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Jane Wyatt

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Jane Wyatt
Amanda Grayson, 2286.jpg

... as Amanda Grayson (1986)

Birth name: Jane Waddington Wyatt
Gender: Female
Date of birth: 12 August 1910
Place of birth: Campgaw, New Jersey, USA
Date of death: 20 October 2006
Place of death: Bel Air, California, USA
Character(s): Amanda Grayson
Amanda, Journey to Babel.jpg

... as Amanda Grayson (1967)

... as Amanda Grayson (1967)

Jane Wyatt (12 August 191020 October 2006; age 96) was the Emmy award-winning American actress who played Amanda Grayson, wife to Vulcan Ambassador Sarek and mother of Spock, in the Star Trek episode "Journey to Babel" and again in the movie Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home. Outside of Star Trek, she is best remembered for her roles in the 1937 film Lost Horizon and the television series Father Knows Best.

Biography

Personal life

Born in Campgaw, New Jersey, Jane Waddington Wyatt was the daughter of Christopher Billop Wyatt, Jr., a Wall Street investment banker of English and Irish heritage, and the former Euphemia Van Rensselaer Waddington, a drama critic and descendant of early Dutch colonists. Jane graduated from The Chapin School in New York City. She later attended, but did not graduate from, Barnard College before becoming a professional actress.

Wyatt married investment broker Edgar Bethune Ward on 9 November 1935. They had three sons together, although one son died as an infant. They remained married until Ward's death on 8 November 2000, one day before their 65th wedding anniversary.

Early career

Wyatt searched Broadway for an acting job, ultimately landing a role in a production of A.A. Milne's Give Me Yesterday in 1931. After roles in several other Broadway plays (including Conquest in 1933, starring Dame Judith Anderson), she made the transition to film in 1934, with supporting roles in One More River and Great Expectations.

Perhaps Wyatt's most famous film role is that of the female lead in Frank Capra's classic, Academy Award-winning 1937 drama Lost Horizon, which also featured Leonard Mudie. Nearly five decades later, Wyatt worked with Capra's grandson, Frank Capra III, on the set of Star Trek IV.

Wyatt went on to have roles in such acclaimed films as None But the Lonely Heart (1944), Elia Kazan's Boomerang! and Gentleman's Agreement (both released in 1947, with the latter co-starring Dean Stockwell), Task Force (1949, with Kenneth Tobey), and Fritz Lang's House by the River (1950, co-starring Peter Brocco). She made her first appearance on television in a 1950 episode of Robert Montgomery Presents with Richard Derr.

Wyatt's career in film began to stagnate during the 1950s, having become one of the many Hollywood celebrities to be blacklisted for supposed Communist activities. In Wyatt's case, she was blacklisted for protesting at the hearings of the Un-American Activities Committee in Washington, D.C., in 1951. She then moved to New York City and focused her attention on television, after which she only occasionally returned to film.

Post-blacklist career

Wyatt returned to Hollywood three years later for quite possibly her most well-known role. From 1954 through 1960, Wyatt played Margaret Anderson on the popular television sitcom Father Knows Best, which also starred Elinor Donahue as Anderson's daughter. Wyatt won three consecutive Emmy Awards for her performance on this series from 1958 through 1960. She reprised this role for the Father Knows Best: Home for Christmas television special in 1977.

After Father Knows Best ended, Wyatt made guest appearances on such programs as Wagon Train, Alcoa Premiere (with John Anderson), Bob Hope Presents the Chrysler Theatre (with Nehemiah Persoff), The Alfred Hitchcock Hour (with Janet MacLachlan), The Virginian (with Brooke Bundy), Insight (two episodes, including one with Sally Kellerman), Love, American Style (two episodes, including one directed by Jud Taylor), and, of course, Star Trek. Her role on the latter series (and her subsequent reprisal of that role on Star Trek IV) has acquired her a great deal of recognition amongst Star Trek fans. Of her role on Star Trek, Wyatt stated: "I get fan mail from Father Knows Best and Lost Horizon, but the Star Trek mail gets more and more." [1]

Wyatt did work on the occasional film during the 1950s and 1960s. Her first film since being blacklisted was the 1957 romantic drama Interlude, which also featured Keith Andes. Her next film was the 1961 family comedy The Two Little Bears, which co-starred Theodore Marcuse. She then had a supporting role in the 1965 comedy Never Too Late.

Later career

Throughout the 1970s, Wyatt appeared in several made for television movies. These include Amelia Earhart (with Stephen Macht, Susan Oliver, Garry Walberg, and Dallas Mitchell), Superdome (with Michael Pataki and Susan Howard), A Love Affair: The Eleanor and Lou Gehrig Story (with William Wellman, Jr., David Ogden Stiers, and Gail Strickland), The Nativity (1978, with John Rhys-Davies and W. Morgan Sheppard), and The Millionaire (1979, with Edward Laurence Albert).

Wyatt also continued to make episodic guest appearances, with credits including a return to The Virginian (directed by Marc Daniels) as well as episodes of Owen Marshall: Counselor at Law (with David Soul, Rudy Solari, Tom Troupe, and Bill Zuckert), Medical Center (with Darleen Carr), Fantasy Island (starring Ricardo Montalban, in an episode with Theodore Bikel and George D. Wallace), and The Love Boat (in an episode with Julie Newmar). She also co-starred with Robert Foxworth, Robert DoQui, Logan Ramsey, and Rex Holman in the 1976 adventure film Treasure of Matecumbe.

Throughout the 1980s, Wyatt had a recurring role as Katherine Auschlander, the wife of Norman Lloyd's character, in the television series St. Elsewhere. She had previously worked with Lloyd in the 1948 film No Minor Vices. During her time on St. Elsewhere, Wyatt also worked with the likes of Chad Allen, Ed Begley, Jr., Ronny Cox, France Nuyen, Deborah May, Jennifer Savidge, Brian Tochi, and Alfre Woodard.

Her other TV credits during the 1980s included guest spots on Happy Days, Quincy, M.E. (with Robert Ito and Garry Walberg), another episode of The Love Boat (this one with William Windom), another episode of Ricardo Montalban's series Fantasy Island (with Adrienne Barbeau), Hotel (two episodes, one with Robert Pine and another with Brenda Strong), Starman (with Jeff Corey), and the . She also appeared in the TV movies Missing Children: A Mother's Story (1989, with John Anderson and Noble Willingham) and Amityville: The Evil Escapes (1989, with Aron Eisenberg, Norman Lloyd, and Warren Munson).

Retirement and death

Retired from acting, Wyatt is reported to have suffered a mild stroke in the 1990s from which she recovered well. She died of natural causes in Bel Air, California, in 2006 at the age of 96. She is buried next to her husband at the San Fernando Mission Cemetery in Los Angeles. She was survived by two sons.

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