Actress. Best remembered as devoted wife and mother 'Margaret Anderson' on the television series "Father Knows Best," opposite Robert Young from 1954 to 1960. Though known primarily for her work on television, Jane Wyatt also had a lucrative film career during the 1930s and 1940s. She was born Jane Waddington Wyatt in Campgaw, New Jersey, to a family with very high social distinction. Her father was a Wall Street investment banker and her mother was a drama critic. The Wyatt family would settle into the elite of New York High Society when Jane was just three months old. As she grew older she attended the exclusive Chapin School and would later go on to Barnard College. After two years of college, she left to join the apprentice program at the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, Massachusetts. For the next six months she would appear in various roles. Taking herself down in the Social Registry of New York she went on to Broadway. Her first role was in a production of "Trade Winds" as Rose Hobart's understudy. In 1934, Jane made the transition from stage to screen even landing a contract from Universal. She made her feature film debut in the James Whales film "One More River." In 1935, she married Edgar Bethune Ward, a union that would last almost 65 years and produced two sons. Over the next 20 years she juggled work and family making 25 films which include: "We're Only Human" (1935), "Great Expectations" (1936), "Girl from God's Country" (1940), "The Kansan" (1943), and "None But the Lonely Heart" (1944), opposite Cary Grant and Ethel Barrymore. As the years went on her parts in films got smaller, not for lack of talent, so she made the transition back to the stage, and then to television. In 1954 she got the role that would garner her three "Emmy Awards" as 'Margaret Anderson." Though the show was called "Father Knows Best," mother took home more Emmys than her co-star Robert Young. After the show ended her focus went back to films and the occasional guest appearances' on various television programs. "Star Trek" fans will best remember Jane as 'Mr. Spock's' mother 'Amanda' in a classic episode from the second season. She would continue to work throughout the 1960s and 1970s though never in any major roles. In 1977, she would once again step into the role that made her famous, appearing in two "Father Knows Best" reunion movies. For five years beginning in 1983, Jane was a regular on the show "St. Elsewhere." Her last feature film role came in 1986 once again playing 'Amanda' in "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home." In the 1990s, she retired from show business. She was last seen in the made for television movie "Simisola" in 1996. Jane would spend her later years at home with her family, and was rarely seen in public. In 1998 at age 86 she said goodbye to long-time friend and co-star Robert Young after the beloved actor died of respiratory failure at age 91. She was seen on the arm of her television son Bill Gray at Young's funeral. In 2000, her beloved husband Edgar died the day before the couple's 65th wedding anniversary. Well into her 90s Jane would never refuse an autograph request from a fan, and spent a lot of time answering her fan mail.
Bio by: The Perplexed Historian
Edgar Bethune Ward
1907–2000 (m. 1935)