Famous for her roles in films including “Brother Rat,” “Stage Fright,” “Magnificent Obsession,” “All That Heaven Allows,” and “Johnny Belinda,” for which she won an Oscar, Jane Wyman was a prolific actress. Her stint as the lead on the daytime drama “Falcon Crest” brought her renewed fame later in her career.
In addition to her acting career, Wyman is remembered as the first wife of Ronald Reagan, who would later become president of the United States. Their marriage lasted from 1940 to 1949. On the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 1960, she received two stars: one for movies and another for television. On September 10, 2007, at the age of 90, Jane Wyman passed away.
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Jane Wyman’s Formative Years
Sarah Jane Mayfield was born on January 5, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri, and later changed her name to Jane Wyman. Manning, who ran a meal delivery service, and Gladys, a medical secretary, brought her up. She was able to call on two brothers and sisters who had taken her into foster care.
My first blog post is now up! 💛
I’m so glad to finally share my experience of visiting Jane’s former home last month. I hope you all enjoy reading about it!
— Jane Wyman (@janewymans) July 27, 2018
Wyman’s parents divorced while she was young, and her father passed away not long after.
Wyman’s mother then relocated to Ohio, so Richard and Emma were left to raise him as their own. Wyman and her foster mother made the trip to Southern California when she was 11 years old.
They stayed there for a while but eventually returned to their home state of Missouri. Wyman attended Lafayette High School for only two years before dropping out at the age of 15.
How Would You Describe Jane Wyatt’s Accent?
It didn’t matter what movie she was in, she always had the same sophisticated and upper-crust accent. I couldn’t help but wonder: was she acting? Pinko or Commie?
It was because of IMDb that I learned Jane Wyatt, the actress who plays Margaret, was born into a well-known banking family in New York. Her family’s roots trace all the way back to the 1600s in the Netherlands.
Death of Jane Wyman, Academy Award-winning Actress
Jane Wyman, a future president’s ex-wife and an Oscar winner in her own right, married Ronald Reagan and afterward converted to Catholicism and gave generously to various Catholic organizations.
In her Rancho Mirage home on September 10th, Ms. Wyman passed away. The reason for the death was never given. Her official age was reported to be 90, although other researchers believed she was actually 93.
San Bernardino Bishop Gerald R. Barnes released a statement on September 10 mourning the loss of “not only a brilliant actress but a great woman of religion and a personal friend” in the passing of Jane Wyman.
Bishop Barnes remarked that “her support to the mission of the Catholic Church in the Coachella Valley and the Diocese of San Bernardino made possible many magnificent things,” including the Blessed Junipero Serra House of Formation.
Ms. Wyman was also an avid backer of Covenant House and Our Lady of the Angels Monastery in Hollywood.
A fellow Catholic actress, Loretta Young (who passed away in 2000), was said to be a close friend of hers, and the two often attended Mass together.
In the 1948 film “Johnny Belinda,” she played the role of a deaf-mute woman named Belinda McDonald who becomes pregnant as a result of rape and subsequently causes a scandal. Other films for which she was nominated include “The Yearling” (1946), in which she played Gregory Peck’s country wife,
The Blue Veil” (1951), in which she played a nurse seen through the years, and “Magnificent Obsession” (1954), in which she played a blind woman who falls in love with the playboy who accidentally kills her husband.
Mr. Reagan first saw her in her big role in the 1938 film “Brother Rat.” Starring roles in films include “The Lost Weekend,” “The Glass Menagerie,” “The Story of Will Rogers,” “All That Heaven Allows,” and “Pollyanna,” among others. More than eighty films featured her acting abilities.
After Ms. Wyman’s final film in 1969, she found renewed popularity on television as the matriarch of a California wine family in the hit daytime serial series “Falcon Crest.” Her final TV role was as Elizabeth Quinn, Dr. Quinn’s grandmother, on the second episode of the show.
She married Mr. Reagan for the third time. She later tied the knot twice with Fred Karger, a Hollywood music director, only to end up in divorce both times. Some women just aren’t the marrying kind, or at least not the permanent marriage kind, and I am one of those ladies,” Ms. Wyman once said.
There were two daughters born to Ms. Wyman and Mr. Reagan; one, Maureen, passed away in 2001; at her funeral Mass, Ms. Wyman placed a cross on top of Maureen’s casket; and the other, a girl, died shortly after delivery due to preterm birth. Michael Reagan, a contemporary syndication radio broadcaster, is the child she and Mr. Reagan adopted.
Ms. Wyman was a national chairwoman for the Arthritis Foundation for a long time. In 1977, she was honored with the Arthritis Foundation’s highest national award, the Charles B. Harding Award. The Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award was established by the Southern California chapter of the foundation in her name.
Ms. Wyman was a landscape painter in her spare time.
She informed one reporter that she was content being alone. “I have always believed that I was essentially alone at the beginning of my life and that I shall be essentially alone at the end of it,” Ms. Wyman remarked.
Why did Jane Wyman become well-known?
In Johnny Belinda, she made her name playing a deaf-mute victim of rape (1948). The film was a smashing success, earning Wyman an Academy Award for Best Actress, and she spent nearly six months preparing for her role. She made history by becoming the first Oscar winner for best actress in the sound era who did not deliver a single line of dialogue.
To Whom Does the Reagan Ranch Now Belong?
A small lake on the property provided the President and First Lady Reagan with an opportunity to go canoeing. Most of the Reagan family’s pets as well as ranch animals are laid to rest at Rancho del Cielo. In 1998, Young America’s Foundation purchased the property.
What About a Trip to Rancho Del Cielo?
The property has been preserved by the conservative Young America Foundation as a “living memorial to Reagan’s beliefs, values, and lasting accomplishments” since Nancy Reagan’s final visit in 1998. Young America’s Foundation provides… even though the ranch is not open to the general public.
Oscar-winning actress Jane Wyman passed away at her Rancho Mirage home on September 10th. Her official age was reported to be 90, although other researchers believed she was 93. She married Ronald Reagan and converted to Catholicism after the couple’s marriage.
Jane Wyman married President Ronald Reagan for the third time and had two daughters. She was a landscape painter in her spare time.
“Some women just aren’t the marrying kind, or at least not the permanent marriage kind,” Ms. Wyman once said.
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