Dead, Jane Wyman on September 10, 2007 at the age of 90, born Sarah Jane Mayfield, she was an American singer, dancer, and film/television actress.
She received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Johnny Belinda (1948), and was a three time winner of The Golden Globe, she achieved a new level of success as Angela Channing in the 1980s prime time soap opera Falcon Crest.
In 1939, Wyman starred in Torchy Plays With Dynamite.
In 1941, she appeared in You’re in the Army Now, in which she and Regis Toomey had the longest screen kiss in cinema history: 3 minutes and 5 seconds.
She was the first person in the sound era to win an acting Oscar without speaking a line of dialogue.
In an amusing acceptance speech, perhaps poking fun at some of her long-winded counterparts, Wyman took her statue and said only, “I accept this, very gratefully, for keeping my mouth shut once.
I think I’ll do it again.” The Oscar win gave her the ability to choose higher profile roles, although she still showed a liking for musical comedy.
She worked with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock on Stage Fright (1950), Frank Capra on Here Comes the Groom (1951) and Michael Curtiz on The Story of Will Rogers (1952).
In the spring of 1981, Wyman’s career enjoyed a resurgence when she was cast as the scheming Californian vintner and matriarch Angela Channing in The Vintage Years, which was retooled as the primetime soap opera Falcon Crest.
The series, which ran from December 1981 to May 1990, was created by Earl Hamner, who had created The Waltons a decade earlier.
Also starring on the show was an already established character actress, Susan Sullivan, as Angela’s niece-in-law, Maggie Gioberti, and the relatively unknown actor Lorenzo Lamas as Angela’s irresponsible grandson, Lance Cumson.
The on- and off-screen chemistry between Wyman and Lamas helped fuel the series’ success.
In its first season, Falcon Crest was a ratings hit, behind other 1980s prime-time soap operas, such as Dallas and Knots Landing, but initially ahead of rival soap opera Dynasty.
Jane Wyman was married several times.
According to Edmund Morris’ biography of Ronald Reagan, in 1933, a 16 year-old Jane Mayfield married Ernest Eugene Wyman.
The actress married another Warner studio contract actor, Ronald Reagan, in 1940.
The following year she gave birth to a daughter, Maureen.
They later adopted a son, Michael, who became a conservative radio host.
The couple also had a daughter who was born several months premature in June 1947, and died one day later.
Wyman was nominated six times for a Soap Opera Digest Award, and in 1984 she won the Golden Globe for Best Performance by an Actress in a TV Series Drama.
By the show’s eighth season, however, she was emotionally drained and the strain of constantly working to keep up the quality of a hit show took its toll on her.
In addition, there was friction on the set among cast members.
All of these events culminated in her departure from the show after the first two episodes of the ninth season (her character was hospitalized and slipped into a coma) for health reasons.
After a period of recuperation, she believed that she had recovered enough to guest-star in the last three episodes of the season (her doctor disagreed, but she did it anyway).
She then guest-starred as Jane Seymour’s mother on Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman (1993) and three years later appeared in Wild Bill: Hollywood Maverick (1995).