Monday, April 11, 2011

Jane Wyman

I thought I would follow up Friday's game with some information on Jane Wyman, Reagan's first wife:
Jane Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield in St. Joseph, Missouri, on January 5, 1917. Her parents divorced in 1921 and her father died unexpectedly the following year. She took the name Sarah Jane Fulks in honor of her neighbors, who officially adopted her after her father died.

Wyman toiled for a decade in mostly B-movie fare and supporting roles in bigger films. But she gained notice in 1945 for her role as the girlfriend of a chronic alcoholic in Billy Wilder's drama The Lost Weekend. Wyman went on to give a string of Oscar-nominated performances, beginning with The Yearling opposite Gregory Peck in 1946.

She won the Oscar as best actress for her 1948 role as a teenage deaf-mute raped in Johnny Belinda, the first person in the sound era to win an acting Oscar without speaking a line of dialogue.

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 a day later. Jane Wyman and Reagan divorced in 1948. Their daughter Maureen died in August 2001 after a battle with cancer. Wyman attended the funeral but Reagan, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was not well enough to attend.

Jane Wyman died on September 10, 2007, at her home in Rancho Mirage, California at the age of 90.

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