Phyllis Thaxter

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Phyllis Thaxter

From the movie Bewitched (1945)
Born Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter
November 20, 1919(1919-11-20)[1][2]
Portland, Maine, U.S.
Died August 14, 2012(2012-08-14) (aged 92)
Longwood, Florida, U.S.
Cause of death Alzheimer's disease
Resting place Cremated
Occupation Actress
Years active 1940–1992
Known for Martha Kent in Superman,
Ellen Lawson in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
Spouse James Thomas Aubrey, Jr. (m. 1944–1962) «start: (1944)–end+1: (1963)»"Marriage: James Thomas Aubrey, Jr. to Phyllis Thaxter" Location: (linkback://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Thaxter)
(divorced),
Gilbert Lea (m. 1962–2008) «start: (1962)–end+1: (2009)»"Marriage: Gilbert Lea to Phyllis Thaxter" Location: (linkback://simple.wikipedia.org/wiki/Phyllis_Thaxter)
(his death)
Children Skye Aubrey,
James Aubrey

Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter (November 20, 1919 – August 14, 2012)[2] was an American stage and movie actress. She was known for playing Superman's mother in the 1978 movie Superman, and as Ellen Lawson in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.

Early life[change | change source]

Thaxter was born on November 20, in 1919.[3] in Portland, Maine to Sidney Thaxter and to his wife.

Career[change | change source]

She had worked a lot on Broadway since 1940. When Dorothy McGuire went to Hollywood, Phyllis replaced her in the play Claudia. In 1944, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her first movie was with Van Johnson in the wartime movie Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo.[2] Thaxter played Joan Alris Ellis, a woman suffering from split personality in the movie Bewitched in 1945. In 1948, she played a cattle owner's daughter alongside Barbara Bel Geddes in Blood on the Moon.

At MGM, she routinely portrayed the ever-patient wife to a number of leading men. She moved to Warner Brothers in the 1950s, but usually played the same type of roles.

Thaxter's career ended for a while after being ill of polio in 1952. She made a comeback on the television series in Rawhide. She would later appear on other television programs such as; Wagon Train, The Twilight Zone, and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. In 1978, Thaxter was cast along with Glenn Ford as Ma and Pa Kent in Superman.

Personal life[change | change source]

Thaxter was married to James Thomas Aubrey, Jr. from 1944 until they divorced in 1962. They had a son and a daughter. She was married to Gilbert Lea from 1962 until his death in 2008.

Death[change | change source]

Thaxter died on August 14, 2012 in her home in Longwood, Florida from Alzheimer's disease, aged 92.[2] She had the disease for eight years. She was cremated and her ashes were thrown to the sea.

Movies[change | change source]

  • Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944)
  • Bewitched (1945)
  • Week-End at the Waldorf (1945)
  • Tenth Avenue Angel (1946)
  • The Sea of Grass (1947)
  • Living in a Big Way (1947)
  • Blood on the Moon (1948)
  • Act of Violence (1948)
  • No Man of Her Own (1950)
  • The Breaking Point (1950)
  • Jim Thorpe -- All-American (1951)
  • Fort Worth (1951)
  • Springfield Rifle (1952)
  • Wagon Train (1959)
  • Women's Prison (1955)
  • The World of Henry Orien (1964)
  • The Invaders (TV series), Season 2/21, Episode: "The Peacemaker" (1968)
  • Superman (1978)

References[change | change source]

  1. 1920 U.S. Census
  2. 2.0 2.1 2.2 2.3 Denise Grady (August 18, 2012). "Phyllis Thaxter, Actress Who Played Superman’s Mother, Dies at 92". New York Times. http://www.nytimes.com/2012/08/19/movies/phyllis-thaxter-actress-who-played-supermans-ma-kent-dies-at-92.html?src=recg. Retrieved 2012-08-22. "Her death was confirmed by her daughter, Skye Aubrey, who said that Ms. Thaxter had had Alzheimer’s disease for the last eight years. ..."
  3. Some sources say she was born 1921, while other sources incorrectly say she was born in 1919.

Other websites[change | change source]