Jane Wyman was an Oscar-winning American actress who enjoyed a successful career in film, television, and radio. Born Sarah Jane Mayfield on January 5, 1917, in Saint Joseph, Missouri, she ascended to stardom during the Golden Age of Hollywood and became notable for her versatility across various genres.
Wyman began her acting career in the 1930s, working initially under the stage name Jane Durrell. Her early movie appearances were often in small roles, but her talents did not go unnoticed. It wasn't until the early 1940s that her career began to gain significant momentum. She signed with Warner Bros. and emerged as a leading lady in several of their films.
One of her most renowned performances was in the 1946 film "The Yearling," for which she received an Academy Award nomination for Best Actress. However, it was her role in the 1948 movie "Johnny Belinda" that earned her an Academy Award for Best Actress. In this film, she played the part of a deaf-mute rape survivor, a challenging and critically acclaimed performance.
Wyman continued to be a prominent figure in cinema throughout the 1950s, starring in well-received films like "The Blue Veil" (1951) and "Magnificent Obsession" (1954), where she was nominated for Oscars for both performances.
Beyond her film work, Wyman transitioned successfully into television, most notably starring in the popular prime-time soap opera "Falcon Crest" from 1981 to 1990. Her role as matriarch Angela Channing demonstrated her ability to adapt to changing trends in the entertainment industry and secured her status as a household name for a new generation of viewers.
Aside from her professional life, Jane Wyman was also famous for her personal life, particularly her marriage to Ronald Reagan, whom she married in 1940. The couple had three children and adopted a fourth. They divorced in 1948; Reagan went on to become the 40th President of the United States.
Wyman had the distinction of being the first person to have won an Oscar and then marry a future President of the United States. Despite her former husband's political prominence, she made a point of not discussing her politics publicly, even after Reagan became president.
In terms of accolades, aside from her Oscar win and nominations, Wyman also received multiple Golden Globe Awards and had been nominated for Emmy Awards for her television work.
Jane Wyman's acting career spanned over six decades, demonstrating her longevity and talent in the industry. She passed away on September 10, 2007, at the age of 90. Her passing marked the end of an era for those who cherished the Golden Age of Hollywood.