Actress Jane Wyatt dies at 96

Oct. 23, 2006 at 12:08 AM
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BEL AIR, Calif., Oct. 22 (UPI) -- Jane Wyatt, known to U.S. TV viewers as the idealized mom on "Father Knows Best," has died at her home in Bel Air, Calif., at 96.

Wyatt died Friday. Family members said she died in her sleep, the Washington Post reported.

Wyatt, who was dropped from the New York Social Register when she became an actress, had extensive stage credits and appeared in such films as "Lost Horizon" in 1937 and "None but the Lonely Heart" in 1944.

From 1954-60, she co-starred with Robert Young on "Father Knows Best," winning three Emmys for her work as Margaret Anderson on the series whose title became a form of shorthand for '50s-style paternalism in American culture.

Her TV credits include guest-starring roles on "Alfred Hitchcock Presents" and "Fantasy Island." She played Mr. Spock's mother on an episode of "Star Trek."

Born Jane Waddington Wyatt on Aug. 12, 1910, in Campgaw, N.J., Wyatt was raised in New York and attended Barnard College. She regained her standing on the social register in 1935, when she married investment broker Edgar B. Ward, the Post said.

Ward died in 2000.

Survivors include two sons, Christopher Ward of Piedmont, Calif., and Michael Ward of Los Angeles, as well as three grandchildren and seven great-grandchildren.

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