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Jane Wyman, Award Winner – MovieActors.com

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Wyman in THE LOST WEEKEND.

Jane Wyman: Best Actress 1948: MovieActors.com

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JOHNNY BELINDA (Drama)

Jane Wyman received her Best Actress award for playing the deaf-mute heroine who has to fight to keep her illegitimate child, the result of a sexual assault.















About Jane Wyman (1917 – 2007)

Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917, in St. Joseph, Missouri, the youngest of three children. Her father was Manning Jefferies Mayfield, who worked as a meal company laborer. Her mother, Gladys Hope Christian worked as a medical stenographer and office assistent. When Jane was fours years old, Gladys filed for divorce. This was the beginning of a rather hard, bleak early childhood.

When Jane's father died young at 37; a year later in 1922, Gladys took the older children, and moved to Cleveland, Ohiobut; but giving little Sarah Jane to her middle-aged neighbors. Jane became the foster child and unofficially adopted by of the chief of detectives in St Joseph, Richard D. Fulks, and his wife, Emma. Richard D. Fulksvery was very strict; being light on affection and humor, and a firm believer in using negative consequences for any perceived offense or mistake. Uh oh!

In an 1964 interview, Jane commented about her childhood about growing up in a solemn, humorless, squelching home situation. "Shyness is not a small problem; it can cripple the whole personality. It crippled mine for many years. As a child, my only solution to the problem of shyness was to hide, to make myself as small and insignificant as possible. All through grade school, I was a well-mannered little shadow who never spoke above a whisper."

Her determination, her confidence, and willingness to work hard came from somewhere, and this is the gift that someone gave her during her growing up years. She also was able to love her own children which means she did get emotional support from someone; perhaps her foster mother, after her foster father died.

Jane was able to overcome her shyness as well, and wound up with a huge amount of good and best friends in Hollywood. Everyone loved her. Though Jane remained a very private person, she was friends with just about all the major and minor actors and actresses, plus others involved with the business. In an interview, she shard her philosphy on relationships with people; "The opportunity for brotherhood presents itself everytime you meet a human being."

Jane unofficially took the last name of her foster parents, Fulks, on her school records, and her first marriage. After Richard died when Jane was eleven in 1928, Emma and Jane moved to California to be near Emma's children from Emma's first marriage. In 1930, Emma and Jane moved back to St. Joseph.

This award-winning American leading lady of the forties and fifties got her start as a singer on the radio at a very young age. In 1932 , Jane returned to California with her foster mother; determined to become an actress. As a fifteen year old, She added three years to her birth date, to say that she was 18, so she could work legally.

Somehow, Jane finished high school and graduated, either in St. Joseph or a school in California, or her foster mother home-schooled her. There are conflicting reports from various resources. However, at some point, Jane studied music at the University of Missouri in Columbia, Missouri.

Jane Wyman made her first movie in 1932, as an uncredited dancer in a MGM picture, THE KID FROM SPAIN, just before she became a contract actress for Warner Brothers. Jane was an uncredited actress in bit parts in Warner Brother's B movies from 1932-1937, which allowed her to pay her bills. Her first credited film was in SMART BLONDE, portraying Dixie, the hat check girl.

Her second marriage was to Myron Futterman on June 29th, 1937. This husband was 15 years her senior, and a successful businessman. The marriage only lasted one year, because she wanted children, and he didn't.

Jane first met Ronald Reagan in the 1938 film; BROTHER RAT, and were borth cast in the sequel as well. BROTHER RAT AND BABY, in 1940. Jane and Ron were engaged at the Chicago Theatre, and were married in January of 1940.

Jane and Ron had three children. Maureen; (1941-2001), adopted son, Michael; (1945), and a baby daughter; Christine, who was born premature and died the same day in 1947.

Jane Wyman talked Warner Brothers Studio into loaning her to MGM, to be cast as the girlfriend of alcoholic Ray Milland in the 1945 Billy Wilder drama, LOST WEEKEND, in which his fall into alcoholism is recounted. The movie was nominated for an Oscar for Best Picture, and opened the door to A-rated movies and stardom.

While preparing for “Johnny Belinda,” Miss Wyman studied at a school for the deaf for six months, learning sign language. She memorized the lines of the other actors and performed with her ears plugged.

Jane Wyman won the Best Actress Oscar forher performance in this 1948 movie, JOHNNY BELINDA; with a plotline that takes place on a small island. Jane plays a deaf mute, who is neglected by her family. Jane's character is helped by a young physician;(Lew Ayes), who teaches her lip reading and sign language. He comes to her aid, when she is raped and becomes pregnant.

Soon after Jane won an Oscar, Jane filed for divorce from Regan. Jane and Ron were divorced in 1949. Possible causes: Loosing a child damaged their relationship, her career was booming; meant not much time together, they were in opposite political parties at the time. Jane was a strong Republican, and Ron was still a Democrat.

Not surprisingly, Ron and Jane remained good friends. When Ronald Regan died, Jane said, "America has lost a great president, and a great, kind gentleman."

Great roles just kept coming. In 1951, Jane Wyman was nominated for an Oscar for her portrayal of a young widowed children's nurse, whose charges grow to adulthood and have differing ideas on how she should conduct her life, in the movie, THE BLUE VEIL.
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In 1952, Jane married music composer, Fred Karger, on November 1st, 1952. The marriage lasted until December of 1954. But, seven years later, Fred and Jane gave it another try, and remarried on March 11th, 1961. After four years, they divorced in March of 1965. Jane gave up on relationships, and was content to be single the rest of her life.
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Jane Wyman was nominated one more time for Best Actress, for the 1954 movie MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION, in which a spoiled rich man falls in love with the widow of a deceased local hero and must reinvent himself in order to earn her love and respect.

In the mid 1950s', Jane began to focus more on TV projects, doing fewer films. Jane Wyman continued working in films until 1969, and on television until 1993. She explained in an interview her preference for television; "The reason I enjoy TV more than pictures now is that I like the pace better. You've got so many hours to do so much, and you have to get it done."

On Febrary 8th, 1960, Jane won two Stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame; for both Television and Motion Pictures.

Jane is best known by a lot of people for playing vineyard matriarch Angela Channing from 1981-1990 on FALCON CREST, a prime time series. She was working with all her old friends on this show, and enjoyed it.

Jane's last television episode before she retired was in the 1993 episode of DR. QUINN9;(Jane Seymour), MEDICINE WOMAN, called THE VISITOR, playing Dr. Quinn's mother, Elizabeth Quinn.

After she retired, Jane concetrated on her family and hobbies: landscape painting, golfing, dancing, collecting CDs, listening to music, playing piano, singing, philanthropy, reading and politics.

Jane Wyman died on September 10th, 2007, from complications of diabetes and arthritis at the ripe old age of 90, in Palm Springs, California.

Jane Wyman's other Best Actress Nominations were for:

THE YEARLING (46)
BLUE VEIL (51)
MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (54)

Jane Wyman's notable movie credits include...

MY MAN GODFREY (1936)
BROTHER RAT AND A BABY (1940)
THE BODY DISAPPEARS (1941)
YOU'RE IN THE ARMY NOW (1941)
MY FAVOURITE SPY (1942)
PRINCESS O'ROURKE (1943)
THE LOST WEEKEND (1945)
JOHNNY BELINDA (1948)
THE GLASS MENAGERIE (1950)
STAGE FRIGHT (1950)
HERE COMES THE GROOM (1951)
THE STORY OF WILL ROGERS (1952)
SO BIG (1953)
ALL THAT HEAVEN ALLOWS (1955)
LUCY GALLANT (1955)
MIRACLE IN THE RAIN (1956)
HOLIDAY FOR LOVERS (1959)
POLLYANNA (1960)
BON VOYAGE (1962)
HOW TO COMMIT MARRIAGE (1969)

Jane Wyman's television credits include...

THE FAILING OF RAYMOND (1971)
THE INCREDIBLE JOURNEY OF DR. MEG LAUREL (TV movie 1979)
THE JANE WYMAN PRESENTS THE FIRESIDE THEATER (TV series 1955-1958)
FALCON CREST (1981)

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Jane Wyman with her co-stars in MAGNIFICENT OBSESSION (1954).

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Jane Wyman in THE LOST WEEKEND.

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Jane Wyman in JOHNNY BELINDA (1948).

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Wyman in POLLYANNA (1960).