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June 9, 1917
Wilmington, Delaware, U.S.
|Died||August 15, 2005 (aged 88)
Topanga, California, U.S.
|Years active||1930s–? (stage)
1978–2000 (film & television)
|Spouse(s)||Will Geer (1934–1954; divorced; 3 children)
David Marshall (divorced; 1 child)
Ware was born Herta Schwartz in Wilmington, Delaware, the daughter of Helen Ware, a musician and violin teacher, and Lazlo Schwartz, an actor who was born in Budapest. Her mother's brother was activist Harold Ware and her maternal grandmother was labor organizer and socialist Ella Reeve Bloor. Her father was Jewish and her mother was Christian.
Ware made her Broadway debut in Let Freedom Ring (November 6, 1935–February 1936), co-starring husband Will Geer, whom she had married in 1934. The couple appeared together in other New York plays, including Bury the Dead (1936), Prelude (1936), 200 Were Chosen (1936) and Journeyman (1938), and Six O'Clock Theatre (1948), all of which were short-lived.
She made her on-screen debut in 1978, when she appeared in the television film, A Question of Guilt. Subsequently, she appeared in her first feature film 1980, The Black Marble. Her second feature film was Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype, which featured Oliver Reed. She starred in 2010 in 1984. She is perhaps most recognized for her performance in the classic film Ron Howard's Cocoon, and appeared in the sequel Cocoon: The Return. She appeared in Critters 2: The Main Course as "Nana". She had roles in several other well-known films such as, Species, Practical Magic, with Sandra Bullock and Nicole Kidman, and Cruel Intentions, with Sarah Michelle Gellar and Ryan Philippe. Her role in the 1992 television film Crazy in Love earned her a CableACE Award for Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries.
Ware has made many guest appearances on classic television series including, Knots Landing, Highway to Heaven, Cagney & Lacey, The Golden Girls and ER, to name a few. She and her daughter, Ellen both made guest appearances on Star Trek: The Next Generation and Beauty and the Beast.
In 1934, Ware married actor Will Geer, with whom she had three children. She and Geer were politically-minded and relocated to Los Angeles in the early 1940s and settled in Santa Monica so that Geer could pursue his movie career. In 1951, the passionately left-wing Geer became blacklisted by Hollywood for taking the Fifth Amendment and refusing to testify before the House Un-American Activities Committee. With Geer's film career destroyed, and falling into financial difficulties, the couple lost their Los Angeles home. The pair divorced in 1954 but remained close friends. Ware later married actor David Marshall, with whom she had one child, a daughter, actress Melora Marshall. They later divorced. Ware and Geer reunited in 1973 and subsequently co-founded the Will Geer Theatricum Botanicum, which was on five acres of land that Ware purchased in Topanga Canyon for $10,000. The burgeoning theater officially opened as a summer theater in 1973. She stayed by Geer's bedside as he died of a respiratory ailment in 1978. In 2000, Ware published her own memoir Fantastic Journey, My Life with Will Geer.
Ware died in 2005, due to complications of Parkinson's disease, aged 88, in Topanga, California. Her ashes and those of her husband, Will Geer, were scattered at their outdoor theatre.
|The Black Marble||1980||Grand Duchess||
|Dr. Heckyl and Mr. Hype||Old Lady on Bus||
|Slam Dance||1987||Mrs. Raines||
|Promised Land||Mrs. Higgins||
|Dirty Laundry||Grandmother Verna||
|Critters 2: The Main Course||1988||Nana||
|Cocoon: The Return||Rose Lefkowitz||
|Top Dog||1995||Jake's Mother||
|St. Patrick's Day||1997||Aunt Delia||
|Practical Magic||1998||Old Lady Wilkes||
|The Politics of Desire||The Radio Listener||
|Cruel Intentions||1999||Mrs. Sugarman||
|Desperate But Not Serious||Grammy||
|Knots Landing||1983||Ethel Marcus||Season 5, episode 14 "Secrets Cry Aloud"|
|Highway to Heaven||1984||Grandma||Season 1, episode 13 "Another Song for Christmas"|
|Wildside||1985||Mrs. Brinkenhoff||Season 1, episode 1 "Well-Known Secret" (pilot)|
|Scarecrow and Mrs. King||Season 3, episode 3 "Over the Limit"|
|Crossings||1986||Mrs. Emma Zimmerman||Television mini-series; episode 1|
|Amazing Stories||Grandma Helen||Season 1, episode 24 "Grandpa's Ghost" (season finale)|
|Sidekicks||Mamie||Season 1, episode 12 "Grey Belts"|
|Crime Story||1987||Old Lady||Season 1, episode 19 "The Pinnacle"|
|Beauty and the Beast||Sylvia||Season 1, episode 3 "Siege"|
|Star Trek: The Next Generation||Yvette Picard||Season 1, episode 6 "Where No One Has Gone Before"|
|Cagney & Lacey||1988||Wilma Milton||Season 7, episode 10 "Old Flames"|
|The Golden Girls||Ida||Season 4, episode 8 "Brother, Can You Spare That Jacket?"|
|Just the Ten of Us||1989||Sister Cyril||Season 2, episode 10 "Song of Constance"|
|The Munsters Today||1990||The Widow Johansen||Season 2, episode 24 "That's Gratitude" (season finale)|
|The New Adam-12||1991||Claire||Season 1, episode 20 "221 Pizza"|
|Eerie, Indiana||Mary B. Carter||Season 1, episode 8 "The Dead Letter"|
|Civil Wars||1992||Season 2, episode 3 "Oboe Phobia"|
|ER||1994||Mrs. Franks||Season 1, episode 2 "Day One"|
|Misery Loves Company||1995||Old Hildy||Season 1, episode 5 "The Witches of East 6th" (unaired episode)|
|Tracy takes on...||1996||Ida Letivz||Season 1, episode 6 "Law"|
|Beyond Belief: Fact or Fiction||1998–2000||Old Woman||Season 2, episode 9 (story 3 - "The Getaway")
Season 3, episode 3 ("The Find", "The Golden Cue", "The FBI Story", "The Gravedigger's Nemesis" & "Last Rites" - all 5 stories from #3.3)
|A Question of Guilt||1978||Miriam's Mother|
|Child's Cry||1986||Mrs. Hartounian|
|Miracle Landing||1990||Dorothy Hendricks|
|Crazy in Love||1992||Pem||CableAce Award for Supporting Actress in a Movie or Miniseries|
|Alien Nation: Millennium||1996||Alana|
|Co-ed Call Girl||Customer|
- Medieval Theater: The Play of Abraham and Isaac ... Mary Pink, Mother (short documentary) (1974)
- Woody Guthrie: Hard Travelin' (documentary) (1984)
- When Jesus Was a Kid (video short) (1993)
- "Descendants of Henry Lewis Stephens and Charlotte Ann Wevill". Wargs.com. Retrieved 2016-10-15.
- "Theatricum Opens a Controversy — and a New Space — With Rachel Corrie ‹ @ This Stage". Lastagetimes.com. 2011-08-29. Retrieved 2016-10-15.