Judith Lowry

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Judith Lowry
Judith Lowry Mother Dexter Wedding Phyllis 1976.JPG
Lowry in Phyllis, 1976
Judith Carter Ives

(1890-07-27)July 27, 1890
DiedNovember 29, 1976(1976-11-29) (aged 86)
Greenwich Village, New York, U.S.[1]
Resting placeLong Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York, U.S.
Years active1913–1921, 1952–1976[1]
Home townNew York City
Spouse(s)Rudd Lowry (1920–1965; his death)

Judith Carter Lowry (née Ives; July 27, 1890 – November 29, 1976) was an American actress. She had nearly 30 film and television roles and appeared on stage, most notably in the Off-Broadway production of The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds[2] and on Broadway in Archibald MacLeish's J.B.[3]

Early life[edit]

Judith Carter Ives was born at Fort Sill, Oklahoma, where her father was temporarily stationed. She was the daughter of Mildred Elizabeth Megeath (July 17, 1864 – 1923) and Francis Joseph Ives (July 19, 1857 – November 27, 1908). Her father was a career surgeon in the U.S. Army, attaining the rank of Major.[4]

Her father saw action in the Spanish–American War, serving initially in Cuba and later in the Philippines,[4] before retiring to Washington, D.C. in 1908, where he died. Through her father, Lowry was a descendant of American Revolutionary War soldier Asahel Ives.[5]


Lowry made her stage debut in 1913 in a stock company in Washington, D.C. In 1921, she gave birth to her first child and retired from acting to raise her family.[1] She resumed her acting career in 1952 after the youngest of nine children turned 18, appearing on stage and taking occasional bit parts in film and television. It was not until her eighties that she began to receive more substantial roles. Lowry played an uncredited part in Valley of the Dolls (1967) as Aunt Amy, followed by roles in such films as The Anderson Tapes and Cold Turkey.[6]

Her best-remembered role is that of acid-tongued, no-nonsense Mother Dexter on the 1970s sitcom Phyllis, starring Cloris Leachman. This was Lowry's last major acting role. She died of a heart attack during the series' final season. One of the last episodes she filmed before her death, "Mother Dexter's Wedding", marked the final appearance of veteran actor Burt Mustin, who played her bridegroom, Arthur Lanson. By the time the episode aired in December 1976, Lowry had died at age 86, and the 92-year-old Mustin, who died in January 1977, was too ill to see it. After the airing of "Mother Dexter's Wedding", five more episodes of Phyllis followed in which Lowry appeared.[1][6]


Judith met her husband, actor Rudd Lowry, while performing on stage. Rudd had recently returned from serving in the U.S. Army during World War I as a Staff sergeant in an army hospital. The couple had six sons and three daughters. All their sons served with the United States Armed Forces.[citation needed]


Selected films[edit]

Title Year Role Notes
13 Rue Madeleine 1942 Peasant Woman Uncredited
The Miracle Worker 1962 1st Crone Uncredited
Ladybug Ladybug 1963 Grandmother
Andy 1965
The Trouble with Angels 1966 Sister Prudence
The Tiger Makes Out 1967 Elderly Tenant Uncredited
Valley of the Dolls 1967 Aunt Amy Uncredited
The Night They Raided Minsky's 1968 Mother Annie
Sweet Charity 1969 Old Lady on Park Bench Uncredited
Popi 1969 Elderly Hospital Patient Uncredited
On a Clear Day You Can See Forever 1970 Uncredited
Husbands 1970 Stuart's Grandmother
Cold Turkey 1971 Odie Turman
The Anderson Tapes 1971 Mrs. Hathaway
The Effect of Gamma Rays on Man-in-the-Moon Marigolds 1972 Nanny
Superdad 1973 Mother Barlow


Show Year Role Notes
Studio One 1954 1 Episode
The Phil Silvers Show 1956 Josie 1 Episode
Naked City 1961 Old Woman 1 Episode
Car 54, Where Are You? 1961-1963 Trixie 3 Episode
The Patty Duke Show 1964-1965 Miss Tansy 2 Episode
The Jackie Gleason Show 1966-1967 Old Lady 3 Episode
Dark Shadows 1968 Hands of Cassandra 1 Episode
Night Gallery 1970 Miss Wattle 1 Episode
Maude 1974–1975 Aunt Polly 2 Episodes
Kojak 1975 Lily Weed 1 Episode
Phyllis 1975–1977 Sally "Mother" Dexter 23 Episodes, (final appearance)


Lowry collapsed and died from a heart attack while walking down a Greenwich Village street with her son Rayphield Semmes Lowry, on November 29, 1976; she was 86 years old.[1] She was buried next to her husband, Rudd Lowry, in Long Island National Cemetery, Farmingdale, New York.[1]


  1. ^ a b c d e f g "Judith Lowry 'Phyllis' star, dies at 86". The Day. New London, Connecticut. Associated Press. November 30, 1976. p. 23.
  2. ^ Judith Lowry at the Internet Off-Broadway Database
  3. ^ Judith Lowry at the Internet Broadway Database
  4. ^ a b United States Army (July 4, 1902). Spanish–American War Military and Naval Service Records (Report). US government. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  5. ^ U.S., Sons of the American Revolution Membership Application (Report). The National Society of Sons of the American Revolution. May 31, 1894. |access-date= requires |url= (help)
  6. ^ a b Judith Lowry on IMDb

External links[edit]