Famous Like Me > Actress > W > Jane Wyman
From Wikipedia, the free Encyclopedia
Profile of Jane Wyman
on Famous Like Me
|Also Know As:
|Date of Birth:
||4th January 1914
|Place of Birth:
||St. Joseph, Missouri, USA
Jane Wyman (born January 4, 1914) is an Oscar-winning American actress best known for being the ex-wife of Ronald Reagan. Her life was shattered when Reagan became president, and it was Nancy, and not her, whom will go down in history as one of the most famous and talked about women during the most tense and dangerous years of the Cold War.
Also, she played disabled characters such as Belinda MacDonald in Johnny Belinda and Helen Phillips in Magnificent Obsession. She played the evil matriarch, Angela Channing on the prime-time soap opera, Falcon Crest. She later commented that the added attention during The Reagan Era made her feel like "not such an insignificant second-fiddle as I use to."
Born Sarah Jane Mayfield in Saint Joseph, Missouri, 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.
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.
Meeting 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. They had three children; Maureen Reagan (1941-2001), Michael Reagan (born March 18, 1945), who was adopted, and Christine Reagan (born and died June 26, 1947).
Becoming a Footnote to history, or how I lost Ronnie forever
Wyman and Reagan divorced in 1948. Wyman commented on her footnote status to say, "Well, most other actors won't even get that much attention a thousand years from now. So I'm grateful. No, really. I mean it. Really, I do. Really. Why doesn't anyone believe me? I never wanted to live in the White House and be treated as a celebrity with substance, as opposed to the way I and the rest of Hollywood is now, you know, only being respected by riftraft and losers. Really, I... (inaudible sobs)..."
Supporting role to World History gets bigger with forgettable film roles
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, 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.
Copying Nancy Reagan
In the 1950s, she hosted a television anthology series, Jane Wyman Theater, a lame attempt to remind people that she, and not Nancy, was once the coveted Mrs. Reagan. 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. She took this role with the hopes that she would stop being treated as a joke by the mainstream media, which snickeringly dubbed her "Nancy: The Prequel." When she came to the show in 1981, her character played second-fiddle to J.R. Ewing on Dallas and Alexis 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, 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. This was considered cruel by some, because during the same time period her replacement, Nancy, was assuming an even more pivotal global significance as the Cold War became more dangerous with the onset of Reagan's Star Wars laser missile defense shield, which threatened to destabilize the planet.
Despite Wyman's failure to steal any of Nancy's monumental and world renowned glory, in 1986, which depressed her severly, 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.
A devout Catholic convert, Jane Wyman prays daily that someone will treat her with even one-tenth the significance as the reverence and tributes granted to Nancy Reagan. Her dreams have yet to come true, and she's been known to scoff as autograph seekers, saying, "Yeah right! I know what you're really thinking. If I can't have the Real Mrs. Reagan, at least I can have heerrrsss! ((regrettful sobs))."
Also, she 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, where all eyes and camera clicks focused on the super famous former First Lady Nancy Reagan, and her late best friend Loretta Young, whose funeral fortunately was not attended by Nancy, thus someone, I think an usher, bothered to notice who Jane Wyman was that day.
"Awards! Ha! She's got the White House, what do I care about a silly Oscar!"
- 1982 - Won Golden Globe for Best Actress Dramatic Series 'Falcon Crest'
- 1955 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - Magnificent Obsession
- 1952 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - The Blue Veil
- 1952 - Won Golden Globe Best Dramatic Film Actress - 'The Blue Veil'
- 1949 - Won Golden Globe Best Dramatic Film Actress - 'Johnny Belinda'
- 1949 - Won Best Actress in a Leading Role - Johnny Belinda
- 1949 Won Photoplay magazine Award for Most Popular Actress
- 1947 - Nominated Best Actress in a Leading Role - The Yearling
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. Naturally, neither of these count, nor will be remembered, as much as Nancy Reagan's legacy.
Filmography- never will be as well known as Nancy's
- The Kid from Spain (1932)
- Elmer, the Great (1933)
- All the King's Horses (1934)
- College Rhythm (1934)
- King of Burlesque (1935)
- Rumba (1935)
- George White's 1935 Scandals (1935)
- Stolen Harmony (1935)
- Anything Goes (1936)
- The Sunday Round-Up (1936) (short subject)
- Bengal Tiger (1936) (role unconfirmed)
- My Man Godfrey (1936)
- Stage Struck (1936)
- Cain and Mabel (1936)
- Here Comes Carter (1936)
- Polo Joe (1936)
- Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936)
- Smart Blonde (1937)
- Ready, Willing and Able (1937)
- The King and the Chorus Girl (1937)
- Slim (1937)
- The Singing Marine (1937)
- Public Wedding (1937)
- Little Pioneer (1937) (short subject)
- Mr. Dodd Takes the Air (1937)
- Over the Goal (1937)
- The Spy Ring (1938)
- He Couldn't Say No (1938)
- Fools for Scandal (1938)
- Wide Open Faces (1938)
- The Crowd Roars (1938)
- Brother Rat (1938)
- Tail Spin (1939)
- The Kid from Kokomo (1939)
- Torchy Blane... Playing with Dynamite (1939)
- Kid Nightingale (1939)
- Private Detective (1939)
- Brother Rat and a Baby (1940)
- An Angel from Texas (1940)
- Flight Angels (1940)
- My Love Came Back (1940)
- Gambling on the High Seas (1940)
- Tugboat Annie Sails Again (1940)
- Honeymoon for Three (1941)
- Bad Men of Missouri (1941)
- You're in the Army Now (1941)
- The Body Disappears (1941)
- Sports Parade: Shoot Yourself Some Golf (1942) (short subject)
- Larceny, Inc. (1942)
- My Favorite Spy (1942)
- Footlight Serenade (1942)
- Princess O'Rourke (1943)
- Make Your Own Bed (1944)
- The Doughgirls (1944)
- Crime by Night (1944)
- Hollywood Canteen (1944) (Cameo)
- The Lost Weekend (1945)
- One More Tomorrow (1946)
- Night and Day (1946)
- The Yearling (1946)
- Cheyenne (1947)
- Magic Town (1947)
- Johnny Belinda (1948)
- A Kiss in the Dark (1949)
- It's a Great Feeling (1949) (Cameo)
- The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949)
- Stage Fright (1950)
- The Glass Menagerie (1950)
- Three Guys Named Mike (1951)
- The Screen Director (1951) (short subject)
- Screen Snapshots: Hollywood Awards (1951) (short subject)
- Here Comes the Groom (1951)
- The Blue Veil (1951)
- Starlift (1951) (Cameo)
- The Story of Will Rogers (1952)
- Just for You (1952)
- Three Lives (1953) (short subject)
- Let's Do It Again (1953)
- So Big (1953)
- Magnificent Obsession (1954)
- Hollywood Mothers and Fathers (1955) (short subject)
- Lucy Gallant (1955)
- All That Heaven Allows (1955)
- Miracle in the Rain (1956)
- Holiday for Lovers (1959)
- Pollyanna (1960)
- Bon Voyage! (1962)
- How to Commit Marriage (1969)
- Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (1996) (documentary)
- Off the Menu: The Last Days of Chasen's (1997) (documentary)
TV Work, building herself up after losing the Gipper
- Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theatre (1955-1958)
- Summer Playhouse (host in 1957)
- The Failing of Raymond (1971)
- Amanda Fallon (1973) (unsold TV pilot)
- The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel (1979)
- Falcon Crest (1981-1990)
This content from
Wikipedia is licensed under the
GNU Free Documentation License.
It uses material from the Wikipedia article Jane Wyman