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Jane Wyatt

Jane Wyatt

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Also Known As: Died: October 20, 2006
Born: August 12, 1910 Cause of Death: natural causes
Birth Place: Campgaw, New Jersey, USA Profession: actor

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Best known for her work on the enduring television sitcom "Father Knows Best" (CBS/NBC, 1954-1960), Jane Wyatt had displayed her talents in numerous stage and film productions before landing the role that brought her into millions of American living rooms each week. After earning a measure of success on Broadway in the classic farce "Dinner at Eight" (1932-33), the pretty brunette was offered a movie contract and made a splash in Frank Capra's revered fantasy "Lost Horizon" (1937). The efforts that followed were usually not top flight, but included occasional gems like "None but the Lonely Heart" (1944), "Boomerang!" (1947), and "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), and Wyatt was usually up for the demands of her parts. Ironically, the New Jersey native's blacklisting in the early 1950s for liberal sentiments led her to concentrate on television assignments and that was likely instrumental in Wyatt joining the cast of "Father Knows Best." As one of the model TV mothers of the 1950s, she was able to overcome the limitations of the character with a disarming combination of cordiality and charm, and the program became a cultural touchstone of its time. While she displayed sufficient diversity, Wyatt was never...

Best known for her work on the enduring television sitcom "Father Knows Best" (CBS/NBC, 1954-1960), Jane Wyatt had displayed her talents in numerous stage and film productions before landing the role that brought her into millions of American living rooms each week. After earning a measure of success on Broadway in the classic farce "Dinner at Eight" (1932-33), the pretty brunette was offered a movie contract and made a splash in Frank Capra's revered fantasy "Lost Horizon" (1937). The efforts that followed were usually not top flight, but included occasional gems like "None but the Lonely Heart" (1944), "Boomerang!" (1947), and "Gentleman's Agreement" (1947), and Wyatt was usually up for the demands of her parts. Ironically, the New Jersey native's blacklisting in the early 1950s for liberal sentiments led her to concentrate on television assignments and that was likely instrumental in Wyatt joining the cast of "Father Knows Best." As one of the model TV mothers of the 1950s, she was able to overcome the limitations of the character with a disarming combination of cordiality and charm, and the program became a cultural touchstone of its time. While she displayed sufficient diversity, Wyatt was never a major Broadway or motion picture star, but her place in show business legend was secured by "Father Knows Best" and the conviviality she displayed as the matriarch of an idealized 1950s middle-class household.

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Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
 Amityville 4: The Evil Escapes (1989) Alice Leacock
2.
 Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986) Amanda--Human Mother Of Spock
3.
 Missing Children: A Mother's Story (1982) Judge Eloise Walker
5.
 Superdome (1978) Fay Bonelli
6.
 Nativity, The (1978) Anna
7.
 Millionaire, The (1978) Mrs Mathews
8.
 Amelia Earhart (1976) Amy Earhart
9.
 Treasure of Matecumbe (1976) Aunt Effie
10.
 Katherine (1975) Emily Alman
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

1930:
Broadway acting debut as understudy, aged 19, to Rose Hobart in the play, "Tradewinds"; that same year, also understudied Katherine Wilson in the play, "The Vinegar Tree"
1932:
Stage breakthrough: played ingenue lead in "Give Me Yesterday"
1933:
Took over Margaret Sullavan's role in the hit Broadway play "Dinner at Eight" after Sullavan left the cast
1934:
Signed by Universal Studios; first film, "One More River"
1934:
Played first female lead in a film, "Great Expectations"
1937:
Played one of the female leads in her best-remembered feature film, "Lost Horizon"
1940:
Returned to the New York stage to act in "Night Music"
1948:
First film in color, "Canadian Pacific" (released in 1949)
1950:
Returned to the New York stage to play the role of Nina Denery in "The Autumn Garden"
1951:
Last film for six years, "Criminal Lawyer"
1952:
Made her TV debut guesting on an installment of the anthology drama series, "Robert Montgomery Presents"
1954:
Played Margaret Anderson on the popular family sitcom, "Father Knows Best" (which aired on both CBS and NBC during it initial run)
1957:
Only feature film during the run of "Father Knows Best", "Interlude"
1964:
First TV-movie, "See How They Run"
1965:
Last film for 11 years, "Never Too Late"
1966:
Hosted the ABC talk show (with dramatizations included), "Confidential for Women"
:
Was a panelist on the syndicated TV game show, "Oh My Word"
1967:
Fondly remembered career highlight: Playing Amanda, the human mother of the half-Vulcan Mr. Spock on the cult science-fiction TV series, "Star Trek"; guest starred on the episode "Journey to Babel"
1976:
Re-entered motion pictures after 11-year absence to act in "Treasure of Matecumbe"
1977:
Reprised the role of Margaret Anderson for two TV-movies, "Father Knows Best: The Father Knows Best Reunion" and "Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas"
:
Played recurring role of Katherine Auschlander on several episodes of the popular NBC medical drama series, "St. Elsewhere" (dates approximate)
1986:
Made another one-shot return to features after a decade absence; recreated the role of Amanda for the feature film, "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home"
1989:
Was one of the judges for the "Mother/Daughter USA Pageant"
1995:
Suffered mild stroke
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

Barnard College: New York , New York -
Apprentice School, Berkshire Playhouse: Stockbridge , Massachusetts -
Miss Chapin's School: New York , New York -

Notes

Information on Wyatt's date of birth varies somewhat, with the year wavering between 1910 and 1913, with most sources giving either 1910 or 1912. There is also some variance with the day; several sources give August 12, though more claim August 10.

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Edgar B Ward. Married from 1935 until his death on November 8, 2000 at age 93.

Family close complete family listing

father:
Christopher Billopp Wyatt. Investment banker.
mother:
Euphemia Wyatt. Drama critic.
son:
Christopher Ward.
son:
Michael Ward.
VIEW COMPLETE FAMILY LISTING

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