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Also Known As: Sarah Jane Fulks, Jane Durrell Died: September 10, 2007
Born: January 4, 1914 Cause of Death:
Birth Place: St Joseph, Missouri Profession: actor, singer, chorus girl, radio vocalist, switchboard operator, manicurist

Biography CLOSE THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

A button-nosed star actress of the 1940s and 50s, Jane Wyman began her career as a radio singer and entered films in the mid-1930s as a bit player and chorine using the name Jane Durrell. Wyman was pigeonholed as a peppy blonde, sometimes wisecracking, sometimes ditzy, with occasional leads in mostly low-budget fare and plenty of supporting roles in more important films. She acted such roles for a decade before garnering recognition for her sensitive performance in Billy Wilder's harrowing "The Lost Weekend" (1945), opposite Ray Milland. Invariably a close-cropped brunette after that, Wyman went on to distinguish herself, typically as sensitive, intelligent, placid types, in several fine dramas and the occasional (if generally less worthy) comedy or musical. Among her career plaudits were her four Oscar nominations for Best Actress for her dramatic roles as a stern mother in "The Yearling" (1946), as a deaf-mute rape victim in "Johnny Belinda" (1948, which won her the award), as a self-sacrificing nursemaid in "The Blue Veil" (1951) and as Rock Hudson's "Magnificent Obsession" in the 1954 Douglas Sirk melodrama. In the mid-50s, Wyman appeared regularly on TV as host of "The Jane Wyman Theatre";...

A button-nosed star actress of the 1940s and 50s, Jane Wyman began her career as a radio singer and entered films in the mid-1930s as a bit player and chorine using the name Jane Durrell. Wyman was pigeonholed as a peppy blonde, sometimes wisecracking, sometimes ditzy, with occasional leads in mostly low-budget fare and plenty of supporting roles in more important films. She acted such roles for a decade before garnering recognition for her sensitive performance in Billy Wilder's harrowing "The Lost Weekend" (1945), opposite Ray Milland. Invariably a close-cropped brunette after that, Wyman went on to distinguish herself, typically as sensitive, intelligent, placid types, in several fine dramas and the occasional (if generally less worthy) comedy or musical. Among her career plaudits were her four Oscar nominations for Best Actress for her dramatic roles as a stern mother in "The Yearling" (1946), as a deaf-mute rape victim in "Johnny Belinda" (1948, which won her the award), as a self-sacrificing nursemaid in "The Blue Veil" (1951) and as Rock Hudson's "Magnificent Obsession" in the 1954 Douglas Sirk melodrama. In the mid-50s, Wyman appeared regularly on TV as host of "The Jane Wyman Theatre"; though her feature stardom began to slide rather abruptly, she also continued performing in films including Sirk's fine "All That Heaven Allows" (1956). One of her last notable feature leads came in the Disney film "Pollyanna" (1960), in which she revisited the role of the stern matriarch who learns to love which she had played in "The Yearling". Following an absence of several years, she resurfaced in a number of TV-movies and later emerged as Angela Channing, one of America's favorite nasty matriarchs, in the popular CBS TV soap, "Falcon Crest" (1981-90). Wyman's second husband was actor and future US President Ronald Reagan, with whom she collaborated to produce daughter Maureen Reagan, sometime actress, singer and White House adviser who died in 2001. They also adopted a son, Michael, a radio personality. She later twice married and divorced Fox musician and vocal coach Fred Karger.

VIEW THE FULL BIOGRAPHY

Filmographyclose complete filmography

CAST: (feature film)

1.
2.
3.
 Failing of Raymond, The (1971) Mary Bloomquist
4.
 How To Commit Marriage (1969) Elaine Benson
5.
 Bon Voyage! (1962) Katie Willard
6.
 Pollyanna (1960) Aunt Polly [Harrington]
7.
 Holiday for Lovers (1959) Mary Dean
8.
 All That Heaven Allows (1956) Cary Scott
9.
 Miracle in the Rain (1956) Ruth Wood
10.
 Lucy Gallant (1955) Lucy Gallant
VIEW THE FULL FILMOGRAPHY

Milestones close milestones

:
Began career as radio singer
:
Worked as a dancer
1935:
First film appearance (as a chorus dancer) in "King of Burlesque"
1936:
Signed contract with Warner Bros.
1936:
Film acting debut in "Gold Diggers of 1937"
1945:
Notable career break, "The Lost Weekend"
1946:
Received first Oscar nomination as Best Actress with her role in "The Yearling" opposite Gregory Peck and Claude Jarman Jr.
1948:
Confirmed full-fledged star status with "Johnny Belinda"; earned Best Actress Academy Award
1951:
Starred opposite Bing Crosby in two musical comedy-dramas, "Here Comes the Groom" (in which the pair introduced the Oscar-winning song, "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening") and "Just for You"
1954:
Made the annual exhibitors poll of the top ten box office stars, primarily on the strength of the reception of the soap opera, "Magnificent Obsession", which was directed by Douglas Sirk and made Rock Hudson a star; Wyman placed 9th in the top ten lineup
:
Hosted and sometimes performed on TV's "Fireside Theater", eventually renamed "The Jane Wyman Theatre/The Jane Wyman Show"
1962:
Last feature film for seven years, "Bon Voyage!"
1969:
Made one-shot return to films for "How to Commit Marriage"
:
Played Angela Channing on the CBS primetime soap opera "Falcon Crest"
:
Had hip replacement surgery in the early 1990s
VIEW ALL MILESTONES

Education

University of Missouri: -

Notes

Jane Wyman's memorable acceptance speech upon receiving the Oscar for her role as a deaf-mute in "Johnny Belinda" (1948) went something like this: "I gratefully accept this award for keeping my mouth shut. I think I'll do it again."

In 1954 Wyman made the annual exhibitors' poll of top ten boxoffice stars, placing ninth.

Besides her Oscar win for "Johnny Belinda", Wyman was nominated as Best Actress for "The Yearling" (1946), "The Blue Veil" (1951) and "Magnificent Obsession" (1954). She was also twice nominated for an Emmy for her work on "The Jane Wyman Theatre" in 1957 and 1959.

She received the Golda Meir Award from Hebrew University (1991)

Companions close complete companion listing

husband:
Myron Futterman. Married and divorced in the 1930s.
husband:
Ronald Reagan. Actor, politician. Married in 1940; divorced in 1948; after "retiring" from acting served as governor of California and was elected as the 40th President of the United States.
husband:
Fred Karger. Musician, vocal coach. Married in 1952; divorced in 1954; remarried in 1963; divorced a second time in 1965.

Family close complete family listing

daughter:
Maureen Reagan. TV journalist, singer, actor. Died on August 8, 2001 at age 60 of skin cancer.
son:
Michael Reagan. Radio host. Adopted.

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