Jane Wyman lived a long and fulfilled life, her career as an actress which started when she was about 16 years old lasted for 7 decades. In the course of this, she had several works to her credit and was repeatedly voted as the most popular star in the country. Aside from her rich acting career, Jane was also famed as the first wife of late actor and former United States president – Ronald Regan, the two were married from 1940 till their divorce in 1949. Find out more about the events in the late actress’s life and what caused her death.
Jane Wyman’s Bio
In the beginning, Jane Wyman went by Sarah Jane Mayfield after she was born on January 5, 1917, in the city of Saint Joseph, Missouri, the U.S. to Gladys Hope (née Christian; born 1895 – died 1960) and Manning Jeffries Mayfield (born 1895 – died 1922). Her dad worked as a labourer in a meal company while her mother was an office assistant and stenographer to a doctor. Her mom filed for divorce from her dad in October 1921 and by the following year, her father died. Sarah’s mom then relocated to Cleveland, Ohio as she left her daughter to be cared for by Emma (née Reiss; 1866 – 1951) and Richard D. Fulks (1862 – 1928) as foster parents. It was under the nurture of her foster parents that Jane finished high school at Lafayette High School situated in Saint Joseph.
Jane Wyman began her career in 1928 as a radio singer who went by the name Jane Durrell. She was actually underage at the time but falsified her age so she could secure the job. By 1932, Jane quit schooling and returned to Hollywood where she hoped to carve out a career as an actress. She began with odd jobs, first as a manicurist followed by working as a switchboard operator before she began getting uncredited roles that lasted till 1936. Her first (uncredited) recorded film credit was in The Kid from Spain (1932), while her first credited role was as Dixie the Hat Check Girl in Smart Blonde (1937).
Some other works she starred in include Tail Spin, Torchy Blane… Playing with Dynamite, Private Detective, all in 1939, Crime by Night (1944), Stage Fright (1950), Holiday for Lovers (1959), How to Commit Marriage (1969 and The Incredible Journey of Doctor Meg Laurel (1979).
Jane Wyman had a very successful career while she lived in any way you might want to explain career success. She earned respect as an actress, singer, and dancer with numerous awards and recognition to show for it. She earned a net worth of about $15 million.
Family – Spouse (Husband)
Sarah Jane Mayfield who most of the time liked to identify with her foster parent’s surname prior to her marriage often wrote her name as Jane Fulks. She was married 5 times to 4 husbands with the first one being to Ernest Wyman (born 1906 – died 1970) on April 8, 1933, in Los Angeles, California, in her teens. However, 2 years later, the two divorced but Jane retained her husband’s surname for professional purposes and went by Jane Wyman.
Her second marriage was to Myron Futterman (born 1900 – died 1965) on June 29, 1937. Trouble struck just after three months of their marriage being that Jane wanted children but her husband didn’t. Thus, they divorced on December 15, 1938.
It was through her marriage with late Ronald Reagan who was at the time an actor that Jane got more famous. The two met while working on Brother Rat (1938), and were together again on Brother Rat and a Baby (1940) during which they got stung by love. On January 26, 1940, they were wedded at the Wee Kirk o’ the Heather Church, Glendale, California but by 1949, they were officially divorced. While their marriage lasted, the couple were parents to Maureen Elizabeth Reagan (their biological daughter, 1941 – 2001), Michael Edward Reagan (adopted son born March 18, 1945), and Christine Reagan who unfortunately died same day he was born (June 26, 1947) as a result of being born prematurely.
After Regan, Wyman married Frederick Karger (born 1916 – died 1979) on November 1, 1952, only to separate two years later on November 7, 1954. Well, the divorce wasn’t finite as they remarried again on March 11, 1961, but by March 9, 1965, Karger divorced Jane citing that Jane had walked out on him.
Jane Wyman lived an eventful life, from being abandoned by her biological mother, cared for by foster parents, to repeatedly changing her age all in a bid to be accepted into doing what ordinarily she wasn’t old enough for. Perhaps it was all for good intent and aside from her successful career, she is also remembered for her high profile marriages.
The television star’s career spanned a total of 70 years after which she retired from active acting in the early 90s. She breathed her last on September 10, 2007, at her Rancho Mirage home while sleeping. The cause of her death was reported to be a natural one. Jane was subsequently interred at the Forest Lawn Mortuary and Memorial Park located in Cathedral City, California. The celebrated actress is survived by her son Michael Regan, grandchildren Cameron and Ashley, and her daughter-in-law Colleen.