96 (passed away Oct. 20th, 2006)
Aug. 12th, 1910
Campgaw, New Jersey, USA
Jane Wyatt's Main TV Roles
Main Movie Roles
Guest TV Roles[none found]
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 (I)'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 (I) in "Father Knows Best" (1954), the classic TV sitcom chronicling the life and times of the Anderson family in the Midwestern town of Springfield. Wyatt died at age 96 on October 20, 2006.
- 'Jean Vander Pyl' (qv) played the wifely role opposite 'Robert Young (I)' (qv) on the "Father Knows Best" radio program in 1949. However, both Young and 'Eugene B. Rodney' (qv), Young's partner in ownership and production of the series, wanted Wyatt to play the role when it went to TV.
- Received the Women's International Center (WIC) Living Legacy Award in 1986.
- 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.
- Joined 'Humphrey Bogart' (qv), 'Lauren Bacall' (qv) and other Hollywood stars on a flight to Washington in 1947 to protest the House Un-American Activities Committee hearings.
- Sons Christopher, who has three children, and Michael, who is six years younger and a pianist.
- Today, those who fondly recall her in the archetypal 1950s family sitcom _"Father Knows Best" (1954)_ (qv) may be surprised to learn that when the series debuted in 1954, the show did so poorly in the ratings that CBS canceled it in March of 1955. A flood of protests came from viewers insisting that the show be reinstated. The show was moved to an earlier time, and it gradually became a hit.
- Member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (Actors Branch).
- 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.