Jane Wyman

Born Jan 5, 1917

Jane Wyman, born Sarah Jane Mayfield, was an American singer, dancer, and character actress of film and television. She began her film career in the 1930s, and was a prolific performer for two decades. She received an Academy Award for Best Actress for her performance in Johnny Belinda (1948), and later achieved success during the 1980s for her leading role in the television series Falcon Crest. Wyman was the first wife of Ronald Reagan.… Read More

related links

News + Updates

Browse recent news and stories about Jane Wyman.


Learn about the memorable moments in the evolution of Jane Wyman.


Her parents were married in March 1916 in Jackson County, Missouri, and Wyman was born in January 1917.
The 1920 census shows her to still be the only child from the marriage. … Read More


1928 11 Years Old In 1928, aged 11, she moved to southern California with her foster mother, but it is not known for certain if she attempted a career in motion pictures at this time, or if the relocation was because some of Fulks' children also lived in the area. … Read More
1932 15 Years Old After dropping out of Lafayette in 1932, at age 15, she returned to Hollywood, taking on odd jobs as a manicurist and a switchboard operator, before obtaining small parts in such films as The Kid from Spain (as a "Goldwyn Girl"; 1932), My Man Godfrey (1936), and Cain and Mabel (1936).
1936 19 Years Old After changing her name from Jane Durrell to Jane Wyman, she began her career as a contract player with Warner Bros. in 1936. … Read More


1937 - 1939 3 More Events
1940 23 Years Old …  She was also the first wife of Ronald Reagan; they married in 1940 and divorced in 1949.
1941 24 Years Old In 1941, she appeared in You're in the Army Now, in which Regis Toomey and she had the longest screen kiss in cinema history: 3 minutes and 5 seconds. … Read More
1946 29 Years Old She was nominated for the 1946 Academy Award for Best Actress for The Yearling (1946), and won two years later for her role as a deaf-mute rape victim in Johnny Belinda (1948). … Read More


1948 31 Years Old She filed for divorce in 1948; the divorce was finalized in 1949. … Read More
1952 35 Years Old Following her divorce from Reagan, Wyman married German-American Hollywood music director and composer Frederick M. "Fred" Karger (1916–1979) on November 1, 1952, at El Montecito Presbyterian Church, Santa Barbara. They separated on November 7, 1954, and were granted an interlocutory divorce decree on December 7, 1954; the divorce was finalized on December 30, 1955.
1953 36 Years Old Wyman, who had converted to Catholicism in 1953, never remarried. … Read More
1955 38 Years Old Her first guest-starring television role was on a 1955 episode of General Electric Theater, a show hosted by her former husband Ronald Reagan. … Read More


1957 40 Years Old She hosted an anthology television series, Jane Wyman Presents the Fireside Theater, for which she was nominated for an Emmy Award in 1957. … Read More
1961 44 Years Old They remarried on March 11, 1961, and Karger divorced her again on March 9, 1965. … Read More


1980 - 1986 6 More Events
1988 71 Years Old 1 More Event
In 1988, she missed another episode due to ill health and was told by her doctors to avoid work.
1989 72 Years Old 1 More Event
Months later in 1989, Wyman collapsed on the set and was hospitalized due to problems with diabetes and a liver ailment. … Read More
1990 73 Years Old Against her doctor's advice, she returned for the final three episodes in 1990, even writing a soliloquy for the series finale. … Read More
1993 76 Years Old After Falcon Crest, Wyman acted only once more, playing Jane Seymour's screen mother in a 1993 episode of Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman. … Read More
2001 84 Years Old After Falcon Crest ended, Wyman made a guest appearance on the CBS series Dr. Quinn, Medicine Woman and then completely retired from acting, spending her retirement painting and entertaining friends. A recluse, Wyman made only a few public appearances in her last years in part due to suffering from diabetes and arthritis, although she did attend her daughter Maureen's funeral in 2001 after the latter's death from cancer. (Ronald Reagan was unable to attend due to his Alzheimer's disease.) She also attended the funeral of her long-time friend Loretta Young in 2000.
2004 87 Years Old Wyman broke her silence about her former husband upon his death in 2004, attending his funeral and issuing an official statement that read, "America has lost a great president and a great, kind, and gentle man."
2007 91 Years Old Wyman died at the age of 90 at her Rancho Mirage home on September 10, 2007. … Read More
Original Authors of this text are noted on
Text is made available under the Creative Commons Attribution-ShareAlike License.