In 1940, he played the title character in Brigham Young Frontiersman. In 1949, he won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in Twelve O’clock High. In 1954, he played the beloved General Waverly in White Christmas. In 1964, he won an Emmy Award for his role as Principal Albert Vane on the TV series Mr. Novak. (He won again in 1965.)
In 1972, he was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. At the time, one newspaper headline read Brigham Young’ Becomes a Mormon. He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to motion pictures, at 1725 Vine Street.
Ira Dean Jagger had a long and established acting career, but is probably best known in LDS Church circles as the Hollywood film star who played the title character in the 1940 movie Brigham Young—Frontiersman. Then prophet Heber J. Grant praised his work, and this led Jagger to study the LDS Church.
He appeared in more than 90 films, often as a leading man, but usually as a second lead or in major supporting roles.
In 1949, he won the Academy Award for best supporting actor for his role in Twelve O’clock High. Dean Spoke with a pronounced “lisp” in real life, every -day speech. This speech characteristic only disappeared in front of the camera
Dean was baptized a member of the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints on July 12, 1972. At the time, one newspaper headline read, “Brigham Young Becomes a Mormon.”
He has a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame for his contribution to motion pictures. Dean and Laraine Day were the first Mormon actors to receive stars on the Hollywood Walk of Fame.
One of his best remembered roles was the pivotal role of General Thomas F. Waverly in the 1954 box-office hit White Christmas, in which he co-starred with Bing Crosby, Danny Kaye, Rosemary Clooney, and Vera Ellen.
That same year he received a Special Jury Prize at the Venice Film Festival for his role in Executive Suite.
He later had a regular role as Principal Albert Vane on the TV series Mr. Novak from 1963-1964. He also made TV guest appearances on the shows St. Elsewhere, The Waltons, Alias Smith and Jones, Kung Fu, The Partridge Family, Bonanza, The Fugitive, The FBI, and The Twilight Zone.
He passed away at 87 years old on February 5, 1991, in Santa Monica, California. He left his considerable collection of film memorabilia and papers to Brigham Young University.