'Johnny Belinda' Actress Jane Wyman Dies

Jane Wyman as Belinda MacDonald in Johnny Belinda

Mon Sep 10, 6:05 PM ET

Jane Wyman won an Oscar for her role as a deaf rape victim in the film "Johnny Belinda" and she'll probably be best remembered for her portrayal of a power-mad winery owner in TV's "Falcon Crest."

But her greatest distinction may have been refusing to kiss and tell about her love life, most especially her marriage to future president Ronald Reagan.

Wyman died early Monday at her Palm Springs home, son Michael Reagan said. Wyman's age was listed as 93 in several reference books, however other sources, including the official family Web site, say she was 90.

"I have lost a loving mother, my children Cameron and Ashley have lost a loving grandmother, my wife Colleen has lost a loving friend she called Mom and Hollywood has lost the classiest lady to ever grace the silver screen," Reagan said in a statement.

Wyman's film career started in the 1930s and stretched from the "Gold Diggers of 1937" to 1969's "How to Commit Marriage," co-starring Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason. From 1981 to 1990 she played Angela Channing, a Napa Valley vintner who maintained her grip with a steely will on CBS' "Falcon Crest."

Her marriage in 1940 to fellow Warner Bros. contract player Ronald Reagan was celebrated in the fan magazines as one of Hollywood's ideal unions. While he was in uniform during World War II, her career ascended, signaled by her 1946 Oscar nomination for "The Yearling."

She and Reagan divorced in 1948, the year she won an Oscar for "Johnny Belinda." Reagan reportedly cracked to a friend: "Maybe I should name Johnny Belinda as co-respondent."

After Reagan became governor of California and then president of the United States, Wyman kept a decorous silence about her ex-husband, who had married actress Nancy Davis. In a 1968 newspaper interview, Wyman explained the reason:

"It's not because I'm bitter or because I don't agree with him politically. I've always been a registered Republican. But it's bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives, that's all. Also, I don't know a damn thing about politics."

A few days after Reagan died on June 5, 2004, Wyman broke her silence, saying: "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man."

Warner Bros. signed Wyman to a long-term contract in 1936, and the studio was notorious for typecasting its contract players.

Wyman suffered that fate. She recalled in 1968: "For 10 years I was the wisecracking lady reporter who stormed the city desk snapping, `Stop the presses! I've got a story that will break this town wide open!'"

In 1937, Wyman married a wealthy manufacturer of children's clothes, Myron Futterman, in New Orleans. The marriage was reported as her second, but an earlier marriage was never confirmed. She divorced him in November 1938, declaring she wanted children and he didn't.

The actress became entranced by Reagan, a handsome former sportscaster who was a newcomer to the Warner lot. She finagled a date with him, and romance ensued.

After returning from a personal appearance tour with columnist Louella Parsons, they were married on Jan. 26, 1940. The following year she gave birth to a daughter, Maureen. They later adopted a son, Michael. They also had a daughter who was born several months premature in June 1947 and died a day later.

In Reagan's autobiography "An American Life," the index shows only one mention of Wyman, and it runs for only two sentences.

Their daughter Maureen died in August 2001 after a battle with cancer. At the funeral, Wyman, balancing on a cane, put a cross on the casket. Reagan, suffering from Alzheimer's disease, was not well enough to attend.

Wyman escaped B-pictures by persuading Jack Warner to loan her to Paramount for "The Lost Weekend." The film won the Academy Award for 1945 and led to another loanout to MGM for "The Yearling." De-glamourized as a backwoods wife and mother, the actress received her first Oscar nomination.

After 40 films at Warner Bros., Wyman achieved her first acting challenge with "Johnny Belinda." When Jack Warner saw a rough cut of the film, he ranted to the director, Jean Negulesco: "We invented talking pictures, and you make a picture about a deaf and dumb girl!"

He changed his attitude when "Johnny Belinda" received 12 Academy Award nominations and the Oscar for Jane Wyman.

Wyman continued making prestigious films such as "The Glass Menagerie," Alfred Hitchcock's "Stage Fright" and "Here Comes the Groom" (with Bing Crosby). Two tearjerkers, "The Blue Veil" (1951) and "Magnificent Obsession" (1954), brought her Oscar nominations as best actress.

Other film credits included: "So Big," "Lucy Gallant," "All That Heaven Allows," "Miracle in the Rain," "Holiday for Lovers," "Pollyanna" and "Bon Voyage!"

Her first entry into television came with "The Jane Wyman Show," an anthology series that appeared on NBC from 1955 to 1958. She introduced the shows, half of them starring herself, half with other actors. She quit the show after three years, saying that "putting on a miniature movie once a week" was exhausting.

In 1952 Wyman married Fred Karger, a studio music director. They divorced, later remarried and divorced the second time in 1965.

When Wyman received the script for "Falcon Crest," she was undecided about undertaking the nasty, power-hungry Angela Channing, so different from the self-sacrificing characters of her movie days.

But she liked the idea that Angela "runs everything. She goes straight through everything like a Mack truck."

Riding the wave of prime-time soap operas that made "Dallas" and "Dynasty" national sensations, "Falcon Crest" lasted nine seasons. The series ended with Angela again in control of the vineyard. Her battered family raised their glasses in a toast: "The land endures."

"Next to my parents, Jane was the most influential person in my young career," said Lorenzo Lamas, who starred with Wyman on "Falcon Crest." "She has left an incredible body of work and accomplishments that cannot go without being recognized and celebrated. I will miss her greatly."

After Reagan became president in 1981, his former wife gave few interviews and responded to questions about him with a stony look. When "Falcon Crest" ended, she withdrew from public view. She saw a few intimates and devoted much time to painting.

"She was a wonderful woman and great to work with," said actress Jane Seymour, who starred in TV's "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," where Wyman guest-starred in a 1993 episode as Seymour's mother. "She was an amazing pro."

Wyman summed up her long career in a 1981 newspaper interview: "I've been through four different cycles in pictures: the brassy blonde, then came the musicals, the high dramas, then the inauguration of television."

Born Sarah Jane Fulks in St. Joseph, Mo, she grew up in a cheerless home in which her mother's time was devoted to her seriously ailing husband. After her father died, Sarah Jane accompanied her mother to Los Angeles, where the girl tried to get jobs in the studios. There was no work for the snub-nosed teenager, and she returned to St. Joseph.

She attended the University of Missouri, worked as a manicurist and switchboard operator, then sang on radio as Jane Durrell. When that career dwindled, she decided to try Hollywood again, began playing bit parts, and changed Durrell to Wyman.


Jane Wyman - A Kiss in the Dark

Jane and Her Oscar

Jane and Her Oscar


Jane Wyman, 90; Oscar-winning actress and first wife of President Reagan Dead

Jane Wyman, the Academy Award-winning actress whose long and distinguished film and television career was nearly overshadowed by her real-life role as the first wife of actor-turned-politician Ronald Reagan, died Monday. She was 90.

Wyman, who had been in failing health for several years, died at her home in Rancho Mirage, said Michael Mesnick, her longtime business manager.

Wyman's son, radio personality Michael Reagan, said in a statement: "I have lost a loving mother; my children, Cameron and Ashley, have lost a loving grandmother; my wife, Colleen, has lost a loving friend she called Mom; and Hollywood has lost the classiest lady to ever grace the silver screen."

Veteran Paramount producer A.C. Lyles, who first met Wyman in the late 1930s through his friendship with Reagan, told The Times that Wyman "was not only a fine actress but a darling, dear lady."

"I think she was an inspiration to all young actresses because she started as a minor actress and worked her way through the ranks to become not only one of Hollywood's prominent leading ladies but an Academy Award winner," he said.

After arriving in Hollywood from St. Louis in the mid-1930s, Wyman learned her craft as a contract player before getting a chance at the major roles that would secure her reputation as a star. She won her Oscar playing a deaf-mute rape victim in 1948's "Johnny Belinda" and was nominated for her performances in "The Yearling" (1946), "The Blue Veil" (1951) and "Magnificent Obsession" (1954).

In the 1950s, the early days of television, she staked out a career in that medium with her own half-hour dramatic anthology show. And years after her film career waned, she became familiar to millions more television viewers as the matriarch-you-love-to-hate in the long-running 1980s nighttime soap opera "Falcon Crest."

Still, hardly ever was Wyman's name mentioned in print without also referring to the second of her three husbands.

At the time they met in 1938, Reagan was an actor under contract with Warner Bros. After a well-publicized courtship, they wed Jan. 26, 1940, at Wee Kirk O' the Heather Church at Forest Lawn in Glendale.

The couple had two daughters, one of whom died after a premature birth. The other, Maureen Reagan, died of melanoma in 2001 at age 60. They also adopted a son, Michael, before divorcing in 1948.

Theirs would have been just another Hollywood marriage that landed on the rocks had Reagan not gone on to become governor of California and the 40th president of the United States.

Reagan, who was by then married to Nancy Davis and had two more children, was the first American president to have been divorced. Wyman had the dubious honor of being the first ex-wife of an American president.

Much to Wyman's irritation, she was the subject of constant questioning about Reagan, despite her well-known refusal to speak of him because she considered it "bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives." She was known to get up and leave an interview if a writer brought up his name.

"I made 86 films and 350 television shows," she told Newsday in 1989. "I've been in this business 54 years."

Rarely did she break her silence about her former husband, with the exception of a brief statement issued after his death on June 5, 2004: "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man."

She met Reagan when she played his girlfriend in "Brother Rat" in 1938 and appeared with him in the 1940 sequel, "Brother Rat and a Baby," and two other films, "Tugboat Annie Sails Again" and "An Angel From Texas" (both 1940). They had uncredited bit parts playing themselves in "It's a Great Feeling," which was released after their separation.

During divorce proceedings, Wyman -- who under the laws then in place was obligated to give cause for their separation -- said she didn't share Reagan's interest in politics and was bored by the constant talk about it. The divorce came at a time when her career was soaring and his was declining. She also had been linked with "Johnny Belinda" co-star Lew Ayres, and it is unclear whether Reagan was referring to the film or to Ayres when he wryly commented at the time, "I think I'll name 'Johnny Belinda' as co-respondent.' "

Reagan's 1990 autobiography, "An American Life," mentions his marriage to Wyman only to say that it had produced "two wonderful children" but that it "didn't work out."

With her brown eyes, turned-up nose and signature dark hairdo -- a pageboy with bangs -- Wyman was a familiar face to millions of fans and a prominent member of Old Hollywood. Her co-stars ranged from Gregory Peck in "The Yearling" to the young Rock Hudson, whose first starring role was opposite Wyman in "Magnificent Obsession." She also starred with Hudson in "All That Heaven Allows," which was the inspiration for writer-director Todd Haynes' "Far From Heaven" in 2002.

In the lighthearted 1951 film "Here Comes the Groom," Wyman and co-star Bing Crosby sang a duet of the Oscar-winning song "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening."

Her other starring roles included the 1953 screen version of Edna Ferber's best-selling novel "So Big," opposite Sterling Hayden, and "Miracle in the Rain," a 1956 World War II love story with Van Johnson. She was the stern aunt won over by Hayley Mills in 1960's "Pollyanna."

Wyman's last major film was with Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason in "How to Commit Marriage" in 1969. The remainder of her acting career was primarily in television, highlighted by her starring role on "Falcon Crest" on CBS. The role gave Wyman an opportunity to break away from her nice-girl image and play a female power broker intent on ruling over her family of winemakers at whatever cost.

"Falcon Crest" ran for nine seasons, peaking in popularity in 1983-84 and ending in 1990 after Wyman's character had spent much of the year in a coma.

Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield Fulks in St. Joseph, Mo., on Jan. 5, 1917. Her father died when she was young, and she was raised by her mother, who had ambitions for her daughter to be in Hollywood. Wyman attended the University of Missouri and for a time was a radio singer under the name of Jane Durrell.

Wyman got her start in films in the chorus of a 1932 Busby Berkeley movie beside other then-unknowns including Betty Grable and Paulette Goddard. After a string of films in which she was "third from the right in the front row of the chorus," she graduated to B movies playing, as Hollywood columnist Hedda Hopper once said, "brassy dames whose most incisive piece of repartee was, 'Oh, yeah?' " She changed her name to Wyman when she went under contract at Warner Bros. in 1936.

Like many actresses of the day, the light-haired Wyman at first bleached her hair Jean Harlow blond, but she later dyed it dark brown in order to be taken more seriously. She finally got noticed by Billy Wilder, who cast her opposite Ray Milland in the melodrama "The Lost Weekend" (1945), about a would-be writer on a boozy weekend in New York City. At last she had gotten the kind of role she had always wanted, and she didn't waste her opportunity. The film won the Oscar for Best Picture in 1946.

Her next major role was as Orry Baxter, the stern mother in "The Yearling," which earned her an Oscar nomination and completed her transformation into serious actress and leading lady.

"Mother's career consisted mostly of one depressingly serious part after another," Maureen Reagan wryly wrote in her 1989 memoir, "First Father, First Daughter."

In 1948, Wyman was cast in "Johnny Belinda" as a deaf-mute farm girl who is raped. To help her better play her character, she plugged her ears during filming, and at home she rarely spoke, preferring to use sign language, according to her son's 1988 memoir, "On the Outside Looking In."

"I learned the all-important thing: A deaf person hears with her eyes, just as a blind person sees with his ears," Wyman told Hedda Hopper.

Though not everyone liked the movie -- film historian and essayist David Thomson has called it an "evasive, slick sob story" and "uncut corn" -- her performance was universally praised. The New York Post called it "surpassingly beautiful in its slow, luminous awakening of joy and understanding," and even Thomson said that Wyman's performance and her "soulful, wide-eyed face" established her as a star of women's pictures.

Wyman was married to businessman Myron Futterman in the 1930s. After her divorce from Reagan, she twice married musician and vocal coach Fred Karger, divorcing him the final time in 1965.

When not acting, Wyman painted, mostly landscapes. She also was active for many years in the Arthritis Foundation, for which she served as a national chairwoman. In 1977, she became the second recipient of the Charles B. Harding Award, the highest national award given by the foundation. The group's Southern California chapter also created the Jane Wyman Humanitarian Award in her honor.

Wyman, a devout Catholic convert and supporter of the Roman Catholic Church, also was a strong supporter of Hollywood's Covenant House and Our Lady of Angels Monastery.

Survivors include her son and three grandchildren.

A rosary for Wyman, followed by a funeral Mass, will be recited at 10:30 a.m. Wednesday at Sacred Heart Catholic Church, 43775 Deep Canyon Road, Palm Desert.

The family has asked that any memorial donations be made to the Arthritis Foundation of Southern California or to Sacred Heart Catholic Church.


Jane as Belinda MacDonald and Charles Bickford as Black MacDonald in Johnny Belinda

Jane as Belinda MacDonald and Lew Ayres as Dr. Robert Richardson in Johnny Belinda

Jane as Belinda MacDonald and Lew Ayres as Dr. Robert Richardson in Johnny Belinda


Jane Wyman, 90, Star of Film and TV, Is Dead

Jane Wyman, who won an Oscar for her portrayal of a victimized deaf woman in the 1948 movie “Johnny Belinda,” played a fierce matriarch in the 1980s television series “Falcon Crest” and was the first wife of President Ronald Reagan, died Monday at her home in Rancho Mirage, Calif. She was 90.

Her death was confirmed by Jonathan Bernstein, a family spokesman.

Ms. Wyman started her movie career in the 1930s playing wisecracking chorus girls before winning the Academy Award and three other best-actress Oscar nominations between 1947 to 1955.

She rekindled her star power in her 60s, playing Angela Channing, the domineering owner of a Northern California winery in “Falcon Crest,” which ran from 1981 to 1990.

She had met Mr. Reagan in the late 1930s and appeared with him in the comedy “Brother Rat” (1938). They were married in 1940, had a daughter, Maureen, and then adopted a son, Michael, before divorcing in 1949.

Ms. Wyman’s Oscar came for her sensitive performance in “Johnny Belinda” (1948), in which she played a deaf woman whose pregnancy resulting from a rape causes a scandal. Archer Winsten, writing in The New York Post, called her performance “surpassingly beautiful.”

“It is all the more beautiful in its accomplishment without words,” he added.

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.

She also won praise for portraying a timid disabled woman in a 1950 adaptation of Tennessee Williams's play "The Glass Menagerie," opposite Kirk Douglas, and an Oscar nomination for her performance as a blind widow in the 1954 remake of "Magnificent Obsession," with Rock Hudson.

Two other Oscar nominations as best actress came for her roles as a backwoods mother in “The Yearling” (1947), also starring Gregory Peck, and as a saintly nursemaid in “The Blue Veil” (1951), with Charles Laughton and a young Natalie Wood.

A capable singer — she sang on the radio in the 1930s — Ms. Wyman shared a hit record, “In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening,” which she recorded with Bing Crosby in 1951 for the movie “Here Comes the Groom.” The song, a Hoagy Carmichael-Johnny Mercer composition, won a 1952 Oscar.

Ms. Wyman was born Sarah Jane Mayfield in Missouri on Jan. 5, 1917, to Manning J. Mayfield and Gladys Hope Christian. Her parents divorced in 1921, and the next year her father died of pneumonia at the age of 27. Her mother then moved to Cleveland. Placed in the care of neighbors, Richard and Emma Fulks, she was reared in St. Joseph, Mo., and took their surname.

She recalled a bleak childhood, remembering Mr. Fulks, a chief of detectives in St. Joseph, as a harsh disciplinarian. He died when Ms. Wyman was 11, and Mrs. Fulks then took Ms. Wyman to Los Angeles, where Mrs. Fulks had two grown children. They returned to Missouri in 1930.

But Ms. Wyman, intent on a show business career, moved back to Hollywood two years later and began working as chorus girl, eventually landing a job as a dancer in Busby Berkeley’s movie “The Kid From Spain,” starring Eddie Cantor. The chorus line included Paulette Goddard and Betty Grable.

In his biography of Mr. Reagan, “Dutch,” Edmund Morris wrote that Ms. Wyman married Ernest Eugene Wyman in 1933, claiming to be three years older than her actual age, 16, on the marriage certificate. She divorced him two years later.

After several years of chorus-girl roles and bit parts, Ms. Wyman signed a $60-a-week contract with the Warner Brothers studio in 1936. Dropping Sarah, she took Jane Wyman as her professional name. She then embarked on a number of B-movie comedies, typically playing the fast-talking blond sidekick.

Increasingly recognized as a serious actress, though, she began getting better roles in the early 1940s, then had a breakthrough in 1945, in the Billy Wilder drama “The Lost Weekend,” winning praise as the patient girlfriend of an alcoholic (Ray Milland) who goes on a bender.

The performance led to a series of leading roles, including the four nominated for Oscars.

Ms. Wyman met Mr. Reagan the same year, 1938, that she divorced Myron Futterman, a dress manufacturer 15 years her senior, whom she had married in 1937. Mr. Reagan and Ms. Wyman were rising stars, and their romance and marriage were covered in the fan magazines.

Their daughter, Maureen, was born in 1941. She died of cancer in 2001. They adopted Michael in 1945. Another daughter, Christine, died the day after she was born premature, in 1947. The marriage ended in divorce in 1949, and afterward neither Mr. Reagan nor Ms. Wyman spoke publicly at any length about their years together.

Michael Reagan, of Sherman Oaks, Calif., survives his mother, as do two grandchildren.

In 1952, Ms. Wyman married Fred Karger, a band leader. They were divorced in 1954. She married him again in 1963, but that union also ended in divorce. Mr. Reagan was married again as well, to Nancy Davis, the future first lady, in 1952.

In the mid-1950s, Ms. Wyman surprised Hollywood when she switched to television, becoming the host of “Fireside Theater” (later “The Jane Wyman Theater”), a dramatic series in which she acted occasionally.

As a film actress, she also had roles as an impulsive drama student in “Stage Fright” (1950); an abiding wife in “The Story of Will Rogers” (1952) and a love-struck secretary in “Miracle in the Rain” (1956). One of her last notable film roles was in the popular 1960 Disney film “Polyanna.” She also had a guest stint playing Jane Seymour’s mother on the 90s television series “Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman.”

Ms. Wyman’s return to prominence on “Falcon Crest” coincided with the advent of the Reagan administration, and she was said to have tired of being identified as the president’s first wife long after their divorce. Her agent, Robert Raison, told The New York Times in 1981 that she wearied of being hounded for gossip about Mr. Reagan’s life with her.

But she broke her silence about him after he died in 2004, saying “America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man.”

In her later years she painted in oils, mostly landscapes, and for five years sold her works through a Carmel, Calif., gallery. She aided the Arthritis Foundation for more than 20 years and was its chairman for a time.

Ms. Wyman was always proud of the roles that had brought her acclaim and was always on guard, she said, against roles unworthy of her. “I don’t like all the sick pictures being made,” she said at one point late in her career. “I simply refused to play a prostitute, a drug addict.”

“Nonexposure,” she added, “is better than appearing in the wrong thing.”


Jane as Angela Channing in Falcon Crest

Jane as Angela Channing in Falcon Crest

Jane as Angela Channing in Falcon Crest


Jane Wyman Remembered As Strict, But Loving

PALM DESERT, Calif. -- Jane Wyman, the actress who rose to prominence in Billy Wilder's "The Lost Weekend" in the 1940s and married future President Ronald Reagan, was remembered as strict but loving woman Wednesday at a funeral Mass in Palm Desert.

Adopted son Michael Reagan attended the service with his wife and their daughter, Ashley, and son, Cameron, who was a pallbearer.

When he first spoke, Reagan, a syndicated radio show host, was choked up.

"Hopefully I can get through this," he said, adding that his mother "spent a lot of time on her knees, praying for me."

He recalled asking for a bicycle when he was 10. His mother told him he would have to get a job.

"She built men, not boys," he said. "I was lucky to be her son."

For most of his life, he said he was asked about his famous father.

"A lot of people talk about my father, but I am who I am today because of my mother," he said.

Wyman, a convert to Catholicism, joined a Dominican order in the latter part of her life. She was buried in her habit.

The Rev. Howard Lincoln of Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert, where Wyman's funeral Mass was celebrated, said Wyman was especially generous to him.

"I saw my first $100,000 check because of Jane Wyman," he said.

Wyman's donations paid for padded pews, kneelers and a new sound system at the church.

Reagan said his mother always wanted everyone to be comfortable, half- seriously adding that was why she sprang for the cushions.

Lincoln called her "the antithesis of Norma Desmond," the vain, washed- up "Sunset Boulevard" character.

"She was long on style, but longer on substance," Lincoln said. The priest was philosophical about Wyman's passing.

"She has never been as alive as she is right now," he said. "She was one of those people who understood that there is no permanent address on this globe. Her new home is heaven." Wyman, he said, was "very plugged-in to our Lord."

Nelda Linsk, a real estate agent who sold Wyman her first home in Rancho Mirage and later became friendly with her and actress Loretta Young, called Wyman a remarkable woman. "So giving, so faithful to her friends and to her church," she said. "I will miss her terribly."

Wyman was buried in a private ceremony at Forest Lawn Memorial Park- Cathedral City.

Born Sarah Jane Mansfield -- her birthdate was always kept a secret, though her birth certificate lists Jan. 5, 1917 -- in St. Joseph, Mo. Her parents divorced in 1921, and her father died the next year. The then-5-year- old became known as Sarah Jane Fulks, because she was unofficially adopted by her Missouri neighbors, according to Wyman's official biography.

Her interest in singing and dancing was evident at age 10. The next year, Richard Fulks died, and Emma Fulks moved to Hollywood with Sarah Jane.

By 1932, she had dropped out of high school and was making a living as a waitress, but was soon to land a job as a chorus girl, according to her biography.

She would eventually earn four Oscar nominations for best actress, winning in 1949 for her portrayal of a deaf rape victim in "Johnny Belinda."

She received the first of her four best actress Academy Award nominations in 1947 for "The Yearling."

Wyman said "The Blue Veil" was her favorite film. It was made in and around New York City's St. Patrick's Cathedral and released in 1951, about the time she became a Roman Catholic. It earned her a best actress Oscar nomination, but she lost out to Vivien Leigh's memorable performance as Blanche DuBois in "A Streetcar Named Desire."

Wyman's final Academy Award nomination came for the 1954 melodrama "Magnificent Obsession."

Wyman's film career began with "Gold Diggers of 1937" and ended in 1969, when she co-starred with Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason in "How to Commit Marriage."

From 1981 to 1990 she played Angela Channing, a Napa Valley winery owner on the hit CBS primetime soap opera "Falcon Crest."

"Falcon Crest" was not Wyman's first television success. From 1955-58, she hosted and occasionally performed in the 1955-58 NBC dramatic anthology, "The Jane Wyman Show."

Her final acting appearance came in a 1993 episode of "Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman," as the mother of the title character, played by Jane Seymour.

Wyman married fellow Warner Bros. contract player Reagan in 1940. They divorced in 1948, a year before she received her Oscar. They had two children, Maureen, who died in August 2001 from cancer, and adopted son Michael.

In 1937, Wyman married a wealthy manufacturer of children's clothes, Myron Futterman, in New Orleans. The marriage was reported as her second, but an earlier marriage was never confirmed. They were divorced in 1938.

After Reagan became governor of California and then president of the United States, Wyman kept silent about her ex-husband, who had married actress Nancy Davis.

It was not until a few days after Reagan died on June 5, 2004, that Wyman broke her silence, saying: "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man."

Wyman's longtime business manager recalled her as "a tough lady, but a nice lady."

The family has asked that memorial donations be made to the Arthritis Foundation of Southern California or Sacred Heart Catholic Church in Palm Desert.


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