With deep sadness it has been announced that stage and screen actress Phyllis Thaxter died Tuesday at her home in Florida after a 9 year fight with Alzheimer ’s disease according to her daughter, actress Skye Aubrey. She was 90 years old.
Thaxter was an actress on Broadway before heading to Hollywood to appear in movies. She had a career that spanned over 60 years and starred alongside Hollywood legends as Greta Garbo, Kathrine Hepburn, Spencer Tracy, Gary Cooper and former President Ronald Regan. Her film debut was in the movie ‘Thirty Seconds over Tokyo’ in 1944. A year later, she starred in the movie ‘Bewitched’ about a young woman with two personalities one of whom was evil.
Besides her career in films, she had numerous television roles including a run on ‘Alfred Hitchcock Presents’ form 1956 to 1960 and a stint on the ‘Alfred Hitchcock Hour,’ ‘The Twilight Zone,’ and ‘The Invaders.’
One of her last movie appearances became one of her most iconic as she played the role of Ma Kent in the Richard Donner 1978 film ‘Superman’ starring Christopher Reeve. “I worked harder on that film than anything I’d done — I couldn’t be bad,” Thaxter had once said about that role.
Thaxter’s work in the industry earned her a star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame. “She was one of the most beautiful and patrician icons of the golden age of movies, TV and theater,” said movie critic Rex Reed to the Hollywood Reporter.
Thaxter played an important role in one of our genre’s most iconic movies and was part of the cast that began the rise of superhero films that we see today. Our thoughts go out to Thaxter’s family in this time of sorrow.
Funeral services for Thaxter will be private.