Jane Wyatt

Jane Wyatt

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Actress Jane Wyatt dies on October 20, 2006 at the age of 96. Reports say she passed away in her Bel-Air home in her sleep due to natural causes. Upon news of her passing, hundreds of websites and message boards mourn and exchange stories as to how this woman has affected their lives. An online guest book was immediately created in order for Jane Wyatt fans to congregate and write down their memories of her through television and film. The fans, although never meeting her in person, connect with her through a different level. The fans relate to her through the public eye, not simple as an actress, but as a friend, educator, and mentor. On the tragic day of October 20, 2006 Jane Wyatt's spirit moves on, but her legacy and achievements remain in our hearts, text books, television, and film till the end of time.
One bright sunny afternoon on August 12, 1910 Jane Wyatt came into this world. Sister to three siblings and daughter to an investment banker father and drama critic mother. Although she was born in New Jersey, she was raised at a young age in New York City. Wyatt received her basic formal education at Chapin School and then attended Barnard College in New York City. How ever being privileged with having a mother

involved in theater Wyatt was drawn to the irresistible call of the stage causing her to end her short term at Barnard College in order to hone her acting skills at Berkshire
Playhouse in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For six months she played a varied assortment of roles followed by a position as an understudy to Rose Hobart in a Broadway production of Trade Winds. This position opened "doors" for her and she was beginning to be noticed by various production companies, most notably Universal. Universal took note of Wyatt's talents and offered up her first film role in the movie One More River.
Wyatt embarked on a flourishing screen career following her impressive debut, which led to her performance in Lost Horizon which is to be considered her most outstanding achievement in film. However her success did not come without its hardships.
During the late 1940-50s her film career suffered because of her outspoken conflict with Joseph McCarthy, the Red Scare, and the Hollywood blacklist.
During this time a variety of Americans were accused of being Communists or communist sympathizers and were victims of aggressive investigations by government committees and agencies.

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The main focus of such suspicions were being aimed at government employees, educators, the entertainment industry, and working class protestors. The House Un-American Activities Committee (HUAC) was quickly formed and started investigations on Communism influence in the motion picture industry. Wyatt fought openly against this invasion of privacy, and the overall absurdity of the investigation. She was then labeled as a conspiring Communist and became one of the

many performers blacklisted from Hollywood. She stuck her neck out and defended what she believed in, and even though she did nothing wrong she was victimized by the over
exaggerated Communist affair. During Wyatt's down time she steered her attention towards television rather than film and regardless of all the "hits" she took on her career, Wyatt was ready to return to Hollywood in full force with her most notable role.
In 1954 one of Jane Wyatt's most prominent roles, Margaret Anderson, was born from the show "Father Knows Best". "Father Knows Best" was the classic wholesome 50s family situation sitcom. The plot of the show followed the simple structure of every evening the father would come home from his tiring day at work, get into his casual attire, and deal with the everyday problems of a growing family. A large draw to the show was the fact that both the father and his wife Margaret, played by Wyatt, were portrayed as thoughtful, responsible adults. When a family crisis arose, mother and father
were always quick to respond with a positive solution. Wyatt's portrayal of the house wife was very admirable and took on a very wholesome and loving personality. Her performance was not only top-notch, but was so well received that you couldn't help but want to adopt many of the traits her character developed. Her performance and character became a staple identity for other house wife characters in the family situation comedy genre. Wyatt's compassion and acting charisma translated into another prominent mother character on another television series. She played non-other than Spock's Mother on "Star Trek" and reprised her role in the motion picture Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.

Spock was a very important and fan favorite character of the Star Trek series, so to play the mother of that character was considered quite the shoes to fill for Star Trek
fans. She grew an even larger fan base after appearing in the Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel" which she was praised for the powerful yet warm-hearted mother of the half-vulcan.
Jane Wyatt made a name for herself in Hollywood and people's households. She led a very successful and meaningful career. For her most prominent role in "Father Knows Best" she won three Emmy's in the categories of Best Actress in a Leading Role, Outstanding Performance by an Actress in a Series, and Best Continuing Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role in a Dramatic or Comedy Series during the 207 episodes she played her character Margaret Anderson. As a tribute to the hugely successful and popularity of "Father Knows Best" it continued in reruns on CBS and ABC for three years in prime-time, after the show ran its six year course, which was a milestone in itself. Jane Wyatt also established herself as a very strong female figure with good character because of the role she played in opposing the blacklist and knowing the circumstances that came with challenging the HUAC. The result of her career damage for standing up for what she believes in deserves to be remembered, along with the appreciation of her long and serious career as an actress in movies and television. She deserves to be remembered for representing the honorable and forgotten tradition of American liberalism which helped fight for labor's rights, civil rights, and liberties by

positioning herself against the radicals and standing firm against people who blindly follow McCarthy's edict which used propaganda and slander to attack labor and civil rights. Jane Wyatt was not only an outstanding actress but was a very influential individual as well who, through her many accomplishments, helped shaped the way we see Hollywood today.
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