Jane Wyman biography

Jane Wyman

Date of Birth: January 4, 1914

Birth Name: Sarah Jane Mayfield

Born in St. Joseph, Missouri, Jane Wyman was brought to Hollywood at an early age by her mother, an aspiring actress. She hoped to get her daughter into the movies, but they returned home after neither had any luck breaking in. After attending the University of Missouri, Jane became a successful radio singer in the early 1930s under the name Jane Durrell. In 1936, she was signed by Warner Brothers, changed her name to Jane Wyman, and began her film career with bit parts, often playing a chorus girl or a dancer. Married in 1936, she divorced two years later after meeting actor and future U.S. President Ronald Reagan while filming Brother Rat (1940). The two would go on to marry and had two children, Maureen and Michael, but the marriage ended in divorce eight years later.

Having graduated to substantial roles in dramas, Wyman won praise for her role as the wife of an alcoholic in The Lost Weekend (1945). She earned her first Oscar nomination the following year playing Ma Baxter in The Yearling (1946), and in 1949 won not only a Best Actress Oscar for her performance as a deaf-mute who is raped in Johnny Belinda (1948), but a Golden Globe and a Photoplay award for Most Popular Female Star. She went on to receive two more Oscar nominations for her roles in The Blue Veil (1951) and A Magnificent Obsession (1954), and has received three more Golden Globes: for World Film Favorite - Female in 1951, The Blue Veil in 1952 and the television series Falcon Crest in 1984. She hosted her own television series, Jane Wyman Presents The Fireside Theatre, in the mid-1950s, earning a 1957 Emmy nomination.

Also of note was her portrayal of Hayley Mills' gruff Aunt Polly in the beloved Disney film, Pollyanna (1960). The 1960s and 1970s were otherwise fairly quiet for Wyman career wise, but in 1981 she returned to the public eye with a bang in the hit TV series Falcon Crest, playing conniving matriarch Angela Channing for nine seasons. A diabetic, Wyman had to take a break for health reasons after filming two episodes of the ninth and final season, but returned for the last three episodes against her doctor's wishes. She also made a guest appearance on an episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman as Jane Seymour's mother in 1993, but retired soon after to her home in Rancho Mirage, California.

Wyman has been honored with two stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame and has the distinction of being the only wife of a future U.S. President (Reagan) to win an Oscar.

Jane Wyman Filmography

Actor:

  • How to Commit Marriage (1969)
  • Bon Voyage! (1962)
  • Pollyanna (1960)
  • Holiday for Lovers (1959)
  • All That Heaven Allows (1956)
  • Miracle in the Rain (1956)
  • Lucy Gallant (1955)
  • Magnificent Obsession (1954)
  • Let's Do It Again (1953)
  • So Big (1953)
  • Just for You (1952)
  • The Story of Will Rogers (1952)
  • Here Comes the Groom (1951)
  • Starlift (1951)
  • The Blue Veil (1951)
  • Three Guys Named Mike (1951)
  • Stage Fright (1950)
  • The Glass Menagerie (1950)
  • A Kiss in the Dark (1949)
  • The Lady Takes a Sailor (1949)
  • Johnny Belinda (1948)
  • Cheyenne (1947)
  • Magic Town (1947)
  • Movieland Magic (1946)
  • Night and Day (1946)
  • One More Tomorrow (1946)
  • The Yearling (1946)
  • The Lost Weekend (1945)
  • Crime by Night (1944)
  • Make Your Own Bed (1944)
  • The Doughgirls (1944)
  • Princess O'Rourke (1943)
  • Footlight Serenade (1942)
  • Larceny, Inc. (1942)
  • My Favorite Spy (1942)
  • Bad Men of Missouri (1941)
  • Honeymoon for Three (1941)
  • The Body Disappears (1941)
  • You're in the Army Now (1941)
  • An Angel from Texas (1940)
  • Brother Rat and a Baby (1940)
  • Flight Angels (1940)
  • Gambling On the High Seas (1940)
  • My Love Came Back (1940)
  • Tugboat Annie Sails Again (1940)
  • Kid Nightingale (1939)
  • Private Detective (1939)
  • Tail Spin (1939)
  • The Kid From Kokomo (1939)
  • Torchy Plays with Dynamite (1939)
  • Brother Rat (1938)
  • Fools for Scandal (1938) (uncredited)
  • He Couldn't Say No (1938)
  • The Crowd Roars (1938)
  • The Spy Ring (1938)
  • Wide Open Faces (1938)
  • Little Pioneer (1937)
  • Mr. Dodd Takes the Air (1937)
  • Over the Goal (1937) (uncredited)
  • Public Wedding (1937)
  • Ready, Willing and Able (1937)
  • Slim (1937)
  • Smart Blonde (1937)
  • The King and the Chorus Girl (1937)
  • The Singing Marine (1937)
  • Anything Goes (1936) (uncredited)
  • Bengal Tiger (1936) (uncredited)
  • Cain and Mabel (1936) (uncredited)
  • Gold Diggers of 1937 (1936) (uncredited)
  • Here Comes Carter (1936) (uncredited)
  • My Man Godfrey (1936) (uncredited)
  • Polo Joe (1936)
  • Stage Struck (1936) (uncredited)
  • The Sunday Round-Up (1936)
  • King of Burlesque (1935)
  • Rumba (1935) (uncredited)
  • Stolen Harmony (1935)
  • All the King's Horses (1934)
  • College Rhythm (1934) (uncredited)
  • Elmer, the Great (1933)
  • The Kid from Spain (1932)

Jane Wyman Photo