-received and almost instantly forgotten.
But then came the 1936 role of Denis Moore in "Anthony Adverse," and studio officials began talking about stardom.
Returning to films after World War II, Hayward formed his own film company and was one of the first stars to demand and get a percentage of the profits from his pictures, which included "Repeat Performance," "Son of Dr. Jekyll," "The Lady in the Iron Mask," "The Saint's Girl Friday," "Duffy of San Quentin" and "The Lone Wolf," which he subsequently turned into a television series, playing the starring role in 78 episodes in the 1960s.