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Jens in 1962
May 8, 1935 |
Milwaukee, Wisconsin, U.S.
Life and career
Jens was born in Milwaukee, Wisconsin, the daughter of Salomea (née Szujewska) and Arnold John Jens, a farmer and builder. Jens graduated Bay View High School with a 96 average and was crowned Miss Bay View at the long-running South Shore Water Frolics. In an article from July 1969, she remarked that "the only time I can imagine contemplating suicide would be if I was told that I had to go back and live in Milwaukee forever."
Her performances in the theatre have been rare but well regarded. She nabbed the lion's share of attention in the small role of "The Thief" in the New York premiere production of Jean Genet's The Balcony. She won excellent notices playing Josie in A Moon for the Misbegotten at the downtown Circle in the Square Theatre in the late 1960s in New York, and she did a Cleopatra at Stratford.
Jens' film debut was in the title role of Terror from the Year 5000 (1958), which was later featured in the eighth Season of Mystery Science Theater 3000. She subsequently had roles in films such as Angel Baby (1961), The Fool Killer (1965), Seconds (1966), Me, Natalie (1969), Savages (1972), The Boy Who Talked to Badgers (1975), Diary of the Dead (1976), Cloud Dancer (1980), Harry's War (1981) and Just Between Friends (1986).
In 1963 Jens appeared in an episode of The Untouchables, "The Man in the Cooler". She appeared in a 1963 episode of The Outer Limits, "Corpus Earthling", and the I Spy episode "A Room with a Rack" in 1967, as a globe-trotting pilot friend of Kelly Robinson and Alexander Scott. She was cast as a prisoner in "The Wagon," a 1970 episode of Bonanza. The following year, Jens portrayed a widow with two children in the Gunsmoke episode, "Captain Sligo," with Richard Basehart in the title role as an Irish cattle buyer who courts her. In 1974 she guest-starred in an episode of McMillan and Wife, "Reunion In Terror", and on The New Land. She appeared on Gibbsville in 1976. In 1976–77 Jens played the role of Mae Olinski on the soap spoof Mary Hartman, Mary Hartman. She appeared on the scripted talk show Meeting of Minds, hosted by Steve Allen (S03E05 and S03E06, 1979) as the Empress Theodora. In 1986 she appeared in The Colbys, Cagney & Lacey, and MacGyver. She appeared in several episodes of Falcon Crest (1987) and The Hogan Family (1989), and in a 1990 episode of The Wonder Years. Jens played Clark Kent's mother Martha Kent in several episodes of the TV series Superboy (1988–92). In 1992–93 she had a three-episode guest spot in season 7 of L.A. Law. She appeared as Joan Campbell in several episodes of Melrose Place in season 1 (1992–93) and then again in a season 6 episode (1997). Jens appeared in a 1993 episode of Star Trek: The Next Generation as an "Ancient humanoid", a member of the race responsible for populating the galaxy with humanoid lifeforms, and had a recurring role spanning 5 seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space 9 as the authoritarian Female Changeling (1994–1999).
With her distinctive and sultry voice, Jens has narrated a number of documentaries including The Great War and the Shaping of the 20th Century and the 1986 film The Clan of the Cave Bear. She also voiced the female Guardian in the Green Lantern movie (2011).
- Back Stage West Garland Awards, 2007 award for her role in the play Leipzig
Star Trek appearances
The Next Generation
Deep Space Nine
- "The Search", Part I and Part II
- "Heart of Stone"
- "Broken Link"
- "Behind the Lines"
- "Favor the Bold"
- "Sacrifice of Angels"
- "Treachery, Faith, and the Great River"
- "'Til Death Do Us Part"
- "Strange Bedfellows"
- "The Changing Face of Evil"
- "Tacking Into the Wind"
- "The Dogs of War"
- "What You Leave Behind"
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