Many people would say Jane Wyman is famous because she was Ronald Reagan’s first wife. Wyman would have said HE was famous for being one of her husbands!
But to describe their respective career achievements in such reductive terms would seriously diminish them. Whatever your view of Reagan, Wyman was distinguished by her an unusually successful run as a durable actress who excelled on the big screen, and then drew worldwide recognition on tv.
She worked with some of Hollywood’s finest directors of the Forties and Fifties. She won multiple awards, and put in some serious work. She was by all accounts a pretty good person offscreen despite her marital vicissitudes.
Today’s quiz was put together from several sources including — Frank is happy to say — 1985’s Jane Wyman, A Biography, co-authored by Edward Z. Epstein and our own Joe Morella. Ok, on to our questions. As usual answers tomorrow.
Here we go:
1) Question: Ronald Reagan was famously known informally as “Dutch.” What was Wyman’s comparable nickname? a) Baby; 2) Sweet Ma; c) Kitten; or d) Button Nose.
2) Question: Which of these prestige movie directors did Wyman NOT work with? a) Frank Capra; b) Alfred Hitchcock; c) Billy Wilder; or d) Michael Curtiz.
3) Question: Among her cinematic accomplishments Wyman holds the record for providing the longest onscreen kiss in movie history. a) True; or b) False.
4) Question: Wyman won a best actress Oscar for playing a young deaf-mute rape victim in 1948’s Johnny Belinda. She was also nominated as best actress for which of the following pictures? a) 1946’s The Yearling; b) 1951’s The Blue Veil; c) 1954’s Magnificent Obsession; or d) 1952’s The Story of Will Rogers.
5) Question: When she first was signed by Warner Brothers in the mid-Thirties, Wyman was promoted as a) a budding musical star; b) a serious actress; c) a blond floozy; or d) a potential sexpot?
6) Question: What broke up Wyman’s marriage (January 1940 to June 1948) to Ronald Reagan? a) An illicit romance with actor Lew Ayres; b) her lack of interest in politics; c) Reagan’s loquaciousness; or d) none of the above.
7) Question: Just how many movies did Wyman actually make with Reagan? a) five; b) two; c) nine; or d) none.
8) Question: Although Wyman’s is best remembered for her principal part on the 1981 Falcon Crest tv series, she was NOT the first choice for the role of California winery proprietress Angela Channing. Who was? a) Joan Crawford; b) June Haver; c) Barbara Stanwyck; or d) Nancy Davis.
9) Question: Wyman never quite got over unhappy end of her marriage to Reagan, and never remarried. a) True; or b) False.
10) Question: How did someone born Sarah Jane Mayfield wind up as Jane Wyman?