Jean Hagen was a stage, radio and screen actress who is best known for her portrayal of Danny Thomas' first wife in the television series "Make Room for Daddy."
A native of Chicago, Hagen began her professional career in radio after about a year at local stations. She moved to network broadcasting while taking drama courses at Lake Forest College and Northwestern University.
After college, she moved to New York City, where she was for a time unsuccessful at obtaining roles on the legitimate stage. But she became well known in radio with roles in the daytime serials "Light of the World," "Hollywood Story" and "Grand Central Station."
Finally breaking into legitimate theater, she appeared in the plays "Swan Song," "Another Part of the Forest," "Ghosts" and "Born Yesterday."
But it was a leading role, opposite Lee Tracy in "The Traitor," that brought her to the attention of MGM producer Sam Zimbalist, who signed her to her first motion picture role in "Side Street," which was filmed in New York.
Her other film credits included "Adam's Rib," "The Asphalt Jungle," "Singin' in the Rain," "Shadow in the Sky," "The Big Wife" and "Carbine Williams."
Her real impact, however, came late in her career when she was cast as Danny Thomas' understanding and long-suffering wife in "Make Room for Daddy." But she quit the role after three seasons, saying she wanted to be "just a wife and mother in real life."
However, she appeared professionally again as Fred MacMurray's wife in the Walt Disney picture "The Shaggy Dog."
|1952||Best Supporting Actress||Singin' in the Rain||Nomination|