Thaxter in Bewitched (1945)
|Born||Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter
November 20, 1919
Portland, Maine, U.S.
|Died||August 14, 2012
Longwood, Florida, U.S.
|Cause of death||Alzheimer's disease|
|Known for||Ma Kent in Superman,
Ellen Lawson in Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo
|Children||Skye Aubrey, James Aubrey|
Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter (November 20, 1919 – August 14, 2012) was an American actress.
Phyllis St. Felix Thaxter was born in Portland, Maine to Sidney St. Felix Thaxter, who would later become a Justice of the Maine Supreme Court, and his wife, Phyllis (Schuyler), a former actress and member of the Dutch American Schuyler family.
Prior to appearing in movies, Thaxter was on the stage. When Dorothy McGuire went to Hollywood, Thaxter replaced her in the Broadway play Claudia. In 1944, she signed a contract with Metro-Goldwyn-Mayer. Her movie debut was opposite Van Johnson in the 1944 wartime film Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo. In the 1945 film-noir Bewitched, Thaxter played Joan Alris Ellis, a woman suffering from split personality. 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 stalled after an attack of polio in 1952. She made a comeback in such television series as Rawhide, portraying Pauline Cushman in the episode "The Blue Spy" (1961), Wagon Train ("The Christine Elliott Story"), and "The Vivian Carter Story ", The Twilight Zone ("Young Man's Fancy"), and Alfred Hitchcock Presents. She also returned to Broadway, appearing in Take Her, She's Mine at the Biltmore in 1961. In 1978, Thaxter was cast along with Glenn Ford, as Jonathan and Martha Kent in the blockbuster film Superman.
Patricia Bosworth, in her biography of Montgomery Clift, tells of Thaxter's close relationship with Clift in the early 1940s, writing that they "seemed so close that a great many people assumed they would eventually marry". While at MGM, Thaxter married James T. Aubrey, Jr., who later became president of CBS-TV and MGM. They divorced in 1962. They had two children: Skye Aubrey, an actress; and James Aubrey.
Thaxter died on August 14, 2012, in Longwood, Florida, after an eight- or nine-year battle with Alzheimer's disease. She was 92 years old. In keeping with her wishes, some of her ashes were scattered at sea, the rest was interred at Saint Mary the Virgin Cemetery, in Falmouth, Maine.
- Thirty Seconds Over Tokyo (1944) as Ellen Lawson
- Bewitched (1945) as Joan Alris Ellis
- Week-End at the Waldorf (1945) as Cynthia Drew
- The Sea of Grass (1947) as Sara Beth Brewton
- Living in a Big Way (1947) as Peggy Randall
- Tenth Avenue Angel (1948) as Helen Mills
- The Sign of the Ram (1948) as Sherida Binyon
- Blood on the Moon (1948) as Carol Lufton
- Act of Violence (1948) as Ann
- No Man of Her Own (1950) as Patrice Harkness
- The Breaking Point (1950) as Lucy Morgan
- Fort Worth (1951) as Flora Talbot
- Jim Thorpe – All-American (1951) as Margaret Miller
- Come Fill the Cup (1951) as Paula Copeland
- She's Working Her Way Through College (1952) as Helen Palmer
- Springfield Rifle (1952) as Erin Kearney
- Operation Secret (1952) as Maria Corbet
- Women's Prison (1955) as Helene Jensen
- Man Afraid (1957) as Lisa Collins
- The World of Henry Orient (1964) as Mrs. Avis Gilbert
- Superman (1978) as Ma Kent
Selected television appearances
- Alfred Hitchcock Presents (guest roles) (1956–1960) as Various characters
- Wagon Train (1959-1960) as Christine Elliot / Vivian Carter
- Rawhide (TV series) (Episode: "The Blue Spy") (1961) as Pauline Cushman
- The Twilight Zone (Episode "Young Man's Fancy") (1962) as Virginia Lane
- The Invaders (TV series) (Episode: "The Peacemaker") (1968) as Sarah Concannon
- Once an Eagle (TV miniseries) (1976) as Alma Caldwell
|1952||Stars in the Air||Christmas in Connecticut|
|1953||Lux Radio Theatre||Close to My Heart|
|1953||Lux Radio Theatre||The Bishop's Wife|
|1955||Lux Radio Theatre||The Bishop's Wife|
- 1920 U.S. Census
- Denise Grady (August 18, 2012). "Phyllis Thaxter, Actress Who Played Superman's Mother, Dies at 92". New York Times. Retrieved 2012-08-22.
- Patricia Bosworth (2004). Montgomery Clift: A Biography. Limelight Editions. p. 80. ISBN 978-0879101350.
- Ken Bloom (2004). Broadway: Its History, People, and Places: an Encyclopedia. Taylor & Francis. p. 71. ISBN 978-0-415-93704-7.
- "Obituary: Gilbert Lea". Town Topics. May 21, 2008. Retrieved 2015-10-16.
- Mike Barnes (August 15, 2012). "Actress Phyllis Thaxter, Superman's Mom, Dies at 92". The Hollywood Reporter. Retrieved 2015-10-15.
- Walter Kirby (March 16, 1952). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 44. Retrieved 2015-05-23 – via Newspapers.com.
- Walter Kirby (March 1, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 46. Retrieved 2015-06-23 – via Newspapers.com.
- Walter Kirby (May 10, 1953). "Better Radio Programs for the Week". The Decatur Daily Review. p. 50. Retrieved 2015-06-27 – via Newspapers.com.
- "Those Were the Days". Nostalgia Digest. 42 (3): 32. Summer 2016.
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