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."

Interviewee(s)
Highlights
Jane Wyatt on her character "Margaret Anderson" on Father Knows Best and becoming an iconic TV mom
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted and finally getting a role again
Jane Wyatt on her co-stars on Father Knows Best - her "children" played by Elinor Donahue, Billy Gray, and Lauren Chapin
Jane Wyatt on her work as "Spock's mother" on Star Trek
Jane Wyatt on people confusing her with actress Jane Wyman
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
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

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
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

Chapter 3

On her co-stars on Father Knows Best; on the show's production, setting, writers and directors
On winning three Emmys for her role on Father Knows Best; on the end of the show and returning to film work
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

Chapter 4

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

Alfred Hitchcock Presents aka The Alfred Hitchcock Hour

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on The Alfred Hitchcock Hour 

Bell Telephone Hour, The

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on The Bell Telephone Hour

CBS Playhouse

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse

Confidential For Women

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Confidential for Women

Emmy Awards, The (Primetime and Daytime)

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

Father Knows Best

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

Father Knows Best Reunion Specials

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Jane Wyatt on the several Father Knows Best Reunions

Hollywood Television Theatre

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Hollywood Television Theatre

Love, American Style

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on the premiere of Love, American Style

Marcus Welby, M.D.

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

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"

See How They Run

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

St. Elsewhere

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Jane Wyatt on her recurring role on St. Elsewhere
Jane Wyatt on memorable storylines and episodes of St. Elsewhere

Star Trek

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

Anthology Drama

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Jane Wyatt on the excitement of working in live television
Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage

Characters & Catchphrases

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

Emmy Awards

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

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)
Jane Wyatt on protesting the Hollywood Blacklist
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted
Jane Wyatt on why she believes the Blacklist era happened

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)
Jane Wyatt on protesting the Hollywood Blacklist
Jane Wyatt on learning she had been blacklisted
Jane Wyatt on why she believes the Blacklist era happened

Pop Culture

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

Actress

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Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage
Jane Wyatt on her acting technique
Jane Wyatt on advice to aspiring actors

Performers

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Jane Wyatt on the differences between acting for film, television, and the stage
Jane Wyatt on her acting technique
Jane Wyatt on advice to aspiring actors
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"

Comedy Series

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

Ralph Bellamy

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse

Herbert Brodkin

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Jane Wyatt on working with producer Herbert Brodkin

Frank Capra

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Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon"
Jane Wyatt on appearing in the Frank Capra film "Lost Horizon"

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
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter played by Lauren Chapin on Father Knows Best

Ronald Colman

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

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
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter played by Elinor Donahue on Father Knows Best
Jane Wyatt on her TV daughter, played by Elinor Donahue, being pregnant in real life on the last season of Father Knows Best

Ed Flanders

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Jane Wyatt on cast and crew members on St. Elsewhere

Benny Goodman

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Jane Wyatt on the first time she saw television

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
Jane Wyatt on her TV son played by Billy Gray on Father Knows Best

Gene Hackman

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Jane Wyatt on appearing on an episode of CBS Playhouse

Sam Jaffe

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

Elia Kazan

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Jane Wyatt on working with Elia Kazan

Charles Laughton

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

Norman Lloyd

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Jane Wyatt on working with Norman Lloyd

Leonard Nimoy

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

Bruce Paltrow

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Jane Wyatt on cast and crew members on St. Elsewhere

Gregory Peck

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

Arthur Penn

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Jane Wyatt on working with director Arthur Penn

Jack P. Pierce

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

Eugene B. Rodney

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

William D. Russell

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

Lee Strasberg

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

Peter Tewksbury

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

Cicely Tyson

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Jane Wyatt on her work on Hollywood Television Theater

Paul West

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Jane Wyatt on the writers on Father Knows Best - Paul West

Jane Wyman

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Jane Wyatt on people confusing her with actress Jane Wyman

Robert Young

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

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