Everybody Thought We Were Crazy: Dennis Hopper, Brooke Hayward, and 1960s Los Angeles by Mark Rozzo:
At Madeira, Brooke cast herself as an “artistic eccentric, outside the bourgeois concerns that governed the rest of the student body.” Her tastes ran to cigarettes and J. D. Salinger. She worked at oil painting, her magnum opus being a canvas titled Nervous Breakdown. She starred as the pleurisy-afflicted Laura Wingfield in a school production of The Glass Menagerie, which aroused in her the first stirrings of a desire to explore a career on the stage—a notion that alarmed Maggie, who naturally forbade it.
The girl’s inspiration, and object of desire, was Marlon Brando. In the summer of 1954, while visiting Leland and Slim in Los Angeles, Brooke drove around town with Jane, Jill Schary, and Josie Mankiewicz, trying to hunt down Brando, “that hulking brute with the poet’s face,” as Jill described him. They were not successful. But Brooke did get to watch James Dean filming the Ferris wheel scene for East of Eden and went to a party hosted by David O. Selznick and Jennifer Jones in Malibu, at which Cole Porter handed her a cigar. It was perhaps during this trip that Brooke and Jane found themselves with Selznick in his limousine when the bespectacled legend who had produced Gone with the Wind made a pronouncement that neither of the best friends would ever forget.
“Brooke will be the movie star,” he declared, “not Jane.”