Will H. Hays left President Harding's cabinet to clean up movie morals in the roaring '20s and in the film industry itself.
He was best known as the author of Hollywood self-censorship with the Hays Code. While some industry heavyweights objected to Hays as the moral arbiter, he was recognized for guarding filmmakers' right to self-regulate at a time when seven states already had provisions for government censorship.
Hays became president of the newly formed Motion Picture Assn. at a time when scandals in Hollywood had brought sharp public reactions. He retired in 1945, with his Hays Office the recognized arbiter of good taste in an industry that had accepted the principle of self regulation.