Jane Wyman

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Jane Wyman (born January 4, 1914) is an Oscar-winning American actress best known for playing disabled characters such as Belinda MacDonald in Johnny Belinda and Helen Phillips in Magnificent Obsession. She was also best known as the evil matriarch, Angela Channing on the 1980s prime-time soap opera, Falcon Crest.

Early Life

Born Sarah Jane Mayfield in Saint Joseph, Missouri to the town's mayor and a struggling actress, she later took the name Sarah Jane Fulks in honor of the neighbor family who "unofficially adopted" her after her parents divorced. In 1928, she and her mother moved to Southern California, where her mother, Le Jerne Pichelle, tried to start her own acting career. When that was unsuccessful, she turned to her daughter as an alternative, but neither was able to move Hollywood. The two moved back to Missouri, where Sarah Jane attended college, but in 1930 she began a radio singing career, calling herself Jane Durrell.

Early Hollywood career

By 1932, she was in Hollywood, obtaining bit parts in The Kid from Spain (as a 'Goldwyn Girl') (1932), My Man Godfrey (1936) and Cain and Mabel (1936). Her big break came, the following year, when she received her first big role in Public Wedding (1937), and her movie career took off. In 1939 she received her first starring role, in Torchy Plays With Dynamite.

Marriage to Ronald Reagan

In the previous year, she had co-starred with Ronald Reagan in Brother Rat (1938), and its sequel Brother Rat and a Baby (1940). The two were married (her third marriage, and his first) in 1940, but divorced in 1948. They had three children; Maureen Reagan (1941-2001), Michael Reagan (born March 18, 1945), who was adopted, and Christine Reagan (born and died 1947).

Acclaim in Hollywood

Wyman finally gained critical notice in the film noir The Lost Weekend (1945). She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 for The Yearling (1946), and finally won the Oscar in 1948 for her role as the deaf-mute rape victim in Johnny Belinda (1948). She was the first Oscar winner to earn the award without speaking one line of dialogue.

The Oscar win gave her the ability to choose meatier roles, although she still showed a liking for musical comedy. She worked with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock on Stage Fright (1950), with Frank Capra on Here Comes the Groom (1951) and with Michael Curtiz on The Story of Will Rogers (1952). She starred in The Glass Menagerie (1950), Just for You (1952), Let's Do It Again (1953), The Blue Veil (1951) (another Oscar nomination), So Big (1953), Magnificent Obsession (1954) (Oscar nomination), Lucy Gallant (1955), All That Heaven Allows (1955) and Miracle in the Rain (1956).

She came back to the big screen after her anthology series to replace Gene Tierney in Holiday for Lovers (1959), Pollyanna (1960), Bon Voyage (1962), and her final big screen movie How to Commit Marriage (1969). Also, she starred in 2 unsold pilots of the 1960s and 1970s, and went on semi-retirement that same decade.

Television work

In the 1950s, she hosted a television anthology series, Jane Wyman Theater, where she was nominated for only 1 Emmy Award in 1957, but didn't win. After her ex-husband Ronald Reagan became the 40th President, in late 1980, she gained fans of a new generation in the 1980s when she starred as the diabolical vintner Angela Channing in the nighttime soap opera Falcon Crest, with the encouragement of her ex-husband. When she came to the show in 1981, her character played second-fiddle to J.R. Ewing on Dallas and Alexis Carrington on Dynasty, and during its first season, it was a ratings winner, and during its second season in 1982, the writers of Falcon Crest were told to make the storylines a lot more dramatic and soapier, as her series played second-fiddle to its other 80s soaps, Dallas & it's spin-off show, Knots Landing, which will win the ratings easily. For her role, she was nominated for a Soap Opera Digest Award, five times between Outstanding Actress in a Leading Role and for Outstanding Villainess: Prime Time Serial, numerous time, and was nominated for a Golden Globe between 1983 and 1984. That same year, she won the Golden Globe for Best Performance By an Actress in a TV Series. Despite of the popularity, in 1986, after she had abdominal surgery, she was forced to miss only 2 episodes, which led to her character, Angela disappearing in the valley after being arrested for her nephew Chase's wines. In 1988, she renegotiated her contract from the production company as she became the highest-paid actress. That same year, she missed only one episode and was told by doctor's to end the show from there, but always wanted to keep working in order to remain popular. She completed almost all the episodes of the 1988-89 season, while her health was still deteoriating. In 1989, while the show still had low ratings, she was hospitalized with diabetes and a liver ailment, and the doctors told Wyman that she couldn't work any longer, and for most of the 9th and final season, Angela was to lay comatose in a hospital bed, while her family was fighting over as to who got Falcon Crest, in her absence. While she was away from the set, the show also had bad scripts, as well. In 1990, after she went against her doctor's advice, she came back to the show for the final three episodes, and wrote a great soliloquy on the series finale. She stayed throughout the entire run of the show, especially when health problems had plagued her over the years, having to appear in 208 of the 227 episodes of the series.

Private life

A devout Catholic convert, Jane Wyman has lived in reclusion for a number of years due to declining health (she suffers from arthritis and diabetes), and apparently tends to be seen in public only at funerals, such as for her late daughter, Maureen Reagan, and her late best friend Loretta Young.

Academy Awards and Nominations

Wyman has two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; one for motion pictures at 6607 Hollywood Blvd. and one for television at 1620 Vine Street.


TV appearances

External links

de:Jane Wyman sv:Jane Wyman