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Jane Wyatt Poster

Biography

Jump to: Overview (4) | Mini Bio (1) | Spouse (1) | Trivia (22) | Personal Quotes (4)

Overview (4)

Born in Campgaw, New Jersey, USA
Died in Bel-Air, California, USA  (natural causes)
Birth NameJane Waddington Wyatt
Height 5' 4" (1.63 m)

Mini Bio (1)

Born in Campgaw, New Jersey, Jane Waddington Wyatt came from a New York family of social distinction (her father was a Wall Street investment banker and her mother was a drama critic). Jane was raised from the age of three months in New York City and attended the fashionable Chapin School and later Barnard College. After two years of college, she left to join the apprentice school of the Berkshire Playhouse at Stockbridge, Massachusetts, where for six months she played an assortment of roles. One of her first jobs on Broadway was as understudy to Rose Hobart in a production of "Trade Winds"--a career move that cost her her slot on the New York Social Register. Wyatt made the transition from stage to screen and was placed under contract at Universal, where she made her film debut in director James Whale's One More River (1934). She went back and forth between Universal and Broadway (and co-starred in Frank Capra's Columbia film Lost Horizon (1937) on loan out from Universal). In the 1950s, she co-starred with Robert Young in Father Knows Best (1954), the classic sitcom chronicling the life and times of the Anderson family in the Midwestern town of Springfield. Jane Wyatt died at age 96 of natural causes at her home in Bel-Air, California on October 20, 2006.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Tom Weaver <TomWeavr@aol.com>

Spouse (1)

Edgar Bethune Ward (9 November 1935 - 8 November 2000) (his death) (2 children)

Trivia (22)

Joined Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and other Hollywood stars on a flight to Washington in 1947 to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings.
Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award (1986).
She was a devout Catholic, whose late husband died on the day before what would have been their 65th wedding anniversary.
In Lost Horizon (1937), she worked for director Frank Capra. In Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986), the first assistant director was Frank Capra III.
Had three grandchildren and five great-grandchildren.
She was directly descended, on her mother's side, from the van Renssalaer family, one of the earliest Dutch families to settle in the Colonies, as early as 1638, and which at one time owned most of what is now New York City. Renssalaer County in upstate New York is named after them. From the same line, she was also a great-great-great-great-granddaughter of Philip Livingston, signer of the Declaration of Independance.
Won three consecutive Emmy Awards for her portrayal of Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best (1954).
Jean Vander Pyl played the wifely role opposite Robert Young on the "Father Knows Best" radio program in 1949. However, both Young and Eugene B. Rodney, Young's partner in ownership and production of the series, wanted Wyatt to play the role when it went to television.
Was an invaluable member of the March of Dimes charitable organization since 1943. Donations were directed toward the March of Dimes at the time of her death.
Was a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) (Actors Branch).
Received a special tribute as part of the Annual Memorial tribute at The 79th Annual Academy Awards (2007).
Today, those who fondly recall her in the archetypal 1950s family sitcom Father Knows Best (1954) may be surprised to learn that when the series debuted in 1954, the series did so poorly in the ratings that CBS canceled it in March 1955. A flood of protests came from viewers insisting that the series be reinstated. The series was moved to an earlier time, and it gradually became a hit.
She was awarded a Star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame at 6350 Hollywood Boulevard in Hollywood, California on February 8, 1960.
Turned down the role of Old Rose in Titanic (1997) with the reasoning that she wanted to remain in retirement. The role went to Gloria Stuart.
Following her death, she was interred with her husband Edgar Bethune Ward at San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Mission Hills, California.
Best remembered by the public for her starring role as Margaret Anderson on Father Knows Best (1954).
Along with Ricardo Montalban, Ms. Wyatt was among several established Hollywood actors who has a role on the original Star Trek (1966) series (episode "Journey to Babel") in addition to appearing 20 years later in a feature film (Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home (1986)).
Attended Miss Chapin's School and Barnard College.
She was a staunch liberal Democrat.
Gave birth to her 2nd child at age 33, a son Michael Ward on September 10, 1943. Child's father was her husband, Edgar Ward.
Gave birth to her 1st child at age 26, a son Christopher Ward on June 22, 1937. Child's father was her husband, Edgar Ward.
Daughter of Christopher (March 19, 1882-July 30, 1931) and Euphemia (née Waddington) Wyatt (April 1, 1884-January 31, 1978). Both were born and raised in the state of New York.

Personal Quotes (4)

[on why she initially turned down the role on Father Knows Best (1954)] I'd been doing a lot of live TV drama in which I was the star. I didn't want to be just a mother.
I never vacuumed at home wearing my pearls. In fact, I never vacuumed at all. I was always working at the studio. I would have gone crazy staying at home like Margaret Anderson, and my family knew that.
I was never a member of the Communist Party, but they brought up all sorts of charges that I had been to the Lab Theater, which was considered subversive. All we did there were the classics, "Volpone", "The Cherry Orchard". I still don't know how they managed to find a Marxist subtext in Feydeau.
Our shows were written to be entertaining, but the writers had something to say. Every script always solved a little problem that was universal. It appealed to everyone. I think the world is hankering for a family. People may want to be free, but they still want a nuclear family.

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