Helen Hayes Brown was an American actress whose career spanned almost 70 years. She eventually garnered the nickname "First Lady of the American Theatre" and was one of eleven people who have won an Emmy, a Grammy, an Oscar and a Tony Award. Hayes also received the Presidential Medal of Freedom, America's highest civilian honor, from President Ronald Reagan in 1986. In 1988, she was awarded the National Medal of Arts. The annual Helen Hayes Awards, which have recognized excellence in professional theatre in the greater Washington, D.C. area since 1984, are her namesake. In 1955 the former Fulton Theatre on 46th Street in New York City's Broadway Theater District was renamed the Helen Hayes Theatre. When that venue was torn down in 1982, the nearby Little Theatre was renamed in her honor.