Monday, September 10, 2007

Jane Wyman

The Yahoo headline for her obituary calls her "Ronald Reagan's first wife," which makes me wince a little, because she deserves to be remembered for much more than that. She was a fine actress in every genre, an Oscar winner for Johnny Belinda, a fine singer who didn't do nearly enough musicals. Her movies with director Douglas Sirk, star Rock Hudson and producer Ross Hunter, Magnficent Obsession and All That Heaven Allows, almost single-handedly re-invented the "woman's picture" and re-defined an entire studio (Universal would spend the next decade and a half making movies like this). And she introduced herself to a new generation on a prime-time '80s soap, Falcon Crest.

Here she is with Bing Crosby introducing the Oscar-winning "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening":

And here's her solo number from her second movie with Crosby, Just For You:


Jacqueline T. Lynch said...

Nice tribute. "In the Cool, Cool, Cool of the Evening" has always been one of my favorites. Thanks.

Jenny Lerew said...

I just caught about half of this film--both Wyman and Alexis Smith were terrific(trivia for Jaime: Smith and her husband Craig Stevens were our landlords, renting us one of their homes on the corner of Sweetzer and Fountain for a couple of years in the 70s; too bad young Jenny had no clue who either of them were!). Wyman in particular had a great chemistry with Bing, I thought. And "Johnny Belinda", thogh considered corn now, was a wonderfully thoughtful performace. I always liked Wyman--she had a lot of moxie and exuded integrity.

Anonymous said...

The fact she shifted her career from showgirl/comedienne to JOHNNY BELINDA and women's weepie heroine is most impressive.