Jack Wyatt

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Jack Wyatt
Born John Francis Minford Wyatt
(1917-08-19)August 19, 1917
Kansas City, Missouri, U.S.
Died April 4, 2008(2008-04-04) (aged 90)
Rockport, Texas, U.S.
Residence Partial listing:
New York City, New York
Dallas, Texas
Oklahoma City, Oklahoma
Durant, Oklahoma
Rockport, Texas
Alma mater St. Augustine's College
University of London
Occupation Advertising executive
Television host
Episcopal priest
Years active 1940s–1980s
Spouse(s) Florence Rebecca Wyatt
Children Susan Wyatt
Claudia Wyatt Smith

John Francis Minford "Jack" Wyatt (August 19, 1917 – April 4, 2008)[1] was an advertising executive and television host from New York City and Dallas, Texas, who, during his early fifties, was ordained as an Episcopalian priest. From 1958 to 1959, he was the interviewer on the ABC crime/drama reality show, Confession,[2] in which he quizzed convicted criminals on the air to determine the root causes of their lawlessness.[3] He also hosted a local version of Confession on WFAA-TV, Channel 8, in Dallas prior to the network's decision to pick up the program in the summer of 1958.[4]

Early life and career[edit]

Wyatt was born in Kansas City, Missouri, and reared in Forest Hills in the borough of Queens, New York. He began his work in radio and television production and advertising in New York. Several of his clients from Dallas prompted him to relocate there in 1954. He formed the Jack Wyatt Company, which became Wyatt, Dunagan & Williams Inc. His firm subsequently merged with Lennen & Newell, Inc., in New York. His subjects on Confession included prostitutes, murderers, counterfeiters, and alcoholics who had run afoul of the law.[3]

At the time an advertising executive, Wyatt moderated the Confession discussion with a panel that included police officers, clergy, psychiatrists, sociologists, or civic leaders. Sometimes the criminals wore hoods or mask to remain anonymous. Sam Price of Dallas, co-producer of Confession, said that many of the guests were brought from the Texas State Penitentiary in Huntsville for the interviews in Dallas. Wyatt once said that law enforcement officers had told him that Confession had actually helped in the rehabilitation of some of the criminals.[4]

According to his daughter, Susan Wyatt of Memphis, Tennessee, Wyatt began studying for the priesthood in 1967. She describes her father as "always a person who was very much involved with people and things in growth and change. He was a warm, outgoing person who touched many lives." Wyatt enrolled at St. Augustine's College in Canterbury, England and completed his last year of study at King's College London.[4]

Sam Price recalls Wyatt as having the "urging to take the next step, whatever he was doing, whether it was broadcast, advertising – from film to videotape and things like that – this was the next step for him." Price voiced surprise at the commitment to the priesthood. Wyatt was ordained at St. Paul's Cathedral in Oklahoma City, Oklahoma, where he served as an assistant priest. He later procured his own congregation in Durant in Bryan County in southeastern Oklahoma. He then became the canon to the Bishop of Oklahoma.[4]

Retirement and death[edit]

In the early 1980s, Wyatt retired to Rockport, a resort community in Aransas County on the Texas Gulf Coast and worked thereafter as a supply priest and interim rector in several area churches. He was also the spiritual director for a hospice in Rockport.

Wyatt died of cancer at his home in Rockport at the age of ninety. In addition to his daughter, he was survived by his wife, Florence Rebecca Wyatt (October 18, 1923 – September 29, 2008)[1] of Rockport, another daughter, the Reverend Claudia Wyatt Smith of Blue Hill, Maine, and a grandchild.[4] Mrs. Wyatt died some six months after her husband.

References[edit]

  1. ^ a b "Social Security Death Index". ssdi.rootsweb.ancestry.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010. 
  2. ^ Alex McNeil, Total Television (New York: Penguin Books, 1996), p. 178
  3. ^ a b "Hal Erickson, Encyclopedia of Television Law Shows: Factual and Fictional Series about Judges, Lawyers and the Courtroom, 1948–2008". Jefferson, North Carolina: McFarland and Company, Inc., 2009. Retrieved December 5, 2010. 
  4. ^ a b c d e "The Rev. John "Jack" Francis Minford Wyatt, Adman Hosted Local TV's 'Confession' Prior to Priesthood". dentonrc.com. Retrieved December 8, 2010.