(AFP) – Sep 10, 2007
LOS ANGELES (AFP) — Jane Wyman, the Oscar-winning actress from Hollywood's golden era and ex-wife of late US President Ronald Reagan, died Monday aged 93, officials said.
Wyman, who won a best actress Academy Award for her portrayal of a deaf rape victim in "Johnny Belinda" before later appearing in the hit television soap "Falcon Crest," died at her Palm Springs home, according to William Martin with Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Cathedral City.
No further information was immediately available.
Although Wyman became familiar to millions during the 1980s as the scheming Angela Channing in "Falcon Crest," her heyday had come decades earlier with roles in a string of hit films during Hollywood's golden age.
A contract actress with Warner Brothers studio in the 1930s, Wyman's big break came in 1939 with her first lead role in "Torchy Plays With Dynamite."
She garnered critical acclaim for her performance in 1945's film noir classic "The Lost Weekend," before winning an Oscar nomination the following year for her role in the "The Yearling."
Although she missed out on an Academy Award to Olivia de Havilland, Wyman did not have long to wait before getting her hands on the famous golden statuette, scooping the prize in 1948 for "Johnny Belinda."
It was the first time that the prestigious acting award had been given for a role that did not require a single spoken word of dialogue.
Fittingly, Wyman kept her acceptance speech short and sweet.
"I won this by keeping my mouth shut, and that's what I'm going to do now," she said after collecting the prize.
The win paved the way for roles in several big-budget projects, and she went on to earn two more Oscar nods during her career for 1951's "The Blue Veil" and 1954's "The Magnificent Obsession" opposite Rock Hudson.
Among Wyman's screen achievements was participation in what is often said to be the longest kiss ever recorded on celluloid, a lingering three-minute, five-second effort with Regis Toomey in 1941 film "You're in the Army Now."
Wyman was married four times to three men, with her longest relationship her eight-year union with former president Reagan between 1940 and 1948, which followed a one-year marriage to Myron Futterman in 1937.
Wyman and Reagan had three children, Maureen, who died in 2001, aged 60, Michael, who was adopted in 1945, and Christine who was stillborn in 1947.
Wyman declined to comment on her ex-husband's burgeoning political career after he became California governor and then US president.
"It's not because I'm bitter or because I don't agree with him politically," she said in a 1968 newspaper interview.
"I've always been a registered Republican. But it's bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives, that's all. Also, I don't know a damn thing about politics."
After her marriage to Reagan ended, Wyman married bandleader Frederick Karger in 1952, divorcing him three years later.
The couple remarried in 1961 but divorced for a second time in 1965. Wyman never remarried.
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