March 15, 2013
British born Ivan “Steve”Hayes first arrived in Hollywood in 1949 and moved there permanently in 1950. An actor for ten years, he worked in movies at MGM, Warner Bros., Paramount, Columbia, RKO, Universal Studios and the Samuel Goldwyn Studios as well as in early network television and radio.
While he was under contract at 20th Century Fox, the studio insisted Ivan find a more American-sounding name. He chose Steve, after the name of his friend Steve Reeves, a former Mr. Universe who later became world-famous as “Hercules.”
When not acting or writing books and screenplays, Steve helped support himself by working in restaurants and parking cars at Hollywood’s glamorous Sunset Strip nightspots like the Mocambo, Ciro’s, Villa Nova, and The Players. He also did detective work for the Fred Otash Detective Agency and painted movie stars’ homes and famous places like the Garden of Allah.
Then, in 1954, he became night manager of Googie’s, a popular coffee shop next to Schwab’s Drugstore that was made famous by James Dean, John Saxon, Natalie Wood, Rod Steiger, James Garner, Jayne Mansfield and other celebrities like western writer Louis L’Amour and Hollywood gossip columnist Sidney Skolsky.
During that time Steve befriended numerous movie stars like Errol Flynn, Tyrone Power, Marilyn Monroe, Ava Gardner, Clark Gable, Alan Ladd, Lana Turner, Sterling Hayden and Robert Middleton, all of whom influenced his life and gave him material for his recently published two-volume memoirs, Googie’s: Coffee Shop to the Stars.
A world traveler, Steve has explored the Amazon river by small boat, dug for gold in Alaska, climbed Kilimanjaro, ridden elephants at India’s Tiger Tops game preserve, photographed the Mountain Gorillas in Uganda, been on safaris in Kenya, Tanzania and South Africa and trekked in Tibet and the Himalayas. In 1958 he went to Cuba, where he met Ernest Hemingway before joining the Cuban Revolution, led by Fidel Castro, Raul Castro, Che Guevara and the American Army deserter, William Morgan.
“As for Errol Flynn, I was a house guest of his for a while and hung out with him. We used to go to all the big Hollywood nightclubs (Ciro’s, Mocambo, Earl Carroll’s, Cocoanut Grove, etc) together and have a great time. But since he was an alcoholic, and I was his pal, I felt obligated to keep him out of trouble — which, by the way, he usually didn’t initiate; it just came to him — and to get him back home in one piece. I did the same thing for several other big stars like Sterling Hayden and Ty Power. That kept me on my toes and usually sober.
“I went out with Ava Gardner and Lana Turner on occasion, and was a friend of Marilyn Monroe’s (we spent time together during her wild relationship with DiMaggio) and I would have one drink during dinner; but again, because of my innate violence, seldom had more than one drink. Not sure where that violence stems from; if you met me you’d never dream it existed. But all my wives saw it frequently whenever I was challenged in some way. And all made a point of telling me to stay sober. Today, I am loved by my wife, Robbin (she’s 29 years my junior) and her partygoer buds because I am the official designated driver!!