Old Movie Teams

Weren’t they also in that other movie?

Jane Wyman & Ronald Reagan

Jane Wyman and Ronald Reagan were married in January 1940, not yet two weeks following the theatrical release of their second film together Brother Rat and Baby. They play sweethearts and are reprising the roles they perform in the original Brother Rat (1938). By the end of 1940, theater audiences saw this duo play themselves as husband and wife and/or sweethearts in three other productions: 1) the short Alice in Movieland, in which they make cameo appearances as themselves; 2) the third and final installment of the Brother Rat series, An Angel from Texas; 3) and another sequel (this time to the Tugboat Annie franchise) Tugboat Annie Sails Again. Not until 1949 do they again (and for the last time) appear in a theatrical release. They portray, only briefly and separately, themselves in It’s a Great Feeling. In the year prior to the release of this movie, they had divorced. Ms. Wyman’s film career was on the ascendance, she having just won the Academy Award for her portrayal of Belinda McDonald in the 1948 Johnny Belinda. Mr. Reagan’s career (in the movies, that is) was at this point on the wane.

It is perhaps mistaken to claim that only a movie first brought these two together and, as Ronald Reagan is famously (and perhaps apocryphally) quoted, it was at last a movie that caused their divorce (a reference to the loss of a daughter in 1947 in tandem with Ms. Wyman’s moving portrayal in Johnny Belinda of a mother feeling quite irreconcilable to the prospect of losing a child). But there can be no mistaking that it is a movie or, more accurately, movies that forever keep this charming and endearing couple together.

1 Comment»

  pkingwp wrote @

Jane Wyman, who died September 10, 2007, at the age of 90, was married a total of at least 4 times. There is a suggestion of a 5th marriage, her very first, but I can find no corroborating evidence that such a marriage ever took place. Her marriage to Myron Futterman in 1937 lasted a little more than a year (the two separated after just 3 months together, presumably because Mr. Futterman did not want children). Her final two marriages were to the same man, Fred Karger, and culminated in a second divorce in 1965. Having converted to Catholicism in the mid 1950s, she never remarried after her 1965 divorce.

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