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Father Knows Best starring Robert Young (Jim Anderson), Jane Wyatt (Margaret),
Elinor Donahue (Betty), Billy Gray (Bud), Lauren Chapmin (Kathy)
directed by Frank Tewksberry

Tales From The Father Knows Best set Unlike most sitcoms yesterday and today which give actors some room for ad libs and minor word changes, Peter Tewksberry, the man who ran the production of Father Knows Best with "an iron hand," would allow no variance from the printed script and, according to cast members, every "the" and "and" in the lines must be read exactly, even if the performer had problems with what acting teachers call "the flow." How much this contributed to Father Knows Best being the definitive family sitcom (received better by critics than the Leave It To Beaver and My Three Sons counterparts) is arguable. Next: Cast Biographies...

about Robert Young An affable, forthright lead with prototypical "average guy" good looks, Robert Young entered films in 1931 and for 25 years embodied the easy-going but eminently sensible US male.

Headlining many programmers and medium-sized "A" productions, he made films in every genre, and was often cast as an agreeable consort to more dominant star actresses. Like the star whose career and image most parallels his, Fred MacMurray, Young moved smoothly in middle age to TV, starring in the landmark family sitcom, "Father Knows Best" (CBS and NBC, 1954-1960). It was only one step from paternal ideal to the avuncular, and Young later enjoyed another popular series with the similarly soothing medical drama, "Marcus Welby, M.D." (ABC, 1969-1976).

Not as big in films as Fred MacMurray, Young was never as edgy or whimsical as James Stewart, or as earnest and striving as Henry Fonda. His TV success was greater than that of any other Golden Era Hollywood Everyman, though, because, regardless of his real talent as an actor, he was relaxed and unthreatening. 5Born in Chicago but raised in California, Young began acting at the Pasadena Playhouse and made his film debut in Fox's "The Black Camel" (1931). That same year, he was signed by MGM, where his first major role came as Helen Hayes' son in the mother-love weeper, "The Sin of Madelon Claudet" (1931).

Young soon played similarly boyish roles in support of Norma Shearer in "Strange Interlude" (1932) and Marie Dressler in "Tugboat Annie" (1933). He also began playing leads in programmers and "B" pictures, which, over the course of his 14-year stint at Metro included "Lazy River" (1934), "Calm Yourself" (1935), " Miracles for Sale" (1939) and "Joe Smith, American" (1942). Young also vied for the hand of such estimable female stars as Joan Crawford (in several films including Dorothy Arzner's striking "The Bride Wore Red," 1937), Margaret Sullavan (the moving "Three Comrades," 1938) and Jeanette MacDonald ("Cairo," 1942). At this writing, Robert Young is retired, still with us.

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about Jayne Wyatt From Margaret Anderson to Amanda Spock, "Star Trek's" Mr. Spock's human mama, American actress Jayne Wyatt was born. August. 12, 1910?, in Campgaw, N.J.

Other notable film roles included those in "None but the Lonely Heart" (1944), opposite Cary Grant; "Canadian Pacific" (1949), as a heroic nurse; and Task Force (1949), as Gary Cooper's faithful wife. She made two "Father Knows Best" reunion made -for-TV films and earned a fan following during the 1960s portraying the human mother of Mr. Spock, the Vulcan crew member of TV's "Star Trek.". She also appeared in that role for the film "Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home" (1986)

We lost Jayne on October 20, 2006. She died of natural causes om Bel Air, California.

About Elinor Donahue (Betty) Elinor was born born on April 19, 1937 Her mother, a theatrical costumer, moonlighted as a department store saleswoman in order to pay for her daughter's dancing lessons. Appearing in dancing-chorus film roles from the age of five, Donahue was at one point a ballet-school classmate of future Fred Astaire partner Barrie Chase. Striking out on her own at 12, Donahue attained work as a Las Vegas showgirl at 14; the fact that she was underage was discreetly covered by her agent and her co-workers, who took a paternal interest in the impressionable young dancer's career. Breaking her ankle at 16, Donahue decided to forego dancing in favor of acting; she was almost immediately cast in the role of sensitive teenager Betty Anderson in the long-running (1954-60) sitcom Father_Knows_Best. It was the first of many TV stints for Donahue; over the next three decades she would appear as a regular on such series as The Andy Griffith Show, Many Happy Returns, The_Odd_Couple, Mulligan's_Stew, Please_Stand_By and Doctor's Private Lives. She became a special favorite of writer/director Savage Steve Holland, who cast Donahue as the ditsy mother of a teen-aged secret agent on the 1987 Fox network series The New Adventures of Beans Baxter, and as the voice of a suburban mom who spends her waking hours trying to learn an indecipherable foreign language on Holland's cartoon series Eek! The Cat. This fey, eccentric quality was carried over into Donahue's performance as the eternally bathrobe-clad wife of Bob Elliot and mother of 30-year-old paperboy Chris Elliot on the 1990 Fox sitcom Get a Life. Donahue's film appearances have been less frequent; when she showed up in a cameo as a department store clerk in Gary Marshall's Pretty_Women (1987), there was an audible appreciative sigh of recognition from movie audiences everywhere. Elinor Donahue was the wife of Columbia TV executive Harry Ackerman from 1961 to Ackerman's death in 1991. Hal Erickson, All Movie Guide

About Billy Gray (Bud) Born William Thomas Gray on January 13, 1938 in Los Angeles. Billy Gray began appearing in movie bit parts at age 5. The best-remembered of his 1950s film appearances were in The Day the Earth Stood Still (1951) as the inquisitive son of Patricia Neal; On Moonlight Bay (1952), as Booth Tarkington's Penrod; and The Seven Little Foys (1955), in which he played the teenage version of future film producer Bryan Foy. Billy was slated to portray Tag Oakley on the 1953 TV western Annie Oakley (also seen here on Oldies Television), but instead opted to co-star as Bud Anderson on the long-running Father Knows Best (1954-60). His appearances in film and on television afterward became sporadic, mostly low budget horror films.

About Lauren Chapin (Kathy) Lauren Ann Chapin was born May 5, 1945 in Los Angeles, California. As a popular and talented child actress Lauren starred in many TV and radio programs as well as movies and commercials. She was awarded five JR. Emmy's for Best Child Actress. As an adult, she has been awarded Honorable Mayor of three cities in the states of Oklahoma, Texas and Florida for her numerous charity activities. In the past six years Lauren Chapi has raised over Two Million Dollars for Underprivileged and Abused Children through her public appearances and fundraising efforts. Currently, she is managing singers and Actors. She also performs with The Vagabond Troupe in a live… More inter-active version of Father Knows Best where she portrays Margeret Anderson for Cruise Lines, Convention Shows and Entertainment Venues all over the country. Also as having been a child star she conducts seminars on Show Business and teaching students the "do's & don'ts" of the business. As a writer Lauren Chapin is also a keynote speaker and licensed and ordained Evangelist. She has studied with Broadway's most successful dance and choreographer team, Marge and Gower Champion, France's mime Marcel Marceau, and songwriter and producer, David Blumburg. Her work lately has brought her back into the public light on such shows as Regis and The Today Show. As well as Entertainment Tonight & The Oprah Winfrey Show. She also hosted a 7 hour marathon on The Family Channel for Father's Day with the stars of Father Knows Best.


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