Miss Wyman was probably best known for her role as Angela Channing in the long running TV series "Falcon Crest" and for her Academy Award winning performance as the deaf rape victim in "Johnny Belinda". Miss Wyman devoted her time to a range of benefits and telethons for the Arthritis Foundation, and was also a supporter of the Palm Springs Air Museum. Wyman died at her home here in the Palm Springs area; her funeral is scheduled for this Wednesday.
The Early Years
Jane Wyman started coming to Palm Springs to visit the famed Racquet Club with her husband, actor Ronald Reagan. She had an amazing career on the silver screen starting in the 1930's. In particular, films such as "Gold Diggers" and "How to Commit Marriage" were critically acclaimed. She is credited with making a number of prestigious films which brought Oscar nominations including: "The Glass Menagerie," Alfred Hitchcock's "Stage Fright," "Here Comes the Groom", "The Blue Veil" and "Magnificent Obsession". Jane had several other films I enjoyed, such as: "So Big," "All That Heaven Allows," "Pollyanna" and "Bon Voyage!" Later, "The Jane Wyman Show," was a hit on NBC from 1955 to 1958.
It was in 1940 that she married Ronald Reagan, who at the time was still a "B-rate" actor with Warner Brothers Studios. Their marriage was popular with fans, but after two children and eight years they were divorced. Although Jane never spoke about her ex-husband while he was in the White House, it was after his death in 2004 that she said of Reagan: "America has lost a great president and a great, kind and gentle man." She was devastated by the death of her daughter Maureen, who died in 2001 after fighting cancer for several years. Jane Wyman was a Hollywood original a contemporary and a survivor of the original Hollywood Studio system. In her early retirement years, she was quite active on the Palm Springs social scene. She liked to entertain friends and other celebrities at dinner parties. She also enjoyed painting, reading and music. She enjoyed many years in Palm Springs and Rancho Mirage, but the past few years, Miss Wyman was rarely seen in public.
Above left: Cast photo from Falcon Crest & above right: on set with Lana Turner.