Grandma's Oscar

April 11, 1972

Isaac Hayes held up his Oscar last night and said, "This is for my grandmother."

He won the Oscar for the best original song for a movie — the theme for the film "Shaft" which has won several other plaudits.

Hayes’ grandmother was reportedly sitting in the Academy Award audience in Hollywood. He said it was his grandmother’s birthday.

The newspaper used the occasion to revisit Hayes’ humble beginnings, how he always believed he'd be wealthy someday, and at his pinnacle, his $30,000 fee per performance.

I was delivered by a midwife. I hardly remember either of my parents. My mother died in the (mental) hospital at Bolivar a year and half after I was born. My father just split. They say he was hell on a harmonica.

Looking back: Friend and writing partner David Porter didn’t attend the Oscars but remembers how moved Hayes was that his grandmother was at his side. "She was one of the anchors in his life. It was so important to him that she lived to see that, to experience it with him ... that was the highlight of his evening."

Jack Pirtles
Jack Pirtles