Birth Date: January 4, 1914 / Age: 101
Biography: Born Sarah Jane Mayfield in Saint Joseph, Missouri, she later took the name Sarah Jane Fulks in honor of the neighbor family who "unofficially adopted" her after her parents divorced. In 1928, she and her mother moved to Southern California, where her mother, Le Jerne Pichelle, tried to start her own acting career. When that was unsuccessful, she turned to her daughter as a surrogate, but neither was able to move Hollywood. The two moved back to Missouri, where Sarah Jane attended college, but in 1930 she began a radio singing career, calling herself Jane Durrell.
In 1936, she was back in Hollywood, obtaining bit parts in My Man Godfrey and Cain and Mabel. In 1939 she received her first starring role, in Torchy Plays With Dynamite. In the previous year, she had co-starred with Ronald Reagan in Brother Rat. The two were married (her third marriage, and his first) in 1940, but divorced in 1948. They had three children; Maureen Reagan (1941-2001), Michael Reagan (born March 18, 1945), who was adopted, and Christine Reagan (born and died 1947).
Wyman finally gained critical notice in the film noir The Lost Weekend. She was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Actress in 1946 for The Yearling, and finally won the Oscar in 1948 for her role as the deaf-mute rape victim in Johnny Belinda. She was the first Oscar winner to earn the award without speaking one line of dialogue.
The Oscar win gave her the ability to choose meatier roles, although she still showed a liking for musical comedy. She worked with such directors as Alfred Hitchcock on Stage Fright, with Frank Capra on Here Comes the Groom and with Michael Curtiz on The Story of Will Rogers. She starred in The Glass Menagerie, Just for You, Let's Do It Again, The Blue Veil (another Oscar nomination), So Big, Magnificent Obsession (Oscar nomination), Lucy Gallant, All That Heaven Allows and Miracle in the Rain.
In the 1950s, she hosted a television anthology series, Jane Wyman Theater. She gained fans of a new generation in the 1980s when she starred as the diabolical vintner Angela Channing in the nighttime soap opera Falcon Crest.
A devout Catholic convert, Jane Wyman has lived in reclusion for a number of years due to declining health (she suffers from arthritis and diabetes), and apparently tends to be seen in public only at funerals, such as for her late daughter, Maureen Reagan, and her late best friend Loretta Young.