Leland Hayward (September 13, 1902 – March 18, 1971) was a popular, powerful and wealthy Hollywood and Broadway agent and theatrical producer. Hayward is best remembered as the producer of the Broadway stage productions of South Pacific and The Sound of Music.
Other noteworthy film productions include The Spirit of St. Louis (1957), and The Old Man and the Sea (1958). He was a coproducer (with Merrick) of the 1959 show Gypsy. His biggest success, however, was the The Sound of Music that opened the same year. Later productions could never measure up.
In 1921 he married the Texas debutante Lola Gibbs. They divorced one year later, remarried and divorced again in 1934.
He married his client, the talented stage and screen actress Margaret Sullavan (ex-Mrs. Henry Fonda) in 1936. They had three children (Brooke Hayward, born July 5, 1937, who was married to actor Dennis Hopper from 1961-69; Bridget 1939-1960; and William, born 1941, committed suicide 20 March, 2008). The family's dysfunctional life had been memorialized in daughter Brooke's memoir, Haywire. In Haywire, Brooke wrote of a conversation she had with William in which he said if he ever committed suicide, he would do so by shooting himself in the heart. Apparently that is exactly what he did.
In 1938 Hayward met Slim Hawks, the wife of film director Howard Hawks. Hayward's marriage to Sullavan came to an end in 1946, and he married Hawks three years later. This marriage became more strained after Slim Hayward had a one-night stand with Frank Sinatra and a longer affair with Peter Viertel.
In 1958 Hayward was introduced to Pamela Churchill, then the mistress of Elie de Rothschild. He proposed to her the following year. On May 4, 1960, hours after his divorce from Hawks was final, Hayward married Pamela Churchill in Carson City, Nevada. They maintained a lavish lifestyle that later had to be curtailed for financial reasons.