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Wyatt, whose exhilaration career covered stage, screen and also television over seven decades, passed away Friday in her sleep at she Bel-Air home, nephew Nicholas Ward said.
A Broadway veteran who made her display screen debut in 1934, Wyatt showed up in much more than 30 movie in leading and supporting roles, including “None yet the Lonely Heart” v Cary Grant, “Gentleman’s Agreement” v Gregory Peck, “Canadian Pacific” through Randolph Scott, “Task Force” with Gary Cooper, “Boomerang” through Dana Andrews and also “Pitfall” with prick Powell.
Her many memorable screen role was the ethereal young Shangri-la beauty who enchants Ronald Colman in “Lost Horizon,” candid Capra’s 1937 film version of the James Hilton novel.
But Wyatt, who regularly left Hollywood to go back to Broadway in the 1930s and ‘40s, never attained the sort of stardom top top the large screen that she completed on tv opposite Robert Young top top “Father knows Best.”
As the warm and also charming Jim and Margaret Anderson, Young and Wyatt presided over your idealistically wholesome household at 607 southern Maple Street in the usual Midwestern ar of Springfield.
The series, i beg your pardon ran indigenous 1954 to 1960 and in prime-time reruns for three much more years, featured Elinor Donahue as eldest son Betty, or “Princess”; Billy Gray together Bud; and also Lauren Chapin together Kathy, or “Kitten.”
“Father knows Best” began on radio in 1949 certification Young and also June Whitley. Yet Young and Eugene Rodney, Young’s companion in ownership and also production of the series, want Wyatt come play his wife on television.
When she to be originally readily available the role, however, Wyatt turned the down.
“I’d to be doing a the majority of live TV drama in which ns was the star,” she said in a 1990 interview v the Toronto Star. “I didn’t desire to be simply a mother.”
But month later, Wyatt’s investment-broker husband, Edgar Ward, whom she married in 1937, told she she should give the script another read. She did, and, she recalled, “It adjusted my life.”
When the display debuted in 1954, a reviewer because that the brand-new York times praised Young and also Wyatt for restoring “parental reputation on TV.” The exact same year, the series won a Sylvania Award for excellence.
“Our shows were written to it is in entertaining, however the writers had actually something come say,” she called the linked Press in 1989. Every script, Wyatt said, “always addressed a tiny problem that was universal. That appealed to everyone. I think the world is hankering for a family. Civilization may want to be free, but they still desire a atom family.”
Wyatt to be proud of the series, which has actually been criticized for no being a reality portrayal the American family life.
“We assumed it was,” she said The times in 1986, speaking for herself and also Young. “We, every of us, has actually been married because that 50 years. That is what we wanted to do for our children. We can’t have actually it precisely like life; it would certainly be too boring. Us all thought it to be life — as we want it come be.”
Wyatt also disagreed v latter-day doubters who complain the Margaret Anderson was constantly subordinate to her husband. “She to be the power behind the throne,” she said. “She aided her husband out. Mother constantly knew best, too.”
During the show’s heyday, Wyatt said, numerous viewers assumed she and also Young were yes, really married.
“In fact, when I even thought ns was Mrs. Jim Anderson,” she claimed in a 1960 interview. “We were doing some personal appearances in Seattle, and when i checked into the hotel the salesman said, ‘Why, you’re Mrs. Jim Anderson.’ i smiled, looked under at the register and also before ns knew, it, I had written ‘Mrs. Jim Anderson.’ ”
During those years, she recalled in a later interview, she spent more time with Young than she did with her genuine husband.
“I remember when going end to the Youngs’ house for a dinner party,” she said, “and once I walked in, I fixed Bob’s tie without even thinking around it.”
Wyatt was likewise often asked if the youngsters on the display were yes, really hers.
She stated she came to be close to Donahue, Gray and Chapin, “but you can never take the ar of a real mother. Ns finally identified that our partnership was much more like a favourite aunt through her favourite nieces and also nephews.”
Wyatt, a mother of two sons, stated she offered to discover herself correcting her TV offspring “just together I would certainly my very own children. But I guess the main difference was that i didn’t feel the devastating responsibility the a real mommy feels for she children.”
Wyatt won she Emmys because that the collection in 1958, ’59 and also ’60, the exact same year she obtained a quote from the California Assembly for “consistency in outstanding performance together Margaret Anderson in ‘Father knows Best.’ ”
Young, who passed away in 1998 at age 91, chose to end the height 10-rated show in 1960 since he feeling it had used up every the potential story lines and also the personalities played by Donahue and also Gray had actually grown up.
The cast was reunited for two TV movie in the late 1970s: “The dad Knows best Reunion” and also “Father to know Best: residence for Christmas.”
“They were fun to do, yet enough is enough,” Wyatt stated in 1990. “People favor the original display precisely because it’s of an additional era. Why bore them by farming old?”
Wyatt to be born Aug. 12, 1910, in Campgaw, N.J. She father, Christopher Wyatt, to be a new York invest banker, and also her mother, Euphemia valve Rensselaer Wyatt, was a playwright, drama critic and also editor.
Wyatt specialty in background and took drama courses at Barnard College, but she left after two years to become an apprentice in ~ the Berkshire Playhouse in Stockbridge, Mass.
She made her an initial appearance top top the new York phase in “Give Me Yesterday” in 1931 and also in 1933 succeeded Margaret Sullavan in “Dinner at Eight” ~ above Broadway.
Signed to a short-lived contract by global in 1934, she made her display debut the year play the heroine’s donate sister in James Whale’s “One an ext River.” Her first female on-screen lead was in “Great Expectations” in 1934.
Throughout the late ‘30s and ‘40s, she alternated between stage and also screen, including starring on Broadway in 1945 the contrary Franchot ton in “Hope for the Best.”
Wyatt had a brush v the Hollywood blacklist for several years in the early on 1950s, when her film occupational dried up.
Wyatt, who had actually joined Humphrey Bogart, Lauren Bacall and also other Hollywood stars on a trip to Washington in 1947 come protest the home Un-American tasks Committee hearings, said the Chicago Tribune in 1989 the she would get a job offer ~ above a film, “then all of a sudden it would be rescinded.”
“I was never ever a member the the Communist Party, but they brought up every sorts that charges the I had actually been come the rap Theater, i m sorry was taken into consideration subversive,” she said. “All we did there to be the classics, ‘Volpone,’ ‘The Cherry Orchard.’ i still nothing know just how they controlled to discover a Marxist subtext in
Wyatt also was labeling as having actually been “prematurely anti-fascist” due to the fact that she opposed Hitler before the unified States entered the war.
“I attended a concert through the L.A. Philharmonic calling for a 2nd front versus the Nazis,” she said. “I don’t understand why that was held against me, since
After “Father knows Best” ended, Wyatt ongoing acting, including an appearance together Spock’s mommy on TV’s “Star Trek,” a function she reprised in the 1986 film: “Star Trek IV: The trip Home.” She additionally was moderator-host that an abc daytime series, “Confidential because that Women,” in 1967.
Over the next three decades, she continued to appear in regional theater and make TV guest shots, consisting of a recurring role as Norman Lloyd’s (Dr. Auschlander’s) wife on “St. Elsewhere.”
Wyatt was heavily associated in charity work, specifically the march of Dimes, for which she had worked since its establishing in 1938. She additionally was affiliated with Los Angeles Beautiful, a public beautification program, for many years.
Decades after leaving “Father to know Best” behind, Wyatt was regularly recognized in public together the top Margaret Anderson. Yet in a 1990 interview, she identified that she wasn’t lot like she famously trained TV character.
“I never ever vacuumed at house wearing mine pearls,” she said. “In fact, I never ever vacuumed at all; i was constantly working at the studio.
“I would have gone crazy remaining at home like Margaret Anderson, and also my household knew that.”
Wyatt is endured by young Christopher Ward that Piedmont, Calif., and Michael Ward of Los Angeles; two grandsons; a granddaughter; and also seven great-grandchildren.
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Services will certainly be private, and instead of flower the family asks the donations in Wyatt’s surname be made come the march of Dimes.