Jane Wyatt

Actress


The Academy of Television Arts & Sciences Foundation Presents

02:26

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About
About this interview

In her two hour Archive interview, Jane Wyatt (1910-2006) describes her lengthy career in film, stage, and television. She talks about her feature film debut in 1934 in James Whale's One More River and her subsequent film roles in such classics as Frank Capra's Lost Horizon and Elia Kazan's Gentleman's Agreement. She discusses the McCarthy era, in which she found herself on an industry blacklist, unable to work in film. She recalls her television debut on Robert Montgomery Presents in the title role of "Kitty Foyle" (1950) and talks of working in "live" television. Wyatt then details her most memorable and enduring work for television  -- on Father Knows Best (1954-63), in which she played the role of wife and mother "Margaret Anderson," a part that won her three consecutive Emmy Awards. She talks of her later television work on Bell Telephone Hour and Hollywood Television Theatre, and recounts her appearance as Mr. Spock's human mother on the series Star Trek (a role she repeated in the feature film Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home).  Wyatt also describes her memorable recurring role as "Katherine Auschlander" on the medical drama St. Elsewhere.  Gary Rutkowski conducted the interview on November 16, 1999 in Los Angeles, CA.

"You have to give an awful lot to be actor. You have to be awfully strong physically, really, it's a tough grind. Because these hours are terribly long. And also the disappointments are so huge. You might be on the top of the heap and then all of the sudden, boom, you don't get another job. It's very hard to take, truly it is."

Highlights
Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
03:27
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted and finally getting a role again
01:50
Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
01:48
Jane Wyatt on her work as "Spock's mother" on Star Trek
00:43
Jane Wyatt on people confusing her with actress Jane Wyman
01:15
Full Interview

Chapter 1

On her childhood and early influences; on her love of horses and theater; on attending Barnard College for two years and leaving to pursue acting
09:12
On moving to Los Angeles; on her film roles and contract with Universal; on people confusing her with Jane Wyman; on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist
18:42

Chapter 2

On the Hollywood Blacklist, contd.; on learning she had been blacklisted; on appearing in several productions of Robert Montgomery Presents; on the excitement of working in live television
17:30
On getting cast in Father Knows Best; on production and the radio version of Father Knows Best; on the show's scripts and guest stars
11:04

Chapter 3

On her co-stars on Father Knows Best; on the show's production, setting, writers and directors
13:43
On winning three Emmys for her role on Father Knows Best; on the end of the show and returning to film work
06:27
On her appearances on Wagon Train, The Virginian, The  Alfred Hitchcock Hour, and other shows; on her work as "Spock's mother" on Star Trek
08:32

Chapter 4

On her work on Star Trek contd.; on appearing on Hollywood Television Theater and in several Father Knows Best Reunions
05:25
On her recurring role on St. Elsewhere; on advice to aspiring performers, Mt. Jane Wyatt, and how she'd like to be remembered
09:38
Shows

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 
00:51

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on The Bell Telephone Hour
01:00

CBS Playhouse

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse
01:20

Confidential For Women

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Confidential for Women
01:40

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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Jane Wyatt on winning three Emmys for her role on Father Knows Best
01:14

Father Knows Best

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Jane Wyatt on how she got cast and production on Father Knows Best
02:02
Jane Wyatt on the radio version and premise of Father Knows Best
03:06
Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
03:27
Jane Wyatt on Father Knows Best scripts and guest stars
02:25
Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
01:48
Jane Wyatt on her co-star on Father Knows Best - her "husband" played by Robert Young
01:04
Jane Wyatt on the writers on Father Knows Best
01:01
Jane Wyatt on the filming of Father Knows Best
00:48
Jane Wyatt on the directors on Father Knows Best
00:55
Jane Wyatt on the town of Springfield on Father Knows Best and the show's sponsors, cancellation, and network switch
01:43
Jane Wyatt on the popularity of Father Knows Best
00:38
Jane Wyatt on her favorite episodes of Father Knows Best
01:56
Jane Wyatt on the Anderson family on Father Knows Best as the ideal American family
01:31
Jane Wyatt on why Father Knows Best ended
02:03
Jane Wyatt on being typecast after Father Knows Best ended
00:36

Father Knows Best Reunion Specials

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Jane Wyatt on the several Father Knows Best Reunions
01:22

Hollywood Television Theatre

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Hollywood Television Theatre
02:37

Love, American Style

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on the premiere of Love, American Style
00:13

Marcus Welby, M.D.

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on Marcus Welby, M.D. with Robert Young
00:25

Robert Montgomery Presents

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in several productions of Robert Montgomery Presents, including "Kitty Foyle" and "The Awful Truth"
06:16

See How They Run

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in the first TV movie, See How They Run
00:32

St. Elsewhere

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Jane Wyatt on her recurring role on St. Elsewhere
02:05
Jane Wyatt on memorable storylines and episodes of St. Elsewhere
02:16

Star Trek

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Jane Wyatt on her work as "Spock's mother" on Star Trek
01:30
Jane Wyatt on her work on Star Trek contd. and fan mail she receives; on attending Star Trek conventions
01:26
Topics

Anthology Drama

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Jane Wyatt on the excitement of working in live television
05:18
Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage
01:11

Characters & Catchphrases

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Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
03:27

Emmy Awards

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Jane Wyatt on winning three Emmys for her role on Father Knows Best
01:14

Hollywood Blacklist

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Jane Wyatt on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist and her involvement with the CFA (Committee for the First Amendment)
04:29
Jane Wyatt on protesting the Hollywood Blacklist
02:10
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted
01:50
Jane Wyatt on why she believes the Blacklist era happened
01:32

Industry Crossroads

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Jane Wyatt on her recollections of the Hollywood Blacklist and her involvement with the CFA (Committee for the First Amendment)
04:29
Jane Wyatt on protesting the Hollywood Blacklist
02:10
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted
01:50
Jane Wyatt on why she believes the Blacklist era happened
01:32

Pop Culture

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Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
03:27
Professions

Actress

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Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage
01:11
Jane Wyatt on her acting technique
13:12
Jane Wyatt on advice to aspiring actors
01:04

Performers

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Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage
01:11
Jane Wyatt on her acting technique
01:45
Jane Wyatt on advice to aspiring actors
01:04
Genres

Classic Anthology Series

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in several productions of Robert Montgomery Presents, including "Kitty Foyle" and "The Awful Truth"
06:16

Comedy Series

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Jane Wyatt on how she got cast on, the production of, and premise of Father Knows Best
05:08
Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
03:27
Jane Wyatt on her co-stars, the writers, directors, and the end of Father Knows Best
18:32
People

Ralph Bellamy

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse
01:20

Herbert Brodkin

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Jane Wyatt on working with producer Herbert Brodkin
00:24

Frank Capra

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon"
01:56
Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon"
01:03

Lauren Chapin

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Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
01:37
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter played by Lauren Chapin on Father Knows Best
00:21

Ronald Colman

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon" with Ronald Colman
01:56

Elinor Donahue

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Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
01:37
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter played by Elinor Donahue on Father Knows Best
01:21
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter, played by Elinor Donahue, being pregnant in real life on the last season of Father Knows Best
00:15

Ed Flanders

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Jane Wyatt on cast and crew members on St. Elsewhere
00:16

Benny Goodman

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Jane Wyatt on the first time she saw television
00:37

Billy Gray

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Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
01:37
Jane Wyatt on her TV son played by Billy Gray on Father Knows Best
01:24

Gene Hackman

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse
01:20

Sam Jaffe

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon" with Sam Jaffe
01:03

Elia Kazan

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Jane Wyatt on working with Elia Kazan
01:10

Charles Laughton

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Jane Wyatt on studying with Charles Laughton and using what she learned in the film "Pitfall"
02:56

Norman Lloyd

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Jane Wyatt on working with Norman Lloyd
00:51

Leonard Nimoy

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Jane Wyatt on her work as "Spock's mother" on Star Trek
00:34

Bruce Paltrow

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Jane Wyatt on cast and crew members on St. Elsewhere
00:25

Gregory Peck

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in "Gentleman's Agreement" with Gregory Peck
01:26

Arthur Penn

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Jane Wyatt on working with director Arthur Penn
00:29

Jack P. Pierce

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Jane Wyatt on getting her makeup done by Jack Pierce while under contract at Universal
00:32

Eugene B. Rodney

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Jane Wyatt on producer Eugene B. Rodney of Father Knows Best
01:30

William D. Russell

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Jane Wyatt on the directors on Father Knows Best - William D. Russell and Peter Tewksbury
00:33

Lee Strasberg

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Jane Wyatt on her acting technique and studying method acting with Lee Strasberg
01:19

Peter Tewksbury

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Jane Wyatt on the directors on Father Knows Best - William D. Russell and Peter Tewksbury
00:33

Cicely Tyson

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Hollywood Television Theater
01:15

Paul West

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Jane Wyatt on the writers on Father Knows Best - Paul West
00:06

Jane Wyman

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Jane Wyatt on people confusing her with actress Jane Wyman
01:15

Robert Young

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Jane Wyatt on her co-star on Father Knows Best - her "husband" played by Robert Young
01:04
Jane Wyatt on appearing on Marcus Welby, M.D. with Robert Young
00:25

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