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Academy-winner Jane Wyman dies at 93

September 11, 2007 03:19 IST

Jane Wyman, an Academy Award-winner and former US president Ronald Reagan's first wife who was known internationally for her role as the ruthless vineyard owner in television's long-running Falcon Crest series, has died at her desert home. She was 93.

Wyman, who won an Oscar for her role as the deaf rape victim in Johnny Belinda died at her Palm Springs home, said Richard Adney of Forest Lawn Memorial Park and Mortuary in Cathedral City. No other details are immediately available.

Wyman's film career began with Gold Diggers of 1937 and ended in 1969 co-starring with Bob Hope and Jackie Gleason in How to Commit Marriage. From 1981 to 1990 she played Angela Channing, a Napa Valley winery owner who maintained her power with a steely will on Falcon Crest.

Her marriage in 1940 to fellow Warner Bros. contract player Reagan was celebrated in the fan magazines as one of Hollywood's ideal unions. While he was in uniform during World War II, her career ascended, signaled by her 1946 Academy Award nomination for The Yearling.

The couple divorced in 1948, the year she won the award for Johnny Belinda. Reagan reportedly cracked to a friend, "Maybe, I should name Johnny Belinda as co-respondent."

After Reagan became governor of California and then president of the United States, Wyman kept a decorous silence about her ex-husband, who had married actress Nancy Davis. In a 1968 newspaper interview, Wyman explained the reason, "It's not because I'm bitter or because I don't agree with him politically. I've always been a registered Republican. But it's bad taste to talk about ex-husbands and ex-wives, that's all."

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